Advantages of store bought baby food

Bought vs Homemade Baby Food – Pros and Cons – Aster & Oak

Baby food is almost as varied and flavorful as adult food now — anything that can be pureed can be put in a jar and called baby food. Once our little one has reached the food stage at around six months, it’s time to make a decision. Should you buy your baby food or make it at home? We’ve assembled the pros and cons of each option to help make the choice between Bought vs Homemade Baby Food a bit easier for you.

Store Bought Baby Food Pros and Cons

Store-bought baby food may be the food of choice for most parents because of its convenience and variety — there’s an enormous wall of it in nearly every grocery store, and it comes in every flavor imaginable.


  • Convenience — You don’t have to worry about refrigeration (before you open the jar) or Tupperware with loose lids making a mess in your bag.
  • Portability — It’s easy to store and carry jars of baby food in your diaper bag or purse. All you need is a spoon, and it’s dinner time for baby.


  • Cost — In the long run, jarred baby food ends up costing more than the homemade alternatives.
  • Waste — Disposable packaging can be wasteful, and if it’s not cleaned out well, it’s often not recyclable either.
  • Preservatives — The only ‘preservative’ you should see in baby food is Vitamin C, but jarred food can contain a variety of listed or unlisted preservatives to make the food shelf stable.
  • Contaminants — Contaminants can make their way into store-bought baby foods and can even show up in the water used to make it. In 2014, the Environmental Defense Fund found lead in some packaged baby foods.

Jarred baby food can be a great tool if you’re traveling or away from home, but is it really the best option for every meal?

Homemade Baby Food Pros and Cons

You can make almost anything that you’re eating into baby food as long as you don’t mind skipping the salt and other seasonings.


  • You Know What’s in the Food — Nothing goes into your homemade baby food that you’re not aware of.
  • Cost — Overall, making your baby food ends up being less expensive, even if you have to buy a blender or food processor to get started.
  • Variety — You can make up food combinations to cater to your infant’s tastes and nutritional needs without having to open multiple jars.


  • Safety — Jarred baby food is pasteurized, killing off any bacteria that might appear in the finished product. Homemade baby food is not.
  • Storage — Homemade baby food has no preservatives, so it doesn’t keep as well. It can be frozen, but should only be made and stored in small batches.

If you’ve got the time and the inclination, making your baby food can be an excellent option for providing your infant with healthy and organic food.

Making Your Own Tips and Tricks

If you’ve never tried making your own baby food, here are a few tips and tricks to get you started:

  1. Steam or microwave fruits and veggies to soften them while still retaining most of their nutrients. Boiling works too, but many of the nutrients can leach out into the cooking water.
  2. Don’t add anything — you don’t need any extra flavors or additives. Your baby’s tastes are very bland at the moment, plus most of these flavor additives also add salt or sugar which are unhealthy for your baby.
  3. Mash. Add small amounts of water or breast milk and mash the fruits or vegetables until they’re smooth. You can also spin these foods up in a blender or food processor to get a smooth, even texture.

That’s all there is too it. Baby food is pretty simple. If you’re making up large batches of food at once for convenience, pour the extra food into an ice cube tray to make individual sized freezer portions. Once frozen, they can be transferred into a zip lock bag for storage for up to a month.

Homemade Baby Food Recipes

If you’re just getting started with baby food, here are a few homemade recipes to get you going.

Stage 1 — These infant foods should include only one ingredient, not including the water or breast milk used to dilute the mash. Not only does it make it easier to introduce new foods to the baby, but it also makes it easier to determine if your child has any food allergies that you need to be concerned about.

Avocado Mush — All you need to do is halve your avocado, scoop out the meat of the fruit and mash it until smooth. Avocados are very soft anyway, so there’s no need to do anything extra to it.
Banana Mush — Same as the avocado. Peel, mash, serve.
Applesauce — Peel your apples and cut them into chunks. Boil or steam until tender, then mash or blend until smooth.

Stage 2 This is when you can start getting a little more adventurous with the food combinations, but you still don’t want to add any salt or additional flavors. Start combining fruits and vegetables like:

  • Apples and bananas
  • Apples and plums
  • Bananas and blueberries
  • Apples and carrots
  • Peaches and sweet potatoes
  • Avocado and peaches

The list is endless. Just make sure you’re using foods that you’ve already introduced the baby to in case of food allergies.

Stage 3 — Now that your baby is used to a variety of different foods, it’s time to start looking into chunkier foods. You can start introducing finger foods here as well.

