How long do baby food pouches last
The (ugly) Truth About Baby Food Pouches | Are Homemade Pouches For Babies Good Or Bad | Do Baby Food Packets Grow Mold | Amara
The (Ugly) Truth About Baby Food Pouches
It’s hard to believe that baby food pouches only came on the market about a decade ago, give or take. To put it mildly, these things became insanely popularfast. In 2018, theNew York Times reported that pouches account fora full quarter of the baby food market —wow. This is a pretty staggering rise to prominence, when you think about it.
In real life, the prominence bears out. I see pouches everywhere, and it’s true: pouches take up at least 25% of the shelf space on the baby food aisle (which is itself a dizzying array of products and options…).
If you’re a parent, we probably don’t have to tell you why pouches became so popular so quickly: they’re the epitome of convenience. Besides the fact that kidsreally like them, pouches require no prep, no feeding, no refrigeration, no mess, and virtually no clean up. They’re easy to pack, easy to store, easy to hand over, and given that so many of them are organic and/or contain exotic fruits and vegetables, they’re really easy to feel good about.
But too much of anything is not always a good thing.
Pouches are a great option for any number of circumstances and situations (more on this shortly…), but according to the best experts, over relying on them is actually problematic. Here’s why:
Pouches don’t teach young children about food and eating.
Every time a baby or toddler sits down to eat presents a learning opportunity in more ways than one. And unfortunately, pouches detract from that learning more than they contribute to it.
Eating — whether it’s by hand or getting spoon-fed — entails using fine motor skills, coordination, and specific oral mechanics. It’s a tactile experience that furthers a child’s developmental abilities in multiple areas. If eating is an actual activity, “eating” from a pouch is passive. It is, in a way, a lost developmental learning opportunity.
When children eat solids — including purees — they’re learning to take bites, to move food around in their mouths, to use their tongues, and to chew. Pouches demand none of this of children. As Kara Larson, a feeding specialist and speech language pathologist at Boston Children’s Hospital said in an interview: “if children are just sucking from a pouch all the time, we worry that some of that tactile experience with food might be lost.”
Eating is also a sensory experience, and this is another area in which pouches come up short. Babies and toddlers learning to eat take ineverything about foods — feeling, seeing, and smelling are a huge part of how they learn about different foods. With pouches, all this sensory intake is essentially lost: children can’t see what color their “food” is, can’t smell it by and large, and don’t feel its textures.
Not to mention, to a large extent,they also can’t even really taste it. Here’s what I mean…
The main ingredient in most pouches tends to be a sweet food, usually a fruit. And those sweet foods effectively dominate the entire flavor profile. So even if a pouch does contain spinach or broccoli or the like,children can’t taste it. Like, at all.
Indeed, partly because of this sweet-taste-masking effect, young children usually can’t differentiate between any of the flavors in any given pouch. I found it helpful to consider what’s going on for me whenever I have a smoothie — I can often pull outsome of the individual flavors, but not all of them. And even the singular tastes I can detect,I can only detect because I already know what they taste like.
Babyhood and toddlerhood together comprise a critical period of time for learning about foods — and learning to like foods! If toddlers don’t have experience with actual vegetables, they may be less likely to enjoy them down the road. As pediatrician Dr. Natalie Muth told the Times, “kids need the taste of what the actual food is to come to like it later. ” IOW, apple-pear-kale pouches aren’t helping children learn to love kale.
All of this is to say that children don’t learn much about foods (if anything at all) from pouches — they’re not becoming familiar with the foods or even the flavors included — which is a problem because this is a huge piece of how children come to actually like foods.
Pouches aren’t as nutritious as manufacturers would like us to believe.
There is ahuge problem in the way these pouches are marketed — it’s totally misleading, in my opinion.
We parents are led to believe that pouches are a great way to “get” our children to eat healthy, and that we can trust a pouch to put plenty of fruits and vegetables into our kids’ systems. Many pouches also contain foods you won’t find in conventional baby food jars, like quinoa or kale or pomegranate or avocado — and the message we are led to believe is that these inclusions make poucheseven more healthy. They contain all these awesome foodie foods! But pouches actually aren’t all that healthy, and as mentioned above, the delivery mechanism — single-texture blends that children “drink” more than they “eat” — isn’t teaching children to come to know and loveactual fruits and vegetables.
