The Truth about Commercial Baby Food
Most adults were once fed out of cute little jars with a grinning, toothless baby on the label. But what our moms didn’t know is that many of these commercial baby food companies add in a ton of water, sugar, salt and corn syrup—which depletes the nutrients. Even worse are the added thickening agents like flours and chemically modified starches.
A study published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest reported that in many cases your child is only getting 20 to 30 percent of the nutrients found in the fresh, whole version of the fruit or vegetable. For example, Gerber’s Bananas with Tapioca provides only 28 percent of the riboflavin, vitamin B6 and potassium per ounce than that of its natural counterpart.
Processed Baby Food & Allergies
Reuters Health just revealed a study out of the United Kingdom that correlated fresh, unprocessed baby foods with a decreased risk of food allergies. By analyzing the food diaries maintained by the parents of 1,140 infants, researchers found that the babies without food allergies were mainly fed fruits, vegetables, poultry and fish.
Considering that 1 in every 13 children in the United States has a food allergy, this is a huge finding. In 2008, the CDC reported an 18 percent increase in food allergy amongst Americans from 1997 to 2007. Could all the processed foods Americans ingest be directly related to the increasing rate of food allergies?
How to Safely Make Baby Food
Homemade food for your little bundle of joy may be much easier than you think. There are many whole foods out there that can easily be mashed up on the spot for a great meal. Try bananas, avocado, squash or sweet potato. You can also use a blender or small grinder to chop or puree veggies like cooked peas or carrots, greens, asparagus or broccoli and fruits like mangos, pears, peaches or apricots.
Foodsafety.gov reminds parents to never feed your child raw, unpasteurized milk, honey, home-canned food or outdated canned food. Some other tips include:
- Wash your hands and all equipment thoroughly
- Wash all fruits and vegetables
- To avoid cross-contamination, use separate cutting boards for produce and meats
- Be sure to cook all meats thoroughly
- Don’t store prepared meat, poultry or fish in the fridge for more than 24 hours; 48 hours for fruits and veggies
- Frozen food must reach an internal temperature of 165 °F before serving
- Do not defrost baby foods in water or leave them at room temperature to thaw
Remember, choosing organic means you’re avoiding loads of pesticides. Also, please follow your pediatrician’s recommendations for introducing foods to your child.