Mommy T's adventures; bringing up Baby T

Home cooked meals for baby – Healthy Parenting

One of the biggest side effects of parenthood for our family, if there can be such a thing, has been healthy eating. And at that, eating home cooked food. We didn’t resolve the moment we had a baby to do this but it has happened by way of us following many principles of new age parenting.

It all started when I was pregnant. The moment I broke the happy news to my mother she shipped me off to her house and home cooked 4 meals daily for me. All wholesome, with freshly bought vegetables & meats and hot off the gas to my plate. My father played his role by going to the market twice a day to buy the day’s special. My mother ensured that the crucial first trimester of my pregnancy was spent under her directive i.e. to eat right and healthy.

Then along came baby. Breastfeeding exclusively meant that I was eating foods known to enhance the quality (debatable, perhaps) of my milk. I was also off junk food and foods which was known to carry preservatives or other additives. Wholesome, home cooked meals it was. Once babyT began solid foods, it was a given that he ate only home cooked food. This was also the case with many other mom friends I knew, all of whom had babies around the same age as my son.

Want to know more about Baby Led Weaning? Read my post here – Introducing Solids for babies

The big shift – home cooked wins

But here I saw something new and quite surprising. While the older generation kept insisting on how popular, processed baby foods were crucial for a baby, new age mothers were frowning. Why pick something from a shelf when it was perfectly convenient and healthy to feed the baby with fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains? It seemed like the younger and ‘smarter’ generation of mothers was telling their own mothers and grandmothers that it was time to go back to basics. To a time when this very (now older) generation were babies and was fed fresh and home cooked meals.

New age parenting principles like baby led weaning have at their core, fundamentals like the baby eats what the family eats. Standards like these force the whole family to set a good example. Meals are therefore wholesome, balanced and include lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains & superfoods. And most importantly they are home cooked.

Healthy eating diets like cold-pressed juices, switching to nut milk, vegetable juices and going vegan also see the babies joining in with full enthusiasm. International foods like quinoa, chia seeds & blueberries are now commonplace on the baby’s plate. But all of it is homemade – fresh daily.

Also, the fact that cooking is no longer the mainstay of the women of the household has meant that home cooked food is easier to enjoy. Many men enjoy and join in to share the responsibility of putting wholesome goodness on the dinner table night after night. In homes with young babies, this is a plus and helps the whole family gain valuable nutrition.

There is a growing trend of cooking meals at home. The change happens especially after a baby arrives in your life. The Godrej Food Trends report highlights home cooking as a key element for 2018. #homecooked #familymeals #babyledweaning #healthyeating #introducingsolidsforbabies #homemade

Is this a global trend?

I see this trend not just in the homes of people around me, but also on Instagram in the feeds of other mom bloggers, in Facebook Mom support groups and on parenting forums. While we’re on the topic of social media, one of my friends recently recommended the Gundry MD Instagram page if you’re looking for some tasty and nutritious recipes that incorporate health supplements to encourage longevity. You should check them out if you’re looking for some tasty snacks with an extra health boost! New mothers seek ideas on holding back advice from their family over starting processed baby foods and experienced mothers give recipes to make alternatives for cerelac at home. Saathu Maavu (a mix of grains, millets & nuts) is replacing cerelac, baby led weaning is replacing slimy, sugar-laden porridges as baby’s first food. Nachni or ragi is the hero of all baby food. I remember how it was a daily thing in our hometown to have ragi malt every evening while the elders sipped their filter kaapi. The good news is, Ragi is cool again!

When #Godrej released their Food Trends 2018, I was not very surprised to see elements like Back to Roots & the rise of Regional Flavours or the growing popularity of millets. In the last one year I have seen food bloggers and friends who dabble in food, go down these paths. Go check out what this lovely lass, once known for her Bacon Jam, but now a pure vegetarian and adopter of Ayurvedic cooking is dishing out – Amrita of Life.

Or Sandeep, once a techie, jet-setting across the globe, who has now set up his dream project – Curry Tales which dishes up delectable foods reminiscent of his hometown in Kerala.

Our home cooked story

The shift is real and it had me reflecting on how much our own family norms have undergone a change in the recent years. I saw the evidence of the belief in home cooked, even more, when we recently shifted homes within the city. In our earlier place of residence, we had employed the services of a cook. She was a bright lady and among her many talents were delectable recipes from her native in the Konkan. This combined with her desire to learn new methods of cooking and repeat them with precision was her forte. She soon picked up the best of Pasta dishes, North Indian staples, foods from my GSB Konkani cuisine and the husband’s CKP kitchen. Whatever she cooked, she made a non-spicy version of it for our baby.