Some pouches contain added sugars (grrr), and even among those that don’t the sugar content is still disproportionate compared to the real foods they started out as. This is true of jarred baby food in general (the high-heat processing that ensures shelf-stability also nukes all the “good stuff,” including vitamins, minerals, fiber, and flavor, while leaving undesirable contents like sugar) — but some research indicates that pouches in particular tend to have higher sugar contents than baby food jars.
The lack of fiber and texture is also a huge loss — because fiber is super important for digestive health and also contributes to feeling satiated. In fact, some experts worry that because children can suck down pouches so much more quickly than they could eat the same thing (and they aren’t getting any measurable amounts of fiber from them), pouches might actually impact children’s learning about feelings of satiety.
The convenience factor, too, can be so damntempting. Because they are so easy and children like them so much, many parents (myself included — guilty) use pouches as a sort of management strategy in moments of “crisis,” to put an end to things like public tantrums or epic stretches of whining. Admittedly, this probably sends our kids some mixed messages, namely that emotional or inappropriate behavior can and will be tamed with food (read: sugar). Without being alarmist about it, it’s not unreasonable to think that these aren’t necessarily the healthy, ideal lessons many of us are aiming to teach our kids.
All this said — there is a time and a place for everything, and you don’t need to empty your pantry of pouches for all eternity or swear them off entirely. The problem with pouches, as it were, is only apparent if babies and toddlers are consuming them A LOT. As in, multiple pouches per day. As in, so-many-pouches are displacing other sources ofreal food.
Here are some helpful thoughts from experts on when and how to incorporate pouches:
Pouches may be a parent’s best friend in certain situations — and the hands-down “winner” in that category is TRAVEL. Whether you are making a road trip, day trip, plane trip, or whatever, having a pouch on hand for a snack can be life-saving. These kinds of situations are often about getting through them, so do what you need to anddon’t feel guilty about it!
Experts suggest having some sort of “ground rules,” so to speak, about using pouches — as opposed to using them randomly, on the fly, or as a reactive strategy to calm down your child. Put another way, they recommend making decisions about when and how you plan to use pouches ahead of time, rather than in the moment.
Look for products with no added sugar, and consider buying smaller sized pouches if they’re available. This isn’t to say that children need pouches — not at all. Pouches were made for and marketed toUS, parents. And there are plenty of reasons to like them. But our children don’t need them, and they’re certainly not benefitting from them.
As we said, there’s a time and a place for everything — and pouches aren’t “all bad”! When we offer them with intention and in moderation, pouches can be wonderful. But it’s also important to see beyond the deceptive marketing that would have us believe pouches are a boon to any child’s culinary education. Not so — as always, in the end, real food wins…
How Baby Food Pouches are Made (A Behind the Scenes Look) & How We're Different
Most parents can admit to staring and staring at the supermarket shelf, looking the baby food aisle up and down, wondering what is the best possible baby food to give their baby. There are more flavors of baby food pouches available than there are cereals, but there is one thing they all have in common: the way the baby food pouches are made.
But wait, they’re 100% fruit right? They don’t list “sugar” as an ingredient… They are “organic,” brain smart, and filled with fiber. How can these squeeze pouches be badfor your little one?
When we started Amara, we knew that no one was getting more time anytime soon. So we searched high and low for the best way to bring fresh food to supermarket shelves without sacrificing essential nutrients and vitamins.
We stumbled across a technique that was used centuries ago by the Incans to preserve food. The Incans didn’t just store their food where they lived. They would climb up to the highest mountains, at a much higher elevation than where they lived, and store their food there. Why would they store their food so far away from where they cooked? It turns out the Incans were not just trying to get exercise, they were on to something. The pressure and cold of the high mountains actually preserved the food, all while maintaining the taste, texture and nutrients of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Crazy right? Well, we started researching more to see how we could use this ancient wisdom. That’s when we found the technique we use today. At Amara, we minimally process the fruits, veggies and grains so you can get the closest thing to homemade when you don’t have time to make it yourself. We just take out the water, so you can take homemade with you, anytime, anywhere.