The food you feed your baby, much like the rest of your parenting decisions, is a personal choice. If you have the time, making homemade food can be a healthier alternative to store-bought baby food, but the jarred stuff isn’t all bad.

Homemade Vs Store Bought Baby Food – Which Is Better?

When your little one is old enough to move onto solids, you have two options. You can either buy store bought baby food, or make it yourself. There are pros and cons to both options and it helps to understand each of them before you make a decision.

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Homemade Baby Food – The Pros And Cons

There are a lot of reasons many mothers choose to make their own baby food and it is quickly becoming a popular preference as time goes on. So, what are the benefits of making baby food yourself?

You Know Exactly What’s Going Into Your Little One’s Food – If you’re cautious about what goes into your little one’s tummy, making your own baby food gives you great peace of mind. When you make it, you know exactly what’s in it and you don’t need to worry about potentially nasty ingredients such as preservatives. You can also ensure it contains the right level of nutrients your little one needs to stay happy and healthy.

You Control The Flavor – Creating your own baby food also gives you a lot more control over what you feed your little one. When you buy it from a store, you have no input into the flavors and types of fruits and vegetables that are included. Avocados and melons for example are rarely included in manufactured baby foods.

It Can Help Avoid Future Mealtime Battles – Many parents struggle to get their children to try healthier foods during the toddler years. This is largely because the child has never experienced the flavors presented to them so they are reluctant to put anything in their mouth they don’t know will taste good!

Mashing up foods such as broccoli, avocados and strawberries into your baby’s food will get them used to these flavors early on and therefore reduce those dreaded toddler mealtime battles.

It Can Be More Affordable – While this isn’t always the case, making your own baby food can be a more budget-friendly option. Provided you have the right equipment and you shop around, it can prove to be a lot cheaper to create your own food than it is to buy it ready-made. So, if you’re on a tight budget, homemade baby food might be the way to go.

So, those are the benefits but what about the cons? The main disadvantage is obviously the time it takes to create the food. Some may argue it doesn’t take long and the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience. However, not all parents have the luxury of time.

Each parent’s situation is different. Some are stay-at-home parents, while others can’t afford to give up work so they rely on babysitters and find themselves with very little time on their hands. Even stay-at-home parents don’t always have extra time to spend making their own baby food. So, it all depends upon your situation and whether it is possible to find the time to make your own food.

Another potential disadvantage is that fresh homemade baby food doesn’t store for long. So, you will need to make it frequently and it can’t always be made in bulk depending upon the ingredients used.

As you can see, there are definitely more advantages than disadvantages when it comes to homemade baby food, so what about store-bought brands?

Store Bought Baby Food – The Pros and Cons

Parents have been using store-bought baby food for decades and it’s easy to see why. The main advantages include:

It’s Convenient And Easy To Find – Convenience is the biggest reason parents often choose to stick to store bought baby food. Practically all grocery stores sell it, which means if you’re travelling it’s easy to find and stock up on the baby food you need.

There’s practically no preparation required, which makes it great for busy parents who struggle to find enough hours in the day.

It Can Be Stored For Long Periods Of Time – Unlike homemade baby food, store bought varieties often come with a long shelf life. They don’t usually need to be refrigerated either so it won’t take up too much space. You’ll never need to worry about running out or about having to throw it away after a certain amount of time.

It Can Be More Cost Effective – While homemade baby food can be a less expensive option in the long-term, you do need to ensure you have the right equipment and the ingredient can be expensive. So, if you don’t have the right equipment at your disposal, it may actually be cheaper to continue buying store-bought food.

These are the three main benefits of buying ready-made baby food. However, you also need to consider the cons:

  • It’s more expensive in the long-term
  • Contains preservatives
  • Has a different taste than fresh food
  • It doesn’t always contain a huge number of nutrients

When you weigh up the cost of homemade versus store-bought baby food, in the short-term store bought is more affordable. However, its long term costs do tend to work out more expensive.

Perhaps the biggest worry for parents however, is that store-bought baby foods do contain preservatives and can lack nutrients compared to homemade fresh food. The preservatives are responsible for the long shelf-life and aren’t very healthy for baby. Obviously, they are safe, as if they weren’t stores wouldn’t be allowed to sell them. However, some parents are reluctant to give their little ones anything containing preservatives.

The fact store-bought foods have a different taste is also a potential concern when it comes to transitioning to fresh foods later on. Your toddler may be extremely reluctant to eat fresh fruits and vegetables if they are unfamiliar with the taste.

