Top Tips: Buying healthy food for your baby
Picking the right food to start your baby’s weaning process is often confusing and overwhelming. With hidden sugars and misleading labels, you may find yourself unknowingly feeding your young ones products that are lacking nutrients, calories and vegetables. We teamed up with The First Scoop to give you our top tips to help you feed your baby only the best!
Labels can be confusing when it comes to knowing exactly what makes up your baby’s food. Ambiguity around the exact percentage of ingredients in a product can also be misleading. As a guide, the largest quantity ingredient will appear first and then rank in descending order. To avoid feeding your baby overly sweet purees, try to stick to food pouches that clearly display what’s in in your baby’s food such as Babease’s ingredient wheel which clearly shows the break down of each recipe.
2. Vegetable led recipes
Try to focus on introducing as many vegetables to your baby palate as possible during the first stage of the weaning process. Most food pouches tend to have a higher concentration of fruit in order to make them more palatable. This can often result in babies becoming too familiar with sweet tasting ingredients and consuming consuming almost double the amount of sugar than in vegetable led pouches.. Studies have shown this also causes difficulty when developing babies’ savoury palate later down the line. Look for food pouches that join a variety of vegetables and include more bitter-tasting vegetables, such as broccoli or kale.
Some people often wonder if ‘organic’ is merely a marketing term used to increase food sales but foods labelled certified organic are free from pesticides, chemicals and synthetic fertilisers which babies can often be sensitive to. However, European Union organic food regulations do allow a 5% leeway of pesticides in organic farming so it is important to always wash or peel fruits where necessary.
4. Water Content
Water is often added to baby food and is not always explicitly shown on the label. While coconut water adds extra nutrients, as well as containing lauric acid which is also found in breast milk, plain water can often dilute the purée resulting in lower energy density and fewer nutrients. Try to buy pouches that don’t include too much added water, and therefore more nutrient dense.
5. Calorie Content
Similarly, diluting the wholesome ingredients of the purée can often lead to calories being significantly reduced resulting in hungry babies. On average, commercial baby food only has around 59 calories per 100g pouch. However, you should try to feed your baby around 70 calories per 100g pouch to make sure they have a substantial meal.
At 6 months, babies can become susceptible to intolerances. When you start the weaning process, try to introduce foods such as peanuts, gluten and dairy in small dosis to both prevent intolerance, and to make sure that you know exactly what foods are triggering a reaction if there is any intolerance. Alternatively, stick to food pouches that are free from dairy and gluten.
See more from The First Scoop here.