Now that’s what we do. But what do other baby food companies do? Why are those pouches so high in sugars? Why do they have the same texture and consistency, all kind of tasting like apples?
Creating a shelf-stable pouch of baby food
Shelf-stable means that the food can sit on a shelf without refrigeration or spoilage for quite some time. Jarred shelf-stable baby food lasts for about two years. Pouch-stored shelf-stored baby food lasts for one year. This lets supermarkets and baby food companies take their time in selling the product because they don’t have to worry about spoilage.
Unfortunately, the way they create shelf-stable food isn’t exactly good for its nutritional value. They have to use processes that remove the causes of spoilage (the bad stuff), but these same processes also reduce nutrition (the good stuff).
The extraordinary high levels of heat the traditional jars and pouches are using is the major culprit. Heat breaks down vitamins and destroys enzymes that are needed for proper digestion. Now, after so much heat – you are left with a boiled down mixture that is closer to jam than wholesome fresh food.
So let’s follow how traditional baby food is made….
First, most shelf-stable baby food companies don’t process raw vegetables and fruits themselves. They buy them from other companies in the form of a puree or a concentrate. These purees and concentrates start by chopping and washing vegetables and grinding them down (which heats up the puree.) Next, stones, skins, and seeds are removed, but along with these, the fiber is also removed. This creates a smooth consistency, but babies need fiber!
So far, it’s like making homemade baby food, only maybe not so much heat because you’re not using industrial equipment (you don’t normally heat your food over 185 degrees F for a long period of time)…. But that’s not it.
Then, the puree is “deareated” to remove oxygen (which causes food to spoil) and then pasteurized. As we all know, pasteurization requires high heat for a long time to kill bacteria. This high heat-processed puree is sent to the baby food companies. If a concentrate is called for, the puree goes through an evaporator to draw out water before shipping. If you’ve ever tasted frozen juice concentrate, you know it’s like swallowing a spoonful of sugar.
Now, enter baby food companies:
Baby food companies buy these pureed (can we still call them fruits and vegetables?) and blend them to create their flavors. They sometimes add water for consistency, and they can also add other things. Acids (e.g. citric acid) is added for further bacterial control as well as to prevent browning of the product over time. Nutrient powders may also be added to make up for the lost nutritional value caused by the earlier processes.
So let’s go over that….
- Company X grinds fruit or vegetable down to a puree. Heat step to keep it shelf stable and ready to ship to Baby Company.
- Baby Company blends said purees with their recipes. May add nutrient powders, emulsifiers or acids to keep it looking presentable.
- Usually another heat step here to make sure nothing is alive (remember, we have to kill the bad stuff….Oops! There goes the good stuff too.)
Ok, so now we have that pureed recipe of baby food company X. What next?
Then the puree has to get packaged. If it’s in a jar, it’s the same process used for home canning, which requires high levels of heat. But did you know that pouches have to be heated as well? This has to be done to kill any bacteria in the pouch, but again, it raises the temperature of the food. These pouches, while convenient, do contain compounds that might leach into the food under high heat such as BPA and aluminum.
So now you have your pureed heated mix according to the recipe for baby food company X. Then it’s put in a pouch. The pouch is heated AGAIN at high levels to make sure that there is no bacteria or mold in the pouch.
…. Pausing. We’re pretty far from those fresh fruits and veggies you pinned right?
So. Shelf-stability may help consumers know they’re getting unspoiled baby food, but by the end of it, fruits and vegetables have been turned into a kind of jam with no texture and not the best nutrition. (Ever wonder why your baby loves the pouches but doesn’t like the real veggies when you make them?)
Now, I want to pause here. We are all feeling pretty bad about those pouches and jars right? I mean, we didn’t paint the prettiest picture here. Because it’s not. BUT. I do want to stress here, there are moments that your baby is screaming or you’re in the car and the pouch really is the easiest option. And THAT’S OKAY. We don’t walk around in a perfect white onesie all the time, do we? We know there are times for the pouch, but just treat it as an occasional snack or dessert, not an everyday kind of thing.