So, when you compare the pros and cons to store-bought and homemade baby foods, it’s easy to see homemade does appear to be the better option much of the time.


The key thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong choice. As a new parent, you’re often inundated with opinions of what you should and shouldn’t be doing. While homemade baby food can be the better option in terms of nutrient content, for some mother’s it just isn’t possible to set aside the amount of time required to make your own baby food every day. So, do what’s right for you and if you can find the time to make your own, try it. Homemade is often recommended, but it certainly isn’t essential.

Do you have any tips on making your own baby food? We’d love you to share them below…

Baby food - from a jar or with your own hands? Pros and cons

Complementary foods are solid foods for young children in addition to dairy products that they have received for several months as their sole source of nutrition.

— Polina Alexandrovna, why is the introduction of complementary foods called a transitional stage in a child's nutrition?

— The beginning of acquaintance with complementary foods does not mean the transition to an adult diet. The first or second complementary foods are important so that the child adapts and is psychologically ready to eat adult food, and his digestive organs are tuned to work properly. Therefore, complementary foods are considered a transitional stage from milk nutrition to nutrition at a common table.

- Is the composition of canned zucchini or apple puree for babies different from the homemade version?

- Factory nutrition may vary depending on the raw materials that the manufacturer uses in a particular puree. Therefore, it is impossible to say that all such food is the same. For example, zucchini puree may contain rice flour so that its consistency is more correct in the opinion of the manufacturer. Mom decides what to put in, and in the same way she can add rice flour. An industrial puree that is suitable for a child and meets the requirements of parents may be identical in composition to homemade puree.

— There is a lot of speculation about baby food in jars. What are the most common parenting misconceptions?

- The most common myth is "canned mashed potatoes don't taste good and kids don't eat them well." In fact, most babies enjoy eating factory-made purees without experiencing any problems.

There are concerns that baby puree is “wrong” or does not meet nutritional requirements. The manufacturer is required by law to list all the ingredients of the product. For example, mashed potatoes may contain rice flour that is not always healthy, especially if vegetables are introduced to the child in order to avoid constipation. What kind of food is more useful for the baby, whether to buy just such a puree or look for another in composition - the parents decide together with the doctor. Therefore, it is wrong to equate all manufacturers and their products.

See also
  • "10 myths about canned baby food"

- Puree is often said to contain preservatives.

— Modern technologies make it possible not to use preservatives in the production of baby food. That is why it is written on the jars that open food is not stored for more than a day even in the refrigerator. As long as puree does not come into contact with air, it does not spoil within the specified shelf life due to sterilization and vacuum packaging. After opening the jar and contact with air, the puree quickly deteriorates, which indicates the absence of preservatives in it.

— Is it true that canned baby food is addictive, and then the child refuses natural products?

- There is no causal relationship here. When a child refuses a fresh apple, the problem is not the canned puree in his diet, but that he is not familiar with food in pieces. The child ate a homogeneous puree for a long time, and then they offer him a large piece of an apple - naturally, he will not cope with it right away. That is why, after the child gets used to a homogeneous puree, puree with soft small pieces is gradually introduced - so that there is no discomfort if the baby does not chew them. Gradually, the pieces become larger and denser. Over time, the child comes to eat a real whole apple or other hard fruit or vegetable.

Baby food in a jar or homemade puree - which is right for a baby? Pros and cons of

— How long can I feed my baby bottled baby food?

- You can feed your baby as much as you like, there is no strict age limit. But baby needs to be introduced to the different textures and flavors of . The need for canned food usually disappears when the baby moves to a common table with a diet familiar to the whole family. During this period, puree from a jar, especially tasty and sweet fruit varieties, often becomes a safe treat for grown-up babies.

— In which cases canned baby puree is contraindicated?

- There are no diseases in which canned puree is contraindicated. But for some diseases, the presence of a particular product in baby food is undesirable. Factory puree is different in composition. Parents can choose purees without ingredients that are not suitable for the baby or should be limited in his diet, and continue to feed the canned product without problems.

— How to choose baby food in a jar that is healthy for a child?

- First of all, you need to read the full composition of the product on the back, because some ingredients are not indicated on the front label of the jar. It is important to pay attention to the expiration date of the food, the reputation of the manufacturer. All components of the puree must correspond to the age and condition of the child, his individual characteristics.

For example:

  • the first puree must not contain rice flour;
  • Strawberry puree should not be given to a four-month-old child;
  • cereals are excluded from the diet of children with celiac disease (gluten intolerance);
  • An older baby should be offered puree with chunks.

