TOP TIPS IN CHOOSING YOUR BABY FOOD
Finding the Best Baby Food (without losing your mind)
We all want to feed our babies the best food we can, right? Whether you started with breast milk or formula or a mix of both, there is a point where your baby will start to transition to solid foods and you will have to find and choose the best baby food option for your little one. So when your baby is ready for baby food, how do you choose from all of the options? This short guide will help you out. We're total food nerds so we also published a baby food dictionary and a solid foods checklist from our nutritionist that are deeper dives into the baby food choices.
Here is a quick look into the choices you have when feeding your baby:
Real Food Ingredients
The very first thing and best thing to look for is real food. "Real Food" is a big marketing term these days so let's break it down. Would it be something you would eat if you were on a healthy diet? Look at the ingredient label. Are the ingredients all familiar? Are there a lot of preservatives and things you can’t pronounce or don’t know what they are? If so, it’s probably not the best option.
Make sure you pay attention to the order of the ingredients listed on the back (not on the front - that's marketing) too. On the back they have to be listed by the amount in the baby food, so if apple puree or banana puree is one of the first ingredients in a pouch that is touting vegetables, skip it. It's mostly sugary apple concentrate and not those vegetables you thought it was.
Don't forget that organic is a great indicator of quality too. But most importantly, give your baby whole ingredients that sound familiar to you and where the ingredient panel order reflects what you want to give to your baby. The best is always homemade but sometimes (life happens) and if you can't make it a home, learn to distinguish between the different types of baby food there is available in your supermarket.
The age of the baby determines how solid the food can be so that it’s safe enough to eat. The older the baby, the more solid the food can be. That’s why baby food is divided up into stages. The stage in baby food will generally be a number and will tell you how thick or thin the puree is. It’s important that babies be given stage-appropriate food, though it is okay to go to earlier stages on occasion for variety (you know your baby best).
With each stage, baby learns how to chew, to use a spoon, pinch with their fingers, and many other important skills in feeding. Make sure you are spoon feeding your baby too. By eating with a spoon, they develop important training and fine motor skills.
You have to ensure that your baby gets enough exposure to textures and flavors so they don’t become picky eaters. This is easily done by giving them lots of different and appropriate foods. It’s best to introduce new foods on their own at first to check for allergies, but once they pass that test, then you can introduce them to a variety of different vegetables, fruits, cereals and legumes. Also, it’s important that your baby sees you enjoying the food as well. If Mommy and Daddy like it, they’ll be a lot more likely to eat it.
Lastly, and probably most important: process matters. Make sure you understand what the manufacturer did to get those fruits and vegetables in the pouch or jar. In a lot of your traditional jars and pouches, it's a repeated high heat process that concentrates a lot of those sugars and turns them into more of a sugary jam. Read more about that unsettling truth here.
Choosing baby food isn’t so hard once you know all the options out there. Just follow these steps and let your child’s appetite be the guide for how much to feed them. Remember that baby is growing very fast and needs the best food they can to grow up strong and smart! Plus, always remember that it's an adventure. Some days your baby will eat all his food, and other days your baby may not be interested. Don't worry, it's all part of the fun.
At Amara Organic Foods, we offer simple, organic baby food with delicious combinations like Pumpkin & Pear, and even simpler ingredient lists like: organic, potato, organic, pumpkin, organic pear, touch of cinnamon. Simply add breast milk, formula, or water, mix, and serve! Watch your baby 'lean in" on healthy eating habits with Amara.
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