How Amara differs
We look carefully at every single ingredient and source it the best possible way. That’s right. We don’t just use one co packer that hands us a finished product. We look at every ingredient and find the best process and combination for your little one. We don’t use additives; we don’t use emulsifiers or any of those funny fillers. We just do real food, real ingredients. We bring you the best possible baby food, without you having to chop and cook everything yourself. It's a difference you can see:
Imagine the fruits and veggies just without the water. Now that's a pouch you can actually feel proud of. At Amara, baby food is made better to taste better.
Get 15% off your first purchase with us with code:ONLYTHEBEST
USDA Table of Nutrient Retention Factors
Gupta et al 2013, Retention of nutrients in green leafy vegetables on dehydration; J Food Sci Technol 50 (5), 918-925.
How Long Does Baby Food Last After Opening It? How To Reduce Waste
I love buying baby food more than just about anything. The bright colors, the velvety purées, and the seemingly endless choices can keep me happily browsing the shelves until my shopping partner needs a diaper change. But no matter how meticulously I plan my grocery trips, I inevitably end up with extras that my baby doesn’t eat right away. It begs the question: How long does baby food last after being opened? Is it something you can save for later and feed to them the next day, or should you just toss it?
How long your baby food will last depends on a few things. For instance, are you saving veggies or meat-based products? Is it store-bought or homemade food? According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you can store opened (store-bought) fruit and vegetable baby food in the refrigerator for two days, but you should toss store-bought meat and egg products after one. Homemade baby foods can last one to two days when properly refrigerated. It’s important to check the packaging on every product, though, as the specific guidelines may vary depending on ingredients and packaging. Here’s the nitty gritty on the safety of baby food leftovers, as explained by pediatricians and baby nutrition experts.
How long does store-bought baby food last?Guido Mieth/Moment/Getty Images
“Unopened, most baby food should have 12 to 24 months of shelf life,” says Jason Jacobs, vice president of quality and technical services at Beech-Nut Baby Nutrition Company. Generally speaking, you can refrigerate opened store-bought fruit and vegetable baby food for two days, and opened store-bought meat and egg products for one day, per the FDA.
Keep in mind that storage recommendations differ depending on the packaging you choose. Those handy pouches? You should refrigerate baby food pouches within an hour of opening and toss them after 24 hours, no matter what they contain, according to Sarah Smith-Simpson, principal scientist of sensory and consumer insights at Nestlé Gerber.
Opened baby food should never be stored in the refrigerator if your baby has had any direct contact with it. The best way to save food is to spoon it onto a plate or bowl and let your baby take it from there. “If your baby’s saliva has touched it, then it should be thrown out right away,” advises Dr. Preeti Parikh, M.D., board-certified pediatrician and executive medical director at GoodRx. “The saliva from the baby's mouth can introduce harmful bacteria into the baby’s food,” she adds.
Remember, you can always check this stuff with your pediatrician — they're invested in the health of your baby, and foodborne illness presents serious risks. Many baby food manufacturers like Gerber offer 24-hour helplines, so if in doubt, give them a call.
You should also be sure you don't leave opened baby food out longer than two hours at room temperature, advises Jacobs. And if you're taking a picnic this summer, toss opened baby food after one hour if temperatures reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
How long does homemade baby food last?
“If homemade baby food is cooked and canned [or] sealed properly, it can last as long as 12 months in a glass jar [before opening],” Jacobs tells Romper. You can also store homemade baby foods in the freezer for three months. Once it’s been opened, the FDA advises using homemade baby food within one to two days.
The same rules apply to homemade baby food in that you should never save leftovers from your baby’s plate or bowl. Food that has come into contact with her mouth, spoon, or hands might harbor harmful bacteria that can flourish even in the fridge or freezer. “Leftovers should not be put back into the original container or stored separately in the fridge,” board-certified pediatrician Dr. Pierrette Poinsett, M.D., tells Romper. Leftovers should be thrown out.” Rule of thumb: If your baby has eaten directly from the bowl or jar, pitch the leftovers.
Can you freeze opened baby food?Shutterstock
If there has been no saliva introduced to the food, Parikh says you can freeze opened baby food. “Freezing temps allow less likelihood of bacteria growing, so you can store it for a longer time,” she says. “The most important criteria is that no saliva has been introduced to the food.”
