When introducing foods to babies, we are not just trying to provide food that is nutritionally balanced, we are also introducing our babies to new tastes, textures, colours and variety. So when looking at foods we want them to:
Commercial baby foods can be loosely divided into two types: mass-produced and boutique products.
Mass-produced baby foods are the ones you see lining the supermarket aisles. While you can find some that are made to good nutritional standards, many are not ideal as a staple for your baby.
Boutique baby food and meal companies tend to have a smaller production scale, use actual people to make the baby food, source quality products (often organic, though just because it is organic doesn’t mean it is boutique) and use cutting-edge technology to ensure freshness and hygiene. There are really only a few brands that produce their baby food as you would at home. Some may even provide baby with better foods than you can prepare yourself. Organic Bubs is one such company, for example they use a variety of superfoods such as quinoa and fig in their meals. Having watched their production, it is just as I would make baby food, only I haven’t a snap-drier freezer that locks in the nutrients, flavour and colour.
Cost and savings; are they real?
Yes, boutique baby and toddler meals may be a little more expensive than the mass-produced options, but they are likely to have a higher nutritional and textural value. Plus, you are less likely to be paying for “filler” and non-nutritional ingredients, so at the end of the day you and baby are getting more for your money.
Organic is the gold standard in ingredients, as it is free from chemicals and potentially higher in nutrients. However, just because it’s organic doesn’t mean it ticks all the boxes. Some “garden variety” organic brands use added sweeteners, their products are overly soft and the texture and taste can be lacking. Look for a product that ticks as many of the boxes as possible.
Read each label before you buy. Here are a few things to consider:
We are not trying to be purists here, we all live in the real world and there are times when a jar, tin or pouch of commercial baby food can come in handy.
Created by Leanne Cooper from Sneakys Infant and Child Nutrition at www.sneakys.com.au