40 Genius Baby Food Hacks Every Lazy Mom Needs to Know

Megan Zander | Mar 14, 2018 Baby

baby eating broccoli
mcImage/Shutterstock

Feeding a baby can feel like a full-time job, especially now that everything a mom does is supposed to be organic, DIY, and Instagram-worthy. But moms can still guarantee their little one is well-fed, without spending all of the time that they're not changing diapers and rocking babies in the kitchen juggling fruits and veggies. Even moms who have zero interest in devoting all the hours of the day to making meals that are #babyfoodgoals can get in on the action. If filling the cabinets with custom baby food steamers and spending hours each day pureeing helps a new mom feel confident in her role as her baby's head chef, then by all means, go for it. But that's not how it goes for all of us. Luckily, there are lots of super simple tricks and shortcuts out there to help moms save time while also making sure baby gets all the awesome nutrients she needs to grow up and rule the world one day. 

When it comes to getting babies to appreciate healthy foods, getting an early start is key. We all know Oreos are delicious. Peas, on the other hand, are an acquired taste, which is why offering them to babies with other healthy fruits and veggies is so important -- the more familiar nutritious foods are to babies, the more likely it is that they'll actually want to eat them (instead of just tossing them on the floor!).

Whether the high chair is throne to a picky eater or a fearless foodie, we've rounded up 40 brilliant baby food hacks that are sure to make life a little bit easier for every mom and her brood (even if the family's usual idea of "cooking" is reaching for take-out menus).

Baby Food Hack
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  • Try the 'Splat' Method

    1

    Ice cubes trays sound like too much work? Try the "splat" method of baby food storage, which involves dropping spoonfuls of food onto a parchment-lined cooking sheet, putting it in the freezer for one hour, and transferring the "splats" to freezer bags. 

  • Stock Up on Pouches

    2

    Sure, store-bought baby food pouches are every lazy mom's best friend, but they add up quickly.  Refillable pouches plus homemade purees combine convenience with budget-friendly tools. (Target, $8 for 20) 

  • Warm Up to Frozen Veggies

    3

    Lots of us have it in our heads that fresh veggies are more nutritious than frozen, but that's not necessarily the case: Frozen vegetables are picked at their peak and frozen immediately, so they actually retain their nutrients longer than fresh produce (which loses nutrients over time). Plus, cooking with frozen veggies can be a huge time-saver -- no washing, peeling, or chopping!

  • Make It Grate

    4

    A super easy (and healthy) first choice for babies who are ready to make the transition to finger foods: grated apples (or pears, or any other fruit/veggie with a similar texture). Use the small slots!

  • Make All-Ages Meals

    5

    Sooner or later, making separate meals for the little ones and the grown-ups gets pretty old (and exhausting). Make a multitask menu with dishes like roasted veggies which can be eaten as is by the adults and quickly pureed or mashed for anyone in a high chair!

  • Fill the Freezer

    6

    One day of work in the kitchen can mean a week's worth of lazy baby meals by freezing a few batches of purees in ice cube trays to thaw and serve over the next several days! Use frozen cubes within three months.

  • Keep It Simple

    7

    No need to go wild trying to follow complicated baby food recipes when most simple combos work just fine. Try this Mango Kale Puree and see what we mean!

  • Use What's On Hand

    8

    An easy way to thin a too-lumpy cereal or puree? Add a few squirts of breast milk (if it's around). Hey, it's right there -- what could be more convenient?

  • Shrink the Blender

    9

    Fancy appliances aren't required to make baby food -- just a steamer and a blender will do -- but an immersion blender is a relatively inexpensive investment that can really pay off for those who loathe washing out a bulky traditional blenders. (Amazon.com, $27) 

  • Start Small

    10

    Before going crazy freezing up multiple batches of any given item, make sure baby actually likes it -- otherwise it's a waste of lots of time and freezer space on unwanted sweet potato (or whatever) cubes!  But don't get discouraged; experts say that it can take up to 15 times of trying a new food before a kid decides he or she actually likes it!

  • Pick 'Ready to Go' Produce in a Pinch

    11

    While plenty of produce requires steaming, boiling, roasting, or some other form of cooking before it's ready to be pureed, other super convenient options only need a quick peel before mashing -- like ripe avocados, bananas, and papaya. 

  • Encourage Self-Feeding

    12

    Wee ones can't use a spoon or fork yet, but mesh feeders like these let moms serve a snack without having to sit down and pick up a spoon -- plus, babies tend to find them endlessly entertaining! ($7, Amazon.com)

  • Build on a Yogurt Base

    13

    High in protein and calcium, whole milk yogurt is a meal in itself -- but it's also a great way to deliver other super-healthy stuff like flaxseed meal, fruit purees, cereals, nut/seed butters ... the list goes on. Plus, mixing stuff into yogurt is about as painless as meal prep gets! 

  • Skip Cereal From Scratch

    14

    Making homemade baby food was #goals ... until Google explained how hard it is to make baby cereal from scratch. Let go of Mom Guilt and grab a healthy packaged option, like the varieties with iron, probiotics, and choline stuffed Happy Baby Organic Probiotic Baby Cereal. (Amazon.com, $16)

  • DIY Baby Food Drops

    15

    Always on the run? Use a baby syringe to place individual drops of baby food on wax paper, then freeze. Now the little one can munch while that errands list gets crossed off.

