Method #1: Boiling
Boiling can be a good way to cook a large amount of food, and meat that is boiled often turns out very tender. Requiring just a pot and water, it is also very simple. Sometimes people shy away from this method out of fear that the food will lose some of its nutrients.
Heather Schoenrock, president of Jack's Harvest, a frozen organic baby food company, says you can use the cooking water, which contains some of the nutrients from the produce you are using, to process the food.
Method #2: Steaming
Ruth Frechman, a registered dietitian and a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, is a fan of steaming as a way to maintain great taste and nutrition. Steaming involves cooking food over boiling water without it actually touching the water. While some people may choose a steamer that fits a certain pot, others may prefer a collapsible steamer that can be adjusted to different sizes and stores easily. Frechman reminds parents to use a cover on the pot to keep in steam.
Method #3: Microwaving
Microwaving can be considered another form of steaming and is especially good for cooking small quantities quickly. (Note that potatoes should be pierced and vegetables should be put in a covered microwave-safe dish with a bit of water.)
While cooking food in steamer bags may seem like a convenient option, recent reports about microwaves and plastic may make parents skeptical. "The bags are probably safe, but I would recommend using glass containers to avoid the possibility of plastic residues getting into the food," says Frechman.
One of the main things to remember when microwaving is that the heating is not always consistent. Stirring halfway through can help even things out, but parents should stir food again and test it before serving it to a baby.
Method #4: Roasting
Some vegetables are well suited to roasting, especially hard, starchy foods like sweet potatoes. "For squash and pumpkin, I'd just cut in half, seed it and lay it face down in a cookie sheet with 1 inch of water and cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes and then scoop it out and blend it," says Julie Cordua, a mom from Manhattan Beach, California.