However, Smith-Simpson does not recommend freezing store-bought baby food. “First, many containers and pouches that are traditionally used for baby foods don’t hold up if frozen,” she tells Romper. “Second, once frozen, baby food can separate and change textures.” If you are going to freeze baby food, do so by putting it in small freezer bags or ice cube trays. Do not use glass containers, Poinsett tells Romper, as “the glass can shatter, and tiny glass chips can get into the food.”
If you can't remember how long that tub of baby food has been sitting in the fridge — I know my memory is shot — err on the side of caution and throw it out. Otherwise, follow the package directions carefully or look to FDA guidance to let you know how long you can keep it around.
Jason Jacobs, vice president of quality and technical services at Beech-Nut Nutrition Company
Sarah Smith-Simpson, principal scientist of sensory and consumer insights at Nestlé Gerber
Dr. Preeti Parikh, M.D., board-certified pediatrician and executive medical director at GoodRx
Dr. Pierrette Poinsett, M.D., board-certified pediatrician and medical consultant for Mom Loves Best
Additional reporting by Mackenzie Sylvester.
This article was originally published on
How to store baby food?
Food plays a huge role in the harmonious development of the child. Mothers are usually interested in the selection of the first baby food long before the introduction of complementary foods. We will devote today's article to the rules for storing baby food.
We've put together some hacks to help you figure out how to keep different forms of baby food fresh.
Prepared baby food storage rules
For those who don't bother with cooking their own complementary foods, things are a little easier. Product features and packaging method dictate the storage rules:
• Dry mixes and cereals are designed for long-term storage provided the packaging is intact. After opening the pack, the shelf life of the product is no more than three weeks. Manufacturers recommend storing cereals and mixtures packaged in jars in their original packaging. If you purchased the product in a cardboard box or in a bag, it is advisable to pour the contents into an airtight container. Food grade plastic boxes are perfect. It is safe to store even baby food in such containers, as they are made of materials that are specially designed to come into contact with food. The container itself should be stored in a dark, dry place.
• Liquid and semi-liquid baby food (yogurts, juices, fruit drinks) can be stored for no more than five days from the date of its manufacture. An important storage condition is the temperature from 0 to 5 °C. After opening the package, dairy and sour-milk products should be consumed within a day. Fruit drinks, vegetable and fruit juices can be stored for up to three days.
• Canned food (mashed potatoes, pates, soups, cereals), depending on the composition, has a clearly defined shelf life. To prevent the product from oxidizing, after opening it must be stored in a tightly closed container. Opened baby food should be consumed within 24 hours.
Rules for storing homemade preparations for a children's table
There are two options for homemade preparations - use them immediately, or freeze them .
If we are talking about freezing, then there are several basic rules for the preparation of products:
• Fish products are frozen in a double mill, processed in front into portions of small pieces. Freeze more often in airtight boxes, resistant to low temperatures of the freezer. Meat freezing can be saved for about nine months, and ribna - only three.
• Vegetables and fruits can also be frozen in containers. In the freezer, the stench can lie no more than fate.
Defrost preparations for children's meals only in the refrigerator. Rizke heating can help the product of the greater part of the brown speeches.
Now you know all the secrets of saving a child's meal!
How much and how to store baby food
The type and quality of a child's nutrition in the first months and years of life determines his health and proper development. But getting quality products is only part of the story. It is important to know how much baby food can be stored so that its subsequent use is healthy and safe for the baby.
Breastfeeding is considered to be the best for a small child, but the mother cannot always be present, so it is necessary to store the expressed breast milk in the refrigerator. It can then be reheated and used for feeding.
As the child grows, various milk porridges, fruit, vegetable, and then meat purees, etc. are gradually introduced into his diet. the quality and type of food consumed. Therefore, the question of how and where to store baby food in a family with babies should be paramount.
You should carefully study the manufacturer's recommendations on the rules for storing products of this type in a sealed bag and after opening it. And strictly adhere to them. It is necessary to observe the term and conditions of storage of baby food only according to the instructions on the package. It is necessary to adhere to the instructions even if it differs from the recommendations of other manufacturers of similar products.
If there is even a slight doubt about the quality of yogurt or vegetable puree, it is thrown away without much thought so as not to expose the baby to the danger of getting an eating disorder or, worse, serious poisoning.