  • Leave the Diaper Bag at Home

    16

    For moms who are sick of making room in the diaper bag for jars or tupperware containers that always seem to come open, the Boon SQUIRT Spoon might just be a lifesaver (and a space-saver, too): The spoon itself holds 3 oz of baby food, making a one-hand lunch on the go super easy. (bedbathandbeyond, $8) 

  • Unbreakable Snack Plate

    17

    For babies who love to toss their bowls on the floor, a coffee liner makes a quiet and unbreakable snack container option. Plus, no dishes to wash!

  • Put Down the Knife

    18

    Make that PB&J even more appealing and get lunch to a hangry tot faster with a food cutter that slices the entire sandwich at once. (Amazon, $25 for pack of three)

  • Divide to Conquer

    19

    A plate with separate compartments can help picky babes who hate it when their food touches. (Amazon, $17)

  • A Healthy Way to Cool Oatmeal

    20

    Keep frozen berries and diced banana on hand to help to cool piping hot oatmeal down quickly while also giving baby an extra serving of fruit.

  • Try Chopsticks

    21

    Tot-friendly chopsticks help mealtime and double as motor skill practice, giving mom and dad more time to enjoy their own dinner before it gets cold. (Amazon, $30 for pack of three)

  • Drip-Free Ice Pops

    22

    Ice pops are great for soothing sore gums from teething, but they can be a drippy mess. Add a cupcake liner to the stick to help keep hands clean. Well, cleaner.

  • Upcycled Snack Pack

    23

    Drive-thru is delicious, but not an option for those without teeth for French fries. Use an empty wipe container to keep baby-friendly snacks like puffs, teething biscuits, and pouches on hand for car rides.

  • Call for (Stuffed) Back-Up

    24

    A favorite stuffed friend can encourage tots to try new veggies, as well as keep them interested in mealtime. It might seem odd to make a separate plate for a toy, but hey, whatever works!

  • Straws for the Win

    25

    For babies who love pouches (and moms who hate mess), try popping a straw into a jar of baby food. Instant pouch!

  • Everything's Better in a Cone

    26

    Tempt picky eaters with new food by serving them in an ice cream cone. Oatmeal, yogurt, or fruit might be a new favor food when nibbled with a waffle cone.

  • Enlist the Help of an Instant Pot

    27

    An Instant Pot's good for more than making amazing roasts. Toss in some fresh ingredients, like the ones for this apple berry puree, for a fresh batch of baby food in mere minutes. 

  • Use Familiar Flavors for New Food Success

    28

    Sure, we love pancakes, but that's because we've had them a million times. New flavors and new textures can be too much for a baby all at once. But pancakes made from the rice cereal they already love, like this recipe from Cooking With Serena, means eating a new food isn't quite as daunting.

  • Super Simple Baby Food Storage

    29

    Scoring a stash of jarred sweet potatoes is awesome, but not having room for them in the pantry? Not so much. A clear over the door shoe organizer is a simple way to store all those tiny baby food containers, so not a single "good by" date slips by. 

  • Single Serve Formula Solution

    30

    As babies start to eat more solids, their formula intake may go down. Rather than haul around the entire can of powder (and risk a massive spill!), use plastic condiment containers to take just a serving or two along. 

  • Try Breast Milk Pops to Soothe Teething Pain

    31

    Along with starting solids comes more teeth -- and painful gum cutting. Pacifiers frozen in a splash of breast milk in ice cube trays is a super simple way to create soothing teething rings any baby will love.

  • DIY Yogurt Drops

    32

    Babies and toddlers can eat up yogurt drops faster than stores can keep them in stock. Luckily making them at home is super simple. Just drop yogurt onto parchment paper and freeze. Master mom chef in action!

  • Forgot the Baby Spoon? Don't Panic

    33

    Left the baby spoon at home? Don't get back in the car, just get a fork and use the handle instead. Parenting crisis averted!

  • Try the Same Food in Different Forms

    34

    Just because the baby turned his nose up at pureed carrots doesn't mean they're on the "no way" list. If baby led weaning is part of the plan, try introducing veggies and fruits in both pureed and boiled, easy to pick and and swallow bites. It might be the texture that's holding baby back from falling in love.

  • DIY Puffs

    35

    Babies go nuts for puffs, but it's hard to keep them in supply (the ones under the couch don't count, right?). This tutorial from mommy-opinion shares the secret of making them at home. 

  • Make a Pouch Into a Meal

    36

    Pouches are fabulous for moms on the go, but it's important for babies to learn how to eat from a spoon instead of always slurping down their meals. These click-on spoons turn any pouch into a fine (for baby) dining experience, without making a mess. (Amazon, $11 for two)

  • Freeze Now to Make Later

    37

    Fresh produce waits for no one, but there isn't always time to prep, boil, and mash just because those bananas are about to go bad. Instead of making a sacrifice to the compost gods, cut up fruits and veggies now, then freeze to make later.

  • Try a Travel Food Mill

    38

    Having a food mill in the diaper bag may seem hardcore, but hear us out. Rather than carting baby food to that family gathering or cafe, having a food mill on hand means anything on the menu can easily be transformed into baby food. It's a great way to introduce baby to some new flavors, without having to cook anything.

  • Mix Sweet With Savory

    39

    For babies who love their fruits but aren't wild about those healthy green veggies, try combining the two. This sweet potato, pear, and broccoli puree is so delish they won't even realize it's healthy for them!

  • Variety Is the Spice of Life

    40

    Babies hate boring meals just as much as we do. Try offering finger food alongside purees. This way they get to practice feeding themselves, but that bowl of puree helps make sure they're getting the nutrition they need.

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