What mistakes do parents make when preparing mashed potatoes for feeding with their own hands

- Sometimes parents cook the wrong way - sometimes they overcook vegetables, and also make the puree too thin or thick. I hope that no one will fry food for their young children instead of boiling or steaming. Sometimes parents put spices and salt in baby puree, which is also not worth doing. The child should initially get acquainted with pure tastes, and extraneous additives are useless.

In addition, mothers need to be guided by foods that are appropriate for the age of the child, do not cause allergies and are not difficult for him, and also be guided by what the family eats. If parents give the baby something that they themselves do not eat, then when switching to an adult table, he may refuse the usual family food, he will have to cook it separately. This will be a big problem.

- The child refuses the food prepared by the mother and does not eat anything. What to do in such a situation?

— The same food or dish can be offered to the child during the week. Food selectivity in children often depends on taste sensations, but a child may refuse to eat for other reasons, for example, when he is not hungry or would like to play instead of dinner. If during the week the child does not perceive the product that the mother offers, perhaps he still does not like it. In this case, the same product can be given in the form of canned nutrition . Often, kids really refuse homemade puree, preferring the factory version. Again, mom can cook another product and give, for example, broccoli instead of zucchini, which the child will appreciate.

Fruit baby puree MAMAKO ® contains 20% goat curd. This food option is convenient at the stage of introducing children not only to fruits, but also to dairy products. It is the little ones who eat sweet, tasty foods well during the first feeding period and even when they get older - for dessert.

- Are the recipes for complementary foods from 6 months and those for 10 months different?

- For toddlers, there are no recipes and complex dishes, because it is a simple food for discovering pure tastes without salt and spices, gradually getting used to the texture of the products. In the preparation of the first children's dishes, you can vary the combination of vegetables, focusing on the taste of the baby.

Recipes appear from the age of two or three with a full transition to the common table, when family preferences become more important. Of course, the baby needs to be introduced to products that are not consumed in the family, because there is a kindergarten and a school ahead. However, the basis of his diet should be food from the general household table . In addition, parents should be careful in cooking: do not overcook foods, do not add artificial ingredients, properly cool food so that homemade vegetable or fruit puree for the first feeding is healthy and safe for the baby.

- Is it possible to combine canned and homemade food and in what proportions?

— There are no strict rules: what is convenient for the family is chosen. For example, it is difficult to make meat puree at home, so sometimes parents add industrial meat supplements to homemade vegetable puree.

There is also no clear gradation in the percentage of different food options. In one plate, you can mix what you have prepared yourself with what you bought in the store. But at home it is not always possible to achieve the desired combinations and prepare, for example, a combined product that includes a variety of fruits and cottage cheese.

Choose a way of eating that is comfortable for your family. It is easier for someone to cook for their child on their own, for someone it is easier to buy ready-made mashed potatoes. Pediatricians often recommend mashed vegetables or fruits of industrial production, because when it is used for a child, the risk of undesirable consequences is much less.

* Breast milk is the best food for babies. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a child's life and continued breastfeeding after complementary foods are introduced until the age of 2 years. Before introducing new products into the baby's diet, you should consult with a specialist. The material is for informational purposes and cannot replace the advice of a healthcare professional. For feeding children from birth.

Down with the grater

March 23, 2007, 00:00


Evgenia ZUEVA

Today there are specialized departments of baby food in any decent supermarket. From all kinds of jars, bottles, packages sometimes ripples in the eyes. After all, food for the little ones is not limited to traditional mother's milk substitutes: there are many options, and the range of products is no worse than in m

Relatively speaking, baby food can be of three types: industrially produced, prepared independently or combined from the first two options. The advantages of ready meals are obvious: first of all, it is simplicity and convenience. It is enough to slightly warm up the purchased jar, and the product contained in it is ready for use. At the same time, young parents completely get rid of the fuss with graters, mortars and meat grinders, which is especially valuable for working mothers who, buying canned food, have the opportunity to save not only strength, but also time. However, despite all the listed advantages of the finished product, many parents still prefer home-cooked food.

However, according to Igor Kon, professor of the Department of Baby Nutrition at the State Research Institute of Nutrition of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, this approach is not entirely correct. “In my opinion,” the specialist says, “children under one year of age should definitely try industrially prepared food. Firstly, only it has an accurate balanced set of all the substances necessary for this important period for a small person, and secondly, large manufacturers, as a rule, introduce rather strict quality control of all initial products at their enterprises, which guarantees its safety. The same can't be said for home-cooked food.