Breast milk should be stored after expression in special sterile containers. It can be kept in bottles, cups, containers or plastic bags sold in pharmacies.
Breast milk containers should be graduated, sterile and easy to use. A sealed lid is a must.
The shelf life of breast milk after expression at +19°C to +22°C should not exceed 10 hours. At +22°С - +25°С this time is reduced to 4 - 6 hours.
At +25°C and above, breast milk can be stored for no longer than 2-3 hours.
In the main compartment of the refrigerator, you can leave the product for 24 hours, and if it is frozen - up to 3 - 4 months. At the same time, the freezer door should not be opened too often and for a long time.
Porridges for breeding
The shelf life of dry cereals and mixtures is quite long if the integrity of the package is not compromised. When products were purchased in cans, even after they have been opened, mixtures can be stored in their “native” packaging.
If dry mixes or cereals are packaged in bags or boxes, after they are opened, the contents are poured into another container. It is better if these are food containers with a tight-fitting lid.
How long baby food can be kept open depends on the conditions in which it is stored. Usually this period is 2 - 3 weeks. But if the product becomes damp or lumps form in it, it is better to throw it away immediately.
When the appearance of the porridge does not cause concern, but it is known that the package was opened more than 3 weeks ago, it is no longer possible to give it to the child. In extreme cases, it can be used in baking if it is intended for an adult.
Powdered infant formula should be stored at a low humidity level, protected from light. Dampness is the biggest enemy of such products. The measuring spoon for dosing the mixture should always be dry. And the packaging must be tightly sealed every time. At the same time, they try to squeeze out the remaining air from the bag so that the dry product does not absorb the moisture that is present in it.
Dry baby food should not be kept in the refrigerator as it will quickly become damp and spoil. After cooking porridge, it can be stored for 1 - 2 hours, no more.
Where to store baby food in jars
The storage temperature of baby puree in a closed jar should be up to +12°C, and after opening the container - +4°C.
If this product is not refrigerated, it will keep for up to 6 hours after opening the package at temperatures up to +20°C. And when the temperature rises - up to 4 hours.
Even a factory-sealed jar of juice or puree should be placed in a cool, dark place. The product will deteriorate before the warranty period if stored at +26°C or more.
Once opened, puree can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours, provided that feeding is not done directly from the jar. Be sure to set aside the required amount in a cup with a clean spoon. The remaining mass is tightly closed with a lid and put on the shelf of the refrigerator. A serving of food that has been set aside is warmed up in a separate container, but do not heat the whole food jar .
If the baby was fed directly from the container containing the puree, its shelf life will be reduced to a few hours, even in the cold. This is due to the development of bacteria that enter the jar along with the child's saliva.
Baby meat puree can be stored in unsealed packaging for up to 1 day. Storage conditions are the same as for vegetable and fruit products. At the same time, it should be transferred from a metal jar to a dry, sterile glass container and tightly closed.
It is undesirable to leave meat products in the original jar after opening, even for a day. And in the form closed by the manufacturer, it is stored in accordance with the instructions.
Homemade cereals, purees and juices
This category of baby food products has the same storage rules as diluted cereals.
Cooked porridge is crushed with a blender until a homogeneous mass is obtained, and then rubbed through a sieve. During the cooking process, various microbes from the air enter it, so the shelf life of homemade porridge for a baby is very short. It is generally undesirable to store home-made food addressed to young children (maximum - 2 hours). Juice, vegetable or fruit puree will quickly become dark as a result of oxidation. Therefore, if the child did not eat something right away, the product should be thrown away, given to the most voracious adult family member, or frozen.
- Ready-made purees or juices are frozen in portions in small sterile containers with a tight-fitting lid or covered with cling film.
- Homemade puree can be frozen at -18°C and stored for up to 3 months.
- Ready meals can be kept on the refrigerator shelf for up to 6 hours.
- Do not freeze starchy purees (eg potatoes or peas). At negative temperatures, this substance will be destroyed.
Fermented milk products
Food prepared in a thermostat from sterilized milk is left in the cold for 3 days and stored in compliance with all standards. If the dairy product contains berries, fruits, juices, they are not subject to storage.