Homemade baby food vs organic store bought
Your Baby’s Food: Homemade or Store Bought?
Making your own baby food is a very personal decision many mothers think about. It is not always an easy choice because there are a lot of factors such as lifestyle, cost, benefits and risks that go into it. As my best friend put it,
“There is something really gratifying and pure about making Henri’s food. Since it is made by me, I know exactly what goes in his tummy. And of course, I have to taste it, making me more aware of the flavors my child does and does not like.”
What is Most Important: Experts Weigh In
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the most important concern surrounding the decision of what to feed your child is to provide an “adequate amount of essential nutrients by consuming appropriate quantities and types of food.”
Essential Nutrients for Babies
Some important essential nutrients for your baby include protein, healthy fats, iron, vitamins D, A and B12. As long as your child receives important nutrients, whether it’s from homemade baby food or store bought, you are providing your baby with the building blocks for their future growth and development. I found this guide from USDA.gov helpful in learning about the nutritional needs of my baby. I think you will to!
Many of you may be breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of age. During this time, the sole form of nutrition should be breast milk. After six months of age, complimentary foods may be introduced into your baby’s diet. This may be in the form of rice, cereal, vegetables and fruit. These are some of many nutrient based complimentary foods AAP recommends in your baby’s diet.
When your baby is at least six months and ready to begin eating solid food, your question may be, “Should I make my own baby food or buy it from the store?” The rest of this blog post helps answer your question!
Should You Consider Making Your Baby’s Own Food?
The benefit of making your own baby food is knowing exactly what your baby is eating with no worry of extra “surprise” ingredients. Here are tips to consider when making your own baby food:
- ALWAYS follow strict food safety rules for preparing and storing homemade baby foods. Refer to this easy guide from FoodSafety.gov for details on baby food preparation and storing safety.
- Wash fresh produce thoroughly.
- Use fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible. Prepare fresh produce shortly after purchasing in order to preserve the nutrients.
- Remove peels, cores and seeds in any produce.
- Remove skin and trim all visible fat from meats.
- Cook meats by baking, broiling or stewing.
- For younger infants, puree meat in a blender to desired consistency by adding a small amount of fluid. For older infants, chop meat and poultry into very small pieces.
- Avoid using canned fruits and vegetables with added salt or sugar.
- Serve food plain. Do NOT add seasoning and spices to your baby’s food.
- To adjust flavors add other pureed foods that your baby has already eaten.
- Never incorporate foods that your child has never eaten. There may be a food allergy you are not aware of.
- Introduce new foods one at a time in order to make sure there is no food allergy connected with a particular food.
- Avoid adding eggs or dairy before age one. Dairy and eggs at such a young age can cause a food allergy.
- Homemade food kept in the refrigerator should be eaten within 48 hours after preparing.
- If you are making large batches, freeze in BPA-free containers with proper lids. Label and date all containers.
Are There Ingredients to Avoid in Store Bought Baby Food?
Actually, no there is not. In my research for this post, there aren’t ingredients to avoid in store bought baby food, but there are additives to avoid. Make sure there is no corn syrup and sugars added. Generally, baby food has fewer additives that other food. Purchase foods that have only fruits and/or vegetables and water added. Many families lean towards organic brands because they know the food is free of pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals. If the cost of organic brands is too high, read the labels and make sure there are no additives like corn syrup, sugars or other ingredients that are not real food or food-based.
There are Benefits to Store Bought Baby Food
The biggest benefit is convenience! I cannot say it enough. It requires less careful preparation and cleaning, less pureeing, less freezing and less waste. Baby food manufacturers are constantly creating new products, which allows for easier and lighter carrying. Companies have started packaging their foods in pouches, which are easier to carry than glass jars. Also, many companies package their baby foods in ways that are designed to help parents advance their baby’s diet at the right age.
At the end of the day, the decision to make your own baby food or buy food for your baby is a decision that needs to fit into your lifestyle. As long as you are providing your child with a healthy well-rounded diet, you really cannot go wrong.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 baby food as toxic as store bought
There are no "any chemicals" in your own kitchen, but the same "all kinds of chemicals" are contained in the products themselves.
