In our last article, we shared how you can prepare a banana cereal smoothie for your baby in 3 mins. It is a cost effective way of introducing solid food to your baby’s diet at the 5 – 6th month. However, it is quite likely that your baby will grow out of it after eating the same thing for weeks. A balanced diet is the key to good nutrition and health and is achieved by introducing them to different varieties of food intake.
To prepare different types of food requires time and energy, both of which are precious commodities to any working parents or even full time stay at home moms and dads. Don’t you always wish you have more time or an extra pair of hands? We did!
Today, we look at another product which may help to alleviate part of your burden, making it easier to prepare delicious and healthy meals for your baby. I am introducing the Steamer Blender from Philips.
Steaming your food keeps the vitamins intact
The steamer blender is a combination of two key functions that go into preparing healthy meals for your baby. Let’s go deeper into the basics of steaming food. Steamed food has the advantage of preserving the vitamins and nutritional value of the cooked food. When we processed food or let it come into contact with a stove or smoke of charcoal, the properties of the food is altered and not at their original nutrition. That’s why it is often advised (even to adults) to avoid processed food or at least reduce the consumption of it. We are what we eat and the same goes for your little ones.
With steaming, the principle is to distribute the steam across the food so that it is cooked evenly. This is a gentle cooking method and the food is not heated up rapidly which causes loss of vitamins and nutrients. In essence, a steamer uses the evaporation of water to steam your food. While this type of cooking method may have its oriental roots with Asians cooking this way more often, the movement has become global due to a rise in worldwide recognition of healthy living with the right diet.
Now that you understand why a steamer is beneficial for preparing your baby’s food, we look at the other function – the blender.
Blending for the right bite size…for different ages
The steamer is part one of the whole equation of preparing healthy cooked food for your baby. Solid food is usually introduced from the 5th to 6th month onwards and your baby will take some time to acustom to the feel of textured food. After all, they have been on the milk diet from birth till then and this is a new adventure for them.
You probably need to start with the finest solid food and work your way up from there. At 6th month or earlier depending on your child’s development, brown rice cereals mixed with milk is a good start as the texture is fine and easy for consumption. As your baby weans, you can increase the concentration of brown rice cereals to give it a more ‘solid’ texture. Well, this is for brown rice cereals and it is easy. You don’t need a blender for this. All you need to decide when using cereals is the ratio of milk to cereals, for this controls the texture of the mix.
A blender comes in useful when you start including cut fruits, vegetables and meat. Those are foods that are generally too big in size for your baby to consume directly. Hence, using a blender makes quick work of them turning them into baby bite sizes. Again, depending on how fine you want it to be, you can control by varying the blending speed and duration.
Usually it doesn’t take more than a minute to blend everything up before it’s ready for serving.
What kind of ingredients are suitable for your baby?
You probaby may wonder what kind of foods are suitable to prepare for your baby. If you need ideas, you can just visit your nearest super mart and head for the baby food section. There you will see all kinds of organic baby food, ready to eat puree.
For a quick reference, these are some ingredients that are baby friendly.
- Fruit Mix
You can add to this list your baby’s favourite ingredients. Our baby is fond of banana and anything with banana mixed in it goes very well with her. Banana is also great for preventing constipation along with others like prunes, raisins. Thus, our baby moves her bowels well on a daily basis and we avoid explosive poops…thankfully. When it comes to preparing solid foods for your baby, we think the best way is to experiment with varieties. Babies are all different even if they are of the same age. Mine loves banana but your baby may prefer another fruit or vegetable. In addition, even if your baby develops a liking for certain ingredient, make sure to try out different ingredients so that they can get a balanced diet and not be lopsided in one area of nutrition.
Putting them together…Philips AVENT 4-in-1 Steamer Blender
To prepare your baby food, you need about 20-30 mins. 15-20 mins is for the steaming and with the Philips steamer blender, once the water in the tank fully evaporates, it will shut off instead of running continuously. This is a nice safety feature which is probably installed for all the AVENT products. We also used their 3-in-1 Bottle Steriliser and it works on the same principle.
Once steaming is done, you can turn the jar over and start the blending process.
With the Philips AVENT Steamer Blender, the same jar is used for steaming and blending and how you switch between the two is to turn the jar over and insert it back onto the motor unit. Here’s a picture courtesy from Philips website.
I really like this feature because it means there is no need to transfer steamed food from one container to another, leaving me with less things to wash. If you are using a dishwasher at home, you will be happy to know that the Philips AVENT steamer blender (except for the motor base) is dishwasher friendly. For us, we don’t have a dishwasher installed but cleaning up the steamer blender takes less than 5 mins.
The Philips AVENT steamer blender has a 4-in-1 package. The other two features are defrost and reheat which are useful because the jar has a sizeable capacity of 1000 ml. What we do is to prepare the food for the whole day and have it split into 4 or 5 portions. The unused portions are kept in the refrigerator for later use.
Preparing solid foods for your baby/child can be a time consuming activity. We used to spend more time because we have a separate steamer from Tefal and also a Kenwood mini blender. Both work well but the Tefal 3 layer steamer is a bit of an overkill while the Kenwood mini blender is a bit too mini. Using both of them consume more time and electricity. That’s the reason why we invested in a steamer blender from Philips because it is really a great time-and-space saver.
If you are hard pressed for time and want to prepare your baby’s food all at one go, with fewer items to wash and store, we recommend you to check out the Philips AVENT 4-in-1 Steamer Blender from Amazon which may sometimes offer it at a discounted price.