According to pediatrician Irina Antonova, the cooking process itself is usually not in doubt, but the quality of the initial products often leaves much to be desired. “Unfortunately,” the specialist continues, “fruits and vegetables bought on the market are not always suitable for baby food, because many of them were probably sprayed with harmful substances that, at best, can cause an allergy in a child, and at worst, lead to more serious consequences for his health. In particular, cases of nitrate poisoning are known even with those vegetables and fruits that have previously undergone heat treatment.

Friend or foe

Standing at a long shelf with baby food, many parents are at a loss as to which product to buy - imported or domestic. Igor Kon dispels these doubts: “I am for good nutrition, no matter where it is produced. According to the composition of vitamins, minerals and other necessary elements, European, American and Russian products are close to each other. Moreover, colleagues from Europe often note that our production requirements are even stricter. In Russia, there are many large factories specializing in nutrition for children, which are located in Moscow, the Moscow region, Kazan, St. Petersburg, Krasnodar. They are modern, and the process of preparation at such enterprises is the same as abroad.” Therefore, when choosing baby food, many parents are primarily guided by the “issue price”: domestic brands, as a rule, are much cheaper than foreign analogues.

Announce the entire list

According to experts, in order not to make a mistake in choosing baby food, first of all, you should pay attention not even to the country of origin, but to the information indicated on the package. For example, on the labels of imported products, as a rule, all ingredients are listed in descending order. In particular, if a manufacturer claims that their product contains a minimum amount of sugar, then this component should be listed at the very end of the list or not at all. The packaging should also contain information about the nutritional value of the product, indicating its energy value, as well as the amount of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and vitamins. Information about the production date, expiration date and storage conditions of the goods should also be present on any jar of baby food. Moreover, for hermetically sealed goods, storage conditions must be specified before and after opening the package. Good manufacturing companies also indicate the age of the child from which it is recommended to use the product.

However, experienced mothers pay attention to the list of ingredients for another reason: in most cases, these are real ready-made recipes that can be implemented at home.

Truths and myths about canned food

Home-cooked food has more vitamins.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. The fact is that fresh vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamins only in their “own” season. Several months of storage, even if in compliance with all standards, and apart from fiber and starch, there is hardly anything left in them. In addition, do not forget that after heat treatment, most of the vitamins and nutrients also disappear. But the product prepared in industrial conditions has everything you need. Moreover, some children's canned food is additionally enriched with beta-carotene, iron, iodine, potassium and vitamin C in doses approaching the daily requirement of children of the corresponding age.
Cans contain preservatives.
This is true if you consider vitamin C as a preservative, which is legally added to baby food. As for the use of all kinds of chemical preservatives, their use is prohibited in the production of baby food. In addition, there is no special need for them: modern heat treatment technologies and vacuum packaging provide the possibility of long-term storage of the product without the use of additional additives.
Industrially prepared food causes allergies in children.
This is not true: industrially produced canned children's products are made taking into account all the health characteristics of modern children. Moreover, manufacturers produce special food for babies with intolerance to cow's milk proteins or gluten contained in cereals. However, allergic reactions to canned food are still not excluded. However, according to experts, they mainly occur when the rules for introducing complementary foods are not followed, according to which each new product should be given to the baby in small quantities, gradually increasing the dose.
Baby food is often counterfeited.
Thanks to strict state control over the quality of baby food, the possibility of counterfeiting is practically excluded. All products for children on sale undergo strict expert control, which includes, among other things, an assessment of the compliance of products with safety standards and a study of their nutritional value. It is also mandatory to carry out an organoleptic examination: taste, smell, color, stratification / non-stratification of the product, its dissolution rate, packaging compliance with GOST standards.
After cans, it is difficult for a child to accustom to an adult table.
Difficulties in the transition from ready-made food to the "adult" table, as a rule, are associated with the use of canned food that does not correspond to the age of the baby. For example, if a mother feeds her eight-month-old baby puree intended for a three-month-old baby, then it is not surprising that in due time he will refuse to take solid food. This is explained by the fact that ready-made food is produced with various degrees of grinding. For example, for children under 6 months, manufacturers offer homogenized purees, for 6-8-month-old babies - puree, and for children over 9months - coarsely ground products. Therefore, jar food, selected according to the age of the child, gradually prepares his gastrointestinal tract for "adult" food. The same cannot be said for home-cooked food, in which it is quite difficult to control the consistency of mashed potatoes.
Ready-made cereals and purees are expensive.

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