Revelling in the goodness of foods she prepared, we almost gave up eating out. If there was ever a day when Lalita would be away from work, we would sulk and whine at the thought of ordering take-out and eventually one of us – I or my husband would dust the apron and begin cooking. When we decided to move homes, the first thought that came to my mind was how much I would miss Lalita and her times in my kitchen.

Here in the new home, I don’t even have a gas connection. I rely on a borrowed induction cooker on which I focus my culinary energies twice a day – roti, sabji, dal & rice are cooked almost every day. Sometimes it is basic, sometimes I feel the zest for something exotic. We live in the suburb which is the heart of eating out – from Indian to international, everything is a 5-minute walk from home. But we still savour home cooked meals. I was surprised at my own resilience, but the drive to cook every single day doesn’t run dry.

I love Rajma Chawal, but everyone else in the household won’t eat it even if they are paid to do so. ? . So when I bought a pack of Rajma from @popularessentials for the month’s grocery, I improvised and made a vibrant and uber healthy, and the universally loved – Hummus out of it. Yes, R-A-J-M-A Hummus. And to up its visual appeal & make it more healthy I added a beetroot to it. ?? . Have this as a dip for raw vegetable fingers, on toast, lavache or even bread sticks, roll them in a chapati or even with pita bread. . Rajma or kidney beans are a great source of folate, fibre and minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, vitamin V1, potassium and copper. Beetroot as we all know is so good for kids – it is high in immune-boosting vitamin C and folate making this a power packed meal for pregnant mommies-to-be. . Detailed recipe is up on my blog. Perma link is: . ? Do let me know if you’ve tried this recipe before. If you do make this let me know how you and your’s liked it. ??? . . . . . . . #mommyingbabyT #momsofig #mommade #momentsofmine #momlife #momlifeisthebestlife #mbt_reviews #mbt_food #rajma #rajmachawal #kidneybeans #roasted #roastedbeets #beetroot #hummuslover #hummusaddict #hummuslove #hummus #pinkhummus #beetroothummus #rajmahummus #recipeideas #recipesforkids #makeathome #familytime #livetoeat #homemade #instamom19jan

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Backed by the availability of fresh local, indigenous and international fruits, vegetables and ingredients; mealtimes are varied and fun. Watching episode after episode of MasterChef Australia, Nigella’s Kitchen & Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution inspired us to take risks and try never heard of dishes.

There is a growing trend of cooking meals at home. The change happens especially after a baby arrives in your life. The Godrej Food Trends report highlights home cooking as a key element for 2018. #homecooked #familymeals #babyledweaning #healthyeating #introducingsolidsforbabies #homemade

Proud of my cookbook collection.

Nature’s Basket is our favourite place to pick a range of international ingredients and our kitchen sees the likes of Tagines, Pasta, Roasts, Salads with Quinoa or CousCous, Ramen Bowls, Khao Suey, Bakes, Chips & Dips, Quesadillas. And our toddler son joins in happily to eat all these meals.

When such foods are simple and easy for us to make in the comfort of our homes while we spend quality time with our child, we don’t feel the urge to dine outside. Dressing up, waiting for a table (if anyone has attempted to eat out on a weekend in Mumbai they would know) and then driving back home, all seem like a painful chore now.

More and more families are choosing to cook at home.

In practice, home cooked food has also been beneficial in many other respects.

  1. We eat at a dining table and together. Baby led weaning has meant that my son knows how to eat his food on his own. This means I can eat along with him and don’t need to finish feeding him and then fill my plate. We spend time together talking, sharing a joke or plain simply marvelling about the food on our plates. He loves praising his food already. A food critic in the making?

  2. We have stopped buying a ton of junk food like chips, biscuits, colas and processed foods. Snacking is now healthy and includes nuts, seeds, fruits. Drinks are always water, homemade lemonade, infusions or herbal brews (tulsi-ajwain kadhas)

  3. Reduced levels of salt, sugar and white flours. The practice today is offering baby food with no salt or sugar in the first year. The high incidence of lifestyle diseases like diabetes and blood pressure has urged nutritionists to say that salts and sugars from natural sources and ingredients are sufficient for a baby’s tiny body. This prompted us to also reduce our intake of these ingredients. We also discovered healthier alternatives like rock salt, jaggery powder and date syrup. Multigrain & millet flours are commonplace in my kitchen. I can’t remember when I last bought a pack of maida.

