I have recently started tracking how much each item costs and dividing that by how many servings I am able to get, in order to figure out how much each serving is costing us. Finding items on sale helps lower the price but I was actually surprised at how cheap Kellan's meals really are when I break it all down. Understandably, some meats (especially lamb and fish) are more expensive and also some of the berries, which I was not surprised by since they are usually more expensive in general. It is also almost impossible to find store bought baby food that includes these ingredients anyway.
Doing this I also learned that we need to be more careful when buying certain foods like avocados. We paid 3 different prices on 3 different shopping trips and the cost per serving varies a lot. Prices also depend heavily on the store. We have shopped at 4 different Whole Foods locations, one Fresh Market, and our own Food Lion. Here are just a few of the cost breakdowns for some of the foods that we buy. If the same food is listed more than once, each listing was purchased on a separate shopping trip. I listed the name of the food, the total cost, how many servings I made from it, and how much each serving cost.
Cod Fillet $5.64 3 servings @ $1.88 each
Cod Fillet $10.33 8 servings @ $1.29 each
Lamb $11.62 10 servings @ $1.16 each
Beef $14.14 19.5 servings @ $0.73 each
Pork Picnic Shoulder $23.48 28 servings@ $0.84 each
Chicken $6.75 12 servings @ $0.56 each
Chicken $10.17 13 servings @ $0.78 each
1/2 Dozen Organic Eggs (he eats yolks only) $2.99 6 servings @ $0.50
Avocado $7.47 6 servings @ $1.25 each
Avocado on sale 2/$4 4 servings @ $1.00 each
Avocados on sale 4/$5 8 servings @ $0.63 each
Organic Blackberries $4.99 4 servings @ $1.25 each
Organic Raspberries $3.49 3 servings @ $1.16 each
Organic Strawberries $3.49 6 servings @ $0.58 each
Organic Strawberries $7.99 16 servings @ $0.50 each
Organic Bananas $0.86 12 servings @ $0.07 each
Organic Bananas $1.59 12 servings @ $0.13 each
Organic Kiwi $0.69 1 serving @ $0.69 each
Organic Pears $3.92 6 servings @ $0.65 each
Organic Mango $5.00 8 servings @ $0.63 each
Organic Zucchini $6.81 19 servings @ $0.36 each
Organic Kale $2.49 6 servings @ $0.42 each
Organic Spinach $3.99 4 servings @ $1.00 each
Organic Sweet Potatoes $5.65 9 servings @ $0.63 each
Organic Butternut Squash $6.23 15 servings @ $0.42 each
Organic Eggplant $2.92 7 servings @ $0.42 each
Stoneyfield YoBaby Simply Plain Yogurt $2.69 4 servings @ $0.67 each
Raw Mild Cheddar Cheese $4.94 12 servings @ $0.41 each
When you compare these prices to the cost of store bought baby food it gets kind of complicated. Most of the baby food jars that I saw in Food Lion had several different foods blended. I also saw several that the first (meaning the largest quantity) ingredient was water. That makes it really difficult to determine exactly how much "food" your baby is actually getting. None of the food that I make for Kellan contains water. All of his fruits are cooked in coconut oil and his vegetables are cooked in beef or chicken broth. That nutritional benefit in itself makes the possibility of the small extra cost of making his food worth it to me.
I want everyone to understand that I am in no way an expert and this post is just MY opinion. I happen to be a little bit crazy when it comes to Kellan's food and for some reason I really enjoy researching and making his food and planning his meals. It has become a sort of hobby for me. If I worked outside the home or had another child I don't know if I could make his food to the extent that I do now. It is VERY time consuming. There are also arguments now that organic vs. conventional foods are equally nutritious (I was never under the impression that conventional foods were less nutritious, I was just trying to avoid any extra chemicals or pesticide residue on produce). I will still try to buy organic when possible. To me, even if there is a fraction less chemicals on the foods that I use to make Kellan's food, the extra cost is worth it. However, Kellan has had a variety of fruits and vegetables, some organic and some conventional.
This Beech Nut jar would not make a good choice in my opinion due to the high number of ingredients that I cannot pronounce and do not know what they are. Any nutritionist will tell you to stay away from chemicals and additives that are not natural. Baby doesn't need to be eating them and really neither do we.
|Gerber also offers organic fruit pouches for slightly less money on sale. They have pretty much the same positives and negatives as the organic pouches previously mentioned.|
|These pouches are a little cheaper and also offer the same positives and negatives.|
All of this being said, I should point out the fact that I also have the time to devote to it. I am a full time stay at home mom and Kellan is my only child. If circumstances were different I might not be able to be as picky as I am about Kellan's food. I firmly believe the phrase "You are what you eat" so I want Kellan's diet to be mostly made up of natural, organic, meats, vegetables, and fruits. I don't think that granola or whole grains or any of these baby foods, harm babies, but I want to fill his belly with foods that I KNOW are the highest in nutritional value for him, not just something to fill him up. Most of the jar baby food contains synthetic vitamins. While I don't think these are particularly harmful, I would rather Kellan get his vitamins from foods where they are found naturally.
As far as the cost of homemade vs. store bought, sometimes its cheaper to make and sometimes its cheaper to buy. To me, the quality of the food is more important so even if it costs a little more, making baby food is worth it in the end.
*I should also include that we are currently on an 11 day trip on the other side of the country and I broke down and bought some store bought baby food to take with us. I have taken some of my homemade food but it was getting to be too much trouble to find a way to transport and keep cold, enough food to last the entire time we will be gone.