A mother has revealed how she feeds her eight-month-old son for just £10 a month by making her own baby food instead of shelling out on pre-made jars from the supermarket.
Leigh Morris, 33, a health care assistant from Gloucester, gave birth to her son, Leuan, in December last year – and makes him meals containing meat or fish with vegetables for around a penny for each portion.
For breakfast, he will have rolled oats or Weetabix, blitzed down with milk, and then a vegetarian meal and one with protein included.’
Eight-month-old Leuan, from Gloucester, is pictured enjoying a home-cooked meal by Leigh, who says he loves fish dishes and chicken and vegetables
Leigh Morris,33 is a healthcare worker who has always had a passion for cooking after spending time working as a commis chef
The ice cube-sized portions of carrot, sweet potato and broccoli after being prepped and frozen. Leuan’s meals average out at an impressive 1p per portion and £10 a month
Leigh is also mum to Theo, seven and step-mother to Imogen, 13 and Leo, nine.
She and her partner Bryn, 42, say they are saving an impressive £65 a month by making their youngest child’s food themselves.
‘After doing some research on shop food and prices, it would have cost me around £18 a week on the jars and £75 a month if he was having three jars a day,’ Leigh explained.
‘I can’t afford £75 a month on jars plus baby milk and nappies on top.
‘On average I spend £10 a month on three meals a day for him.’
She also researched how the jars and pouches were made and why they had such a long shelf life, and reveals she was ‘put off’ after other mums said they had ‘found mould’ in their store bought jars and pouches.
The healthcare worker said: ‘I saw that the majority were pasteurised which would mean that the food was being exposed to such high heat would have an impact on the nutritional value.
Leuan has a varied diet which consists of all the food groups including protein, carbohydrates,dairy and vegetables
Leigh Morris pictured with her youngest son Leuan, who she shares with partner Bryn,42
‘I’ve also seen a lot of posts online of mums finding mould inside the pouches and it put me off.’
Leigh admits she always had a passion for cooking, working as a commis chef in the past.
She said: ‘I love to cook and I watch cooking shows most days, I’ve also worked in numerous kitchens as a commis chef.
Step 1: Leigh cooks the food in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil. Step 2: The food is then blended and put into ice cube trays
Once frozen the cubes are popped out, placed into a freezer bag and dated. Most of the meals can last up to 3 months in the freezer. Pictured above: Sweet potato cubes, a good source of beta carotene, vitamin C, and potassium.
Leigh says she would like Leuan to try a variety of foods and likes that she knows ‘exactly what he is eating’. Pictured above is a mix of vegetables being frozen and the finished product, a broccoli, apple, pea and carrot combination
‘I want Leuan to try as many foods as possible but I also wanted to know exactly what he was eating!’
For Leigh and Bryn, the most important aspect of feeding their baby home-made food is the nutritional side of things and knowing what is going into his body, as well as the cost.
She said: ‘I know what he’s eating when I cook for him, I can make sure he gets his five-a-day as well as ensuring salt and sugar free meals.
‘Also I can taste test everything I cook him so I know what flavours stand out the most.’
The financial side is also a huge factor for the family, with six mouths to feed at home, the pair have to budget wisely.
Doting father Bryn pictured feeding his son Leuan at home – the family of six have to be savvy about money saving as they have to budget carefully with so many mouths to feed in the household
The whole family enjoy a day out Pictured: Bryn holding Leuan with Imogen, Leo (next to Bryn) and Theo.
The close knit family are out on a countryside walk – Pictured: Bryn, Leuan ,Theo and Leigh.
A day out at the beach. Pictured: Leigh with her son Theo and her two stepchildren Imogen and Leo
Leigh likes to use a variety of vegetables, depending on the season, as well as frozen peas and sweetcorn as they’re cheap.
In season vegetables are usually cheaper in supermarkets too.
Leigh said: ‘Every day he will have a veggie meal and then a meal with protein included.
‘Breakfast is always blitzed down rolled oats or Weetabix.’
For Leuan’s porridge, Leigh buys a kilo of rolled oats, for around £1.
She said: ‘I put a cups worth of oats in my food processor or nutribullet, and blitz it down to a powder consistency.
Leuan waits happily for his next meal, cooked lovingly by his mother Leigh, who diligently prepares and defrosts each portion every day
Leigh’s budget breakfast recipe, which is made from a kilo of £1 rolled oats and milk or Weetabix with milk
‘I then store it in an air tight container and use a scoop from his baby formula to measure out the portion.
‘I always do one part porridge to three parts milk.’
For dinners, Leigh will roast, boil or steam whatever she has decided to cook for him.
She said: ‘Once the food is cooked and cooled, I will purée it in the blender and portion it into ice cube trays, then I’ll freeze it for 24 hours.
‘Once frozen I pop the cubes into a labelled bag with a three-month expiry date on and put back in the freezer.
‘Then when I go to use it, I defrost it in the fridge the night before and warm up in the microwave slowly.’
Eight-month-old Leuan already has his favourites- usually the fish-based meals and chicken with vegetables.
She said: ‘He loves salmon in particular, it makes me so happy to be able to cook it for him and watch him enjoy it.
‘I do a fillet in the oven wrapped in tin foil, then purée it with a potato, peas and a spoonful of cream cheese.
‘I’d say his absolute favorite meal is chicken, potato and veg.
‘I cook a chicken breast in tin foil with olive oil and purée with a potato and add veg.’
Per meal, it costs Leigh less than a penny for his individual portions, with the ingredients for the whole meal costing roughly £4.50.
She buys two chicken breasts from Tesco at £2.25, a bag of frozen sweetcorn at £1.08, baby potatoes for £1 and frozen peas for 55p.
She said: ‘On average, this will make 60 portions of chicken and potato, 200 portions of peas and 200 portions of sweetcorn.
‘All are ice cube portions at 0.5 ounces and he has, roughly, four cubes per meal at the moment, giving us 60 portions out of the two chicken breasts.’
Leigh with her two sons Theo, nine and Leuan, eight-months-old smiling at home together
Leuan tries ‘grown-up’ food eating a portion of non-mashed scrambled eggs and toast for his breakfast
Leigh usually spends her mornings cooking the fish, chicken and other protein dishes, which last around three months, and does the veg as and when it needs replenishing, as he will have three portions of veg per meal.
Giving advice to any other parents trying to give their baby nutritious food while saving money, she said: ‘Buy seasonal veg always to keep the cost down.
‘Grab yellow stickers on expensive proteins when you can and freeze that day if you’re not able to cook it.
‘Also keep an eye out for Lidl’s £1.50 fruit and veg boxes at the front of their stores as I can make a months’ worth of purée veg on one of those!’