  4. Up the health quotient. A dash of flax seed powder in the roti aata, a splash of cold pressed coconut oil on rice and daal, frying fish dipped in a mix of rice & ragi flour to more serious dishes like dairy free, white sauce pasta made with cauliflower puree. All these tricks are possible when I cook by myself. I am a happy mom knowing that my child is eating healthy food which he doesn’t turn up his nose at.

  5. Managing allergies is easier. My son is dairy allergic and that means he cannot have most Indian and continental foods. Explaining allergies and the extent of foods to avoid is a pain in restaurants. Most of the times despite a million requests and receiving assurances that an item is dairy free, he has still broken out into rashes. We then hear something ridiculous like “Oh, but the chicken crumb contained cheese.” In such cases cooking food at home is a saviour for our son.

  6. Saves a ton of money. And I am only talking about the exorbitant taxes Mumbai has. Taxes on food and alcohol are through the roof.

Do you cook often at home? Do you see the shift in a preference to eat home cooked meals?

This post is a part of the Godrej Food Trends Blogging Contest hosted by FashionableFoodz and Vikhroli Cucina and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. This content is owned wholly by me. #GFTR2018, FashionableFoodz and Vikhroli Cucina are not responsible for any kind of infringement caused.


  1. Vatsala

    A loaded article, very inspiring and motivating to start eating home cooked food. Home cooked food is always nurticious, hygienically prepared with healthy ingredients with a generous topping of love. Reading the article I feel like refurbishing my kitchen shelves with all healthy ingredients. And I am quite serious about implementing it soon.

    We mostly eat home cooked food. The day I eat out the tummy keeps complaining that all is not right. You feel sluggish, inactive. The only thing that feels lighter is the wallet.
    Why then everybody is so addicted to eating out? The restaurant foods are full of unhealthy ingredients like ghee, cheese, flavour enhancers, which make them very tasty to the palate. Working people are hard pressed for time, what with their busy working schedules, travelling to & fro for work. Good , reliable cooks are hard to find. So the easier and tastier alternative is the take away food.
    But it is high time we all gave it a serious thought, for a healthier life, for a healthier next generation. Try ,try and eat healthy as many times as possible in a day till you get used to it and crave for nothing but a healthy home cooked meal.
    Nowadays one can find healthy ,ready to cook options. One can start with that.

    Nayantara your innovative recipe, rajma dip looks so yummy. A must try.
    Keep writing such motivating articles. Best wishes!

  2. Shubhreet Kaur

    Tara, I never thought about home cooked meals this way but you are so right. Even though I am
    not much of a cookc after Karma was born, we definitely order out a lot less than we did before. And you are also right about this change being visible online… we see so many posts on home cooked means for kids and innovative recipes that are healthy and tasty. In fact, you regularly post so many on your stories. I do have one request – please also do a few blog posts on easy yet healthy recipes for kids for moms who are shy of cooking like I am! 😉

  3. Gurjeet chhabra

    Hi, you are right even my take care what should I eat when my baby was in my womb and when I breastfeed. I really agree more than preserve food or baby food better to have fresh fruit and veggies.

  4. Alpana Deo

    I cook everyday. And I totally understand and agree with what you have said about home cooked meals. It not only helps us in taking care of the sugar and ingredients but it is something which is made with love and care. In my case, I want my kids to know and have developed taste buds for Indian cooking as they get to eat other cuisines outside. So living outside India, I cook all the aithentic dishes that are usually made in Maharashtrian families on several occasions. I am not a cooking lover but after living in the USA for quite a long time, I know the importance of Ghar ka Khana..

  5. Shubhada Bhide

    This is such a great post. It motivated us to start eating healthy home cooked foods. and I totally agree with you when it comes to baby foods. It is better to mash fruits or veggies for them.

  6. Ritu Gorai

    Explore NAET allergy treatment to get rid of lactose intolerancy

  7. Neha Tambe

    Yes I agree, cooking at home is simpler and convenient. I also know exactly what goes into the dish, so I am relieved. Also getting ingredients like ragi flour, jowar flour etc is simpler which further eases cooking.

  8. Priya

    I am all for home cooked food. It is healthier, quicker and easy on your pocket.

  9. AuraOfThoughts MeenalSonal

    I am myself hooked to home made food. For a change I try out new dishes by myself, though it doesn’t turn out good the very first day but atleast we know what we are eating :))

    MeenalSonal from AuraOfThoughts

  10. Pooja Kawatra

    Absolutely agree with all the points and that is the reason I cook all the meals at home giving us chance to spend time together and knowing what exactly goes into our food.

