Up-market baby food in focus

All baby foods are not created equal.
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  • Updated:23 Feb 2007

02.What to consider

  • Check the ingredient list – does it tell you all the percentage ingredients – or at least enough of them for you to see how much of the product is the food Feedingingredients you think you’re paying for?
  • Are thickeners being used? Check the ingredient list and work out how much of the product is the food ingredients you want and how much water and thickener. If it’s a rice product – rice pudding or vegies and rice – you might be happy for it to contain rice flour or ground rice, but otherwise, it may be unnecessary.
  • Baby foods are restricted in the additives they can contain — vitamin C is often added, to make up for losses in processing and it acts as an antioxidant. You won’t find additives such as preservatives, colours and flavours in any foods for babies under 12 months.
  • Do you want an organic product? Look for certified organic ingredients, and look carefully at whether all, or only some, ingredients are covered.
  • Don’t just be guided by the product’s name – compare the name to the list of ingredients. All the manufacturers make at least some products that are 100% fruit/veg/meat pureed, but it’s sometimes hard to know just by looking at the name. For example, compare Holle Organic apple (only 45% apple - the other 55% is water, pear juice concentrate, rice flour and lemon juice), with Heinz organic apple, banana & berries (99% fruit puree, 1% cranberry juice). They both sound like fruit purees, but in this example the Heinz variety contains far more actual fruit.
  • Concerned about added sugars or salt? Check the ingredients list for added sugars and the nutrition information panel for the sodium content per 100 g. Sodium should always be less than 100 mg per 100 g, but some brands and varieties do much better. Baby
    How do you want to use the product? If you want to put it under the stroller for a busy day out, a jar may be more convenient. But as a quick replacement for your own home-made dinner when your day is falling to pieces, a frozen or chilled product may be just what you’re looking for – the frozen and short-shelf life chilled products are as close as you’ll get to doing it yourself.
  • Dietitians have told us that babies don’t need desserts – fruit purees, yes, but desserts (like custards), no. So choose carefully and avoid desserts that are light on fruit and heavy on thickened water/juice/skim milk. A 100% fruit puree which you can use as it is or mix with yoghurt is a better option than most baby custards or yoghurt desserts.
  • Food safety is important for the whole family, but babies and young children are of particular concern. Properly processed baby food in jars, cans or shelf-stable packs is practically free from bacteria until you open it. But when it comes to preparing your own home foods or to chilled or frozen baby foods particular care to treat them correctly is needed. Carefully follow the instructions for serving and storing on the pack.

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