Homemade baby food made from commercial products will not reduce the amount of toxic heavy metals in food. American researchers came to this conclusion.
See also: Unhealthy food: six unhealthy foods in your kitchen.
“We found no evidence that homemade baby food made with store-bought foods is better than store-bought baby food when it comes to heavy metal contamination,” said study co-author Jane Houlihan.
Worked by an alliance of non-profit organizations, scientists and donors. The researchers tested 288 products purchased from stores and farmers' markets across the United States. They bought cereals, fruits and vegetables.
Products tested for lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium. These heavy metals are among the World Health Organization's top 10 chemicals of concern for children's health. Exposure to toxic metals can be harmful to the developing brain. This has been associated with problems in learning, cognition, and behavior,” reports the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The researchers also looked at 7,000 additional food tests from the US Food and Drug Administration.
All homemade baby food contains heavy metals
The results showed that 94% of baby food made from purchased raw foods contained one or more heavy metals. Lead has been found in 90% of purchased baby food and 80% of homemade food. At the same time, there is no safe level of lead.
Arsenic has been found in 68% of store-bought baby food. And in 72% of food prepared at home. Cadmium has been found in 65% of purchased baby food and 60% of homemade food. Mercury was found in 7% of store-bought food and 10% of homemade food.
The new report is a continuation of the 2019 study. At that time, Healthy Babies, Bright Futures tested 168 products purchased from major baby food manufacturers. This analysis showed that 95% of store-bought baby food contained lead, 73% arsenic, 75% cadmium, and 32% mercury.
A quarter of the products tested last year contained all four heavy metals.
“After this report, we saw many people saying that you can solve this problem by making your own baby food at home. And we decided to check it out,” Houlihan said. “We suspected that we would find heavy metals in all types of food. After all, they are the ubiquitous environmental pollutants. And so it turned out: heavy metals were in products from all departments of the store.
Does buying organic help
Buying organic also does not reduce heavy metals. It is “not shocking or surprising,” says Professor Corkins. He explained that it is the soil and water that are contaminated with arsenic and other heavy metals. So it doesn't matter if the farming methods are organic or traditional.
However, buying organic can help avoid other toxins not covered in the new report, such as herbicides and pesticides, said Dr. Leonardo Trasande, director of environmental pediatrics at NYU Langone Health. He also did not take part in the study.
There are other benefits to eating organic food. Including reducing the amount of synthetic pesticides. They are known to be just as harmful to children, if not more problematic, Trasande said.
What to feed your baby
As many different types of foods as possible, says pediatrician Dr. Mark Corkins, chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. He did not take part in the study. The wider the choice of products, the less toxicity. Plus, this will allow you to get as many trace elements from food as possible.
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5 reasons to choose homemade baby foodViktoriya Levchuk©
As adults, we think a lot about what we eat. Most of us generally prefer homemade baby food over store-bought, not only because it tastes better, but as consumers, we understand that we expose ourselves to fewer additives, high fat, salt, and sugar by preparing meals at home with zero. All too often, however, we forget to exercise the same caution when it comes to store-bought baby food choices.
Babies consume an average of 600 cans of baby food by the time they are one year old. Four out of five babies consume canned food. However, most commercial baby food is considered uncommendable, and home cooking should always be encouraged rather than canned food.
The impact of added preservatives and nutritional deficiencies found in canned baby food cannot be overlooked.
Moreover, the potential benefits that can be found in food prepared from scratch at home are much higher.
Healthy eating should not be limited to adults and older children. The early stages of development are critical to the health and well-being of babies, and the transition to solid foods provides a great opportunity to introduce babies to nutrient-dense foods that can help make this happen.
Simplify the process with good toolsfreezer mold
There are many great tools on the market to simplify the process of preparing baby food at home, from baby food freezer molds to blenders, food thermometers, small individual glass containers and other useful devices that make cooking faster and easier.