  11. Rakhi Parsai

    My love for cooking has helped me in having more home cooked food than eating out. In fact, my husband gets irritated with me serving only home cooked meals and he craves to also eat out. My strong belief in home cooked food and the nutrition it provides has helped me have a child who eats every vegetable without any problem. At the age of 5, I don’t get any sort of tantrums from her on this vegetable I don’t eat and that I don’t eat. This has been the plus for us as she has learned to eat everything just bcos of regular home-cooked meals. I simply loved your take on cooking and how the trends have evolved over the years and people prefer home-based cooking rather than outside food these days.

  12. Suzy

    I beg to differ with your comment that eating healthy home cooked meals for baby is a new age thing. It is not. It’s been there for centuries. As a mother of 2 adult children, I will add that being too obsessesed with home made cooking also has its downsides. Teach children to be flexible so they can eat anywhere. It’s a lesson I have learned the hard way with my children who btw suffer from severe food allergies.

    • mommyingbabyt

      yes you are absolutely on some points there Suzy. However I think you missed the point or maybe i didn’t put it across right that there is a feeling that weaning babies with packaged baby foods is NECESSARY. In my experience and those of many moms I know, somewhere they have been judged for not offering baby cereals out of a packet. That’s what i was putting out.
      And I also beg to differ that eating home cooked food doesn’t make a child inflexible. It in fact teaches them to be more open to different types of cuisines and cultural foods. I’ve mentioned this in the point where I’ve listed the different kinds of recipes we make at home. My blog post is not about eating home cooked food 100% of the time. it is about more eating in than eating out. doesn’t mean eating out is zero. ?

  13. priyadarshani Panda

    Me and my husband were never a foodie trying out the different joints in the town was never something that tempted us. Same continues after N we prefer simple home cooked food over anything. N is not a great eater but eats well and healthy. I was fed farex and cereal and now its my mom who says no cerelac . The shift is real and the generation which actually started the trend of cerelac is going back to basics with grand babies.

  14. Amitoj Kaur

    I absolutely agree that home cooked meals are easier to prepare and once u start eating home cooked meals, you get habitual of it only. I also opted for home cooked meals for my baby and I am glad now at the age of three, he prefers home cooked food over the processed and the junk ones. We usually pack Khichdi or parantha for him whenever we go out to eat..

  15. Charu

    Agree with you on so many points. We always prefer home cooked food over outside one. We initially had a habit of eating outside at least twice a week but post kids even that changed to quite an extent.

  16. Anchal

    There are so many reasons why home cooked meals are so much better. We love getting fresh vegetables and cooking them at home. I am trying to cook delicacies which my family loves to eat out so that we avoid eating out totally

  17. Miss Harshala

    I agree home cooked meals are the best and agree to most of the points mentioned above. As a young mom it was very difficult for me to cook all the 4 meals for a demanding toddler. But now I think that’s the best decision I ever made.

  18. Tina Basu

    home cooked meals are always best – you know what you are putting in. Its great to see many are following this.

  19. Anubhuti Seth

    Whatever we buy, however healthy, with all quality checks, still packed food is a packed food. I completely agree with your take on home cooking and have been practising since Day 1. And must share now it’s a part of my daily routine and never looks like a burden. Apart from mannerisms and character, giving a healthy life to our kids is also our responsibility.

  20. Rajlakshmi

    I prefer home cooked meals too. I was cooking rajma chawal as I read your post. Having a child in the family always changes the dynamics of the way things used to run in the house.

  21. Kavita Singh

    Home cooked meals are best and there is no second thought about it. I enjoy cooking and once kuhu was born I started experimenting with recipes more. Loved the blog.

  22. Sarah

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this insightful post. Glad I stumbled on your wonderful detailed blogpost.
    Keep up the good work.

  23. Aesha Shah

    After Mishti joined competitive sports we became a lot more cautious about giving her home cooked food. Though I have never indulged her in chips & biscuits or any processed food , it now became even more important that she has healthy food with complete nutrients and meals at regular intervals. This has helped me a lot as now whenever I am not around or I have to leave her with my friend if I am out for work I am not at all worried about her food. I know she will eat only home cooked food and anything the host offers. She will herself decline eating junk food if it’s a weekday. For a child of 9 years to resist chocolates and ice creams is difficult but if we imbine the importance of healthy eating and exercise at a young age it becomes a way of life and children understand.
    Your article is extremely detailed but on point as well. You are an awesome mom Tara. And congratulations for writing this award winning article.

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