Picking the right baby food can be overwhelming! We all want easy, healthy and realistic baby food but finding that can be tricky. Let’s start narrowing it down.
When it comes to baby food you have 2 options.
Option #1: Make your own.
It’s a great option for many but for many of us it’s just not realistic in our current stage of life.
We sold our house last week and we are now living full-time in an RV. My new kitchen is tiny and honestly I’d rather spend my free time playing outside with the kiddos rather than making DIY baby food anyway. So that brings us to option #2.
Option #2: Buy your baby food.
While this option sounds super easy it also has its challenges – a quick walk down the baby food aisle and you’ll soon realize there are way too many choices and not all are created equal. How does one choose?
Here’s how it normally goes…
- First, you figure out what stage your baby is in.
- Next, you arbitrarily determine a brand and choose a flavor you hope your baby will like, or at least learn to like.
- Lastly, you hold your breath and hope that you selected a healthy option.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s walk you through how to narrow down your choices and come up with the best food for your baby.
1. How to Read a Label
Before you throw baby food in your cart, flip it around and check the label. Double check what you’re about to feed your baby. Just cause something says the word “natural” on the front doesn’t mean they didn’t also sneak in some questionable, hard to pronounce ingredients.
A great rule of thumb is to only buy baby food if you can pronounce and recognize all the ingredients. If you were making your own baby food is that an ingredient you would find in your kitchen?
My favorite baby foods have very few ingredients. In fact when my little guy first started on baby food, I chose 1-ingredient baby foods and only introduced one a week to make sure that he wasn’t allergic to anything.
2. Should You Buy Organic?
Yes and no. Here’s what you need to know, while organic remains a great choice it’s good to know that many conventional brands are low in acceptable levels of contaminants as well.
I love purchasing organic food but even still you still want to check the label and read through the ingredients.
3. Avoid Toxins and Heavy Metals
Now this is the part where it gets a little tricky.
Things like heavy metals, pesticides, antibiotics, etc might be in a product but you won’t find them printed on the ingredient list – yuck!
So what do you do? You have two options.
- Randomly guess and hope for the best – probably not the best option, haha!
- Make an informed decision by quickly scanning through the CLP Magnified List, Baby Food. The Clean Label Project did the hard work for us and 3rd party tested over 600 products! The concerning news is, only 20% of the baby and toddler foods made the list – products scientifically determined to contain the lowest acceptable levels of potentially harmful contaminants. So definitely check them out before you go shopping.
Here’s a sneak peek at what the CLP Magnified List, Baby Food reveals:
- Only one toddler snack made the list, largely due to arsenic levels in rice-based snacks.
- 80 percent of infant formulas and 60 percent of meat and dairy baby food jars tested contained detectable antibiotic residues.
- 33 percent of jars and meals tested had detectable pesticide residues.
- 15 percent of all products tested exceeded the FDA/EPA drinking water limit for arsenic, some by at least 20 times as much.
- Heavy metal impurities were found in both organic and non-organic products. Organic certification regulates the food production process, not finished products. CLP tested finished products off grocery store shelves for 130 contaminants, including heavy metals.
- Price is not an indication of purity.
I’m so thankful for this resource, they did all the hard work for us so we can quickly scan and make informed choices on what we feed our little ones!
4. You Know Your Child Best
Just because a product says 4+ months doesn’t mean your 4 month old has to be eating it. Every kid is different. My son didn’t start taking an interest to food until he was eight months while most little ones are ready sooner than that.
Just because your friend Sally’s little guy was eating x, y, z at 6 months old, doesn’t mean your 6 month old has to, too. Trust your instincts – you know your child best.
Good luck in the baby food aisle! Don’t forget to print this list to help you make your decision healthy and headache free!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Clean Label Project . The opinions and text are all mine.P.S. Are you looking for extra side income? I make over $85,000 a year blogging part-time—check out this easy step-by-step tutorial on how start a blog (no tech knowledge required).