Why, then, do mothers around the world continue to buy baby food from supermarkets? Are trademarks really that bad, and can organic brands be better?
Read on to find out why homemade is always better (and why even organic baby food may not be what the manufacturers claim).
Homemade baby food versus canned baby foodgreen pea puree
about 2 years . To keep food "fresh" on the shelves longer, it must be canned and sterilized; organic as well as non-organic brands. This means that even without the addition of additional preservatives, food must be heated to its maximum temperature to avoid contamination after several months on the shelf. Along with this heating process, all vitamins and nutrients are killed.
Non-organic products contain some additives and preservatives added to increase shelf life , and when the natural flavor of the food has been killed off during the heating process, so artificial flavors are added to enhance the flavor. Instead of natural oils, unhealthy fats are added to further extend shelf life, and exposure to plastic containers increases the risk of ingestion of toxins such as BPA.How to make baby puree thick in consistency
To cut costs, food is also often replaced with water or thickeners/starches such as hulled rice, hulled corn and hulled wheat. These substances are stripped of the grain's outer layers, with preservatives and bleach typically added during processing, and the refining of any grain reduces its vitamin, protein, and roughage content.
What is the end result? Baby food that is as far from natural as possible... even labeled "organic".
However, when it comes to homemade baby food, all of the above can be avoided. Food is steamed, baked, cooked or mixed raw and then frozen for several hours. All natural nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, and meats are preserved intact, as are flavor, color, texture, and aroma. Because many fruits and some vegetables can be cooked without cooking, infants will also benefit from 100% raw food without wasting any nutrients.
Here are some more good reasons to consider switching from store-bought to homemade baby food...
1. Homemade baby food is more nutritious
Fruits and vegetables are amazingly nutritious. From the antioxidant-rich health benefits of brightly colored vegetables to a good source of fiber in root vegetables and fruits, vitamins, proteins and minerals found in every type of fruit, vegetable, seed, legume and nut, these nutrients are essential for a child's development. Children who have all the nutrients they need learn faster, become stronger and have a much lower risk of developing diseases. Preparing simple yet healthy meals ahead of time ensures that your child gets healthy without all the extra ingredients so often found in canned food.
2. Parent Knows Exactly What's In Baby's Food
If a parent is worried about giving baby supplements that are hard to pronounce, it's probably best to have full control of what's in baby's food. Aside from the healthy spices and herbs (which add variety to dishes as well as add healthiness), there's no need to worry about added sugars, salt, flavorings, thickeners, colors, and other scary ingredients that have no place in baby food. Instead, the parent will always be 100% sure which ingredients are included in the baby food.
3. Save money
Think about the cost of a single jar of baby food bought in a store. Then multiply this by the number of meals per day and the number of meals per month. What happens? Buying baby food from the bank in addition to food for the rest of the family often ends up being expensive. If you cook food from scratch, then you can only buy the food that the rest of the family will eat. It is possible to purchase some useful tools that will make cooking easier, but even a one-time purchase of a few necessary tools will not cost as much as endless jars of baby food.Pumpkin puree 7 months +
4. Save time
Believe it or not, making homemade baby food can also save time. Shopping trips will be reduced without the need to read labels, choose flavors and compare products. Feeding time will become much easier because the baby will enjoy food more if it is prepared fresh with delicious and various bright and healthy ingredients. You can cook a whole week's worth of food in one day, store it in the freezer, and just pull out the perfect sized portion to heat up quickly. And reducing the stress of parents will help the child to be less nervous too, and feeding time will become much more fun.
5. Baby gets more flavors
Last but not least, another important benefit of making baby food at home is that it allows you to add natural and delicious flavors. Most canned baby food is bland and unappetizing, with a limited variety of combinations and flavors. Herbs and spices are also rarely used in such foods, resulting in the food being less palatable to the child. Keeping in mind the “4-day wait rule” and learning some gentle herbs and spices, you can add flavors that will expand your baby's taste buds. From sweet spices to fragrant herbs, natural sweetness and delicious combinations of fruits, vegetables and more, kids will discover a world of taste sensations as they try new foods and flavors.