Sure, we here at mbg love to roast and puree sweet potato and hand-selected blueberries for our little ones when we can. But life gets crazy a lot of the time, which is why we're grateful that there are so many great baby foods on the market to make feeding our little ones easy, whether we're relaxing at home or on the go (we're looking at you, squeeze packets!).
In case you haven't heard: When it comes to nourishing your little one, you don't have to make everything from scratch to ensure it's as healthful as possible. New clean, nutrient-packed options when it comes to baby food are filling shelves. And they're not the bland, brown goop you may remember from when you were a kid—these delicious options are made fresh, brightly colored, and so good, just try not thinking, "Hmm, that would actually go nicely with a grilled fish."
When you're filling your cart, the most important thing to look for? Organic.
Why organic baby food is best.
Foods that are grown or processed without pesticides or synthetic fertilizer are considered organic. Non-organic fruits and vegetables often contain pesticide residue that you (or your baby) may then ingest when you eat them. Regulatory organizations like the U.S. Department of Agriculture work to limit the amount of pesticides on produce and in packaged foods to a safe level, but even so, many experts think it's important to do everything you can to minimize your baby's intake.
"Organic foods are important for little ones because their bodies are just so small. Any amount of chemicals or pesticides will end up more concentrated in their bodies," says integrative and functional medicine dietitian and gut health specialist Nour Zibdeh, RDN, who also happens to be a mom of three. She explains that organic foods have even been shown to contain more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Part of the reason the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are regulated is that there are serious health complications associated with them: One study indicates that children with higher levels of pesticides in their urine were at a 50 to 90 percent greater risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
"Non-organic" doesn't mean that your baby will be consuming unhealthy levels of these chemicals, but if you have the option to eliminate something potentially problematic from their diet—especially when organic baby food is more accessible than ever—why wouldn't you?
The 10 best organic baby foods.
So, you're convinced organic is best for baby, but what now? It's easy to be daunted by the floor-to-ceiling shelves of baby foods at the grocery store, so before your next trip, check out this list of the best organic baby foods. Whichever brand you choose, you can't go wrong.
Beech Nut knows a thing or two about feeding babies—they've been doing it since 1931. The company's newer organic line features a little something for everyone: grain-based cereals for the littlest eaters, fruit and veggie blends, and oat bar snacks.
Plum Organics is based in Emeryville, California, and popped up on the baby food scene in 2007. They have everything from infant formula to kid-friendly snacks. Their puree pouches are known for being some of the most affordable on the market, and they come in a wide variety of flavors.
Happy Family Organics
Happy Family was founded by a mother of two who was looking for healthy and organic options when her little ones entered her life. They have two different types of baby cereal with two flavors of each: oatmeal, and oats & quinoa Clearly Crafted Cereal and multi-grain and oatmeal, Probiotic Cereal. All are fortified with iron and sure to support your child as they grow.
Sprout Organic Baby Food
Sprout is a pioneer when it comes to organic baby foods. They were the first to put baby food puree in a pouch. Now we can barely remember the days before this convenient storage concept. They offer fruit, vegetable, and grain blends. Once baby gets a little bigger, they even have crunchy cheesy snacks.
Gerber Organic Baby Food
First, we have to pat Gerber on the back for warming our hearts two years in a row: Last year they selected their first baby with Down syndrome as their "spokesbaby," and this year they chose a beautiful little girl of Hmong descent. Second, we're so pumped that Gerber now offers organic baby food, including formula, grain-based cereals, fruit and veggie pouches and jars, yogurt blends, and snack cookies.
Amara Organic Baby Food
Amara is newer to the scene and offers something slightly different from the above options—powdered baby foods. These are great for travel. It's up to you if you want to add breast milk, formula, or good old water. Flavors include everything from potato kale to tropical mango.
Once Upon a Farm
Co-founded by mom of three (and one of our favorite celebs to laugh with on Instagram) Jennifer Garner in 2017, Once Upon a Farm offers pouches made with cold-pressed fruits and veggies to preserve all those beneficial nutrients. And just recently, the company announced it would be offering products to WIC-eligible families in Florida and West Virginia.
Want to make your own baby food?
We highly recommend any of these delicious and nutritious brands, which are guaranteed to supply your baby with essential vitamins and minerals. But when time abounds and your fridge is stocked, organic baby food can be made by simply using the three-step process below. To make life easier, "you can use frozen fruits and vegetables to make baby food," says Zibdeh. "These are typically picked in season and frozen right away, so their nutrient content is preserved."
The basic method you want to follow:
- Cook each item until it's soft (by either steaming or roasting).
- Toss ingredients in a blender and add liquid—either the liquid you steamed in or breast milk or water to start. As you progress, add in some fat like coconut oil, olive oil, or grass-fed butter, and herbs and spices.
- Blend, blend, blend!
Here are a few nutrient-packed DIY baby food recipes to get you started.
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