I try to eat as much organic food as possible. We even grow our own little organic veggie garden in the summer, so we have awesome, delicious and safe veggies all summer. Nothing quite beats eating your own tomatoes!
If you’re going to feed your child baby food, I strongly recommend going for the organic brands. There is some really nasty stuff to be found in non-organic foods: pesticide residues, fertilizers, growth hormones, and antibiotics.
On top of that, jarred baby food is often chock-full of preservatives. Organic baby food, on the other hand, usually doesn’t have preservatives at all!
Also, anything labeled “100% organic” must, by both American & Canadian law, contain absolutely no genetically-modified ingredients.
It’s easy to see why going with organic food is a good choice. This nasty stuff is bad enough for us adults, let alone for our more susceptible children!
Let’s get something out of the way, though: organic vegetables & fruits aren’t necessarily more nutritious than their non-organic counterparts. That’s not the reason to go organic.
Eating organic is simply to avoid those toxic chemicals and genetically-modified ingredients. A lot of people also swear that organic fruits & veggies are tastier than non-organic, which is pretty awesome when trying to get your child to open up to solids!
Environmental Impact: Also a Concern
If you aren’t convinced to use organic baby food yet, this might convince you: every year, millions of tons of pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides are dumped into our soil, air and water.
Choosing to support organic produce is doing your part to reduce the amount of chemicals we’re putting into our environment. It’s easy to forget about all of this, but you have to remember how closely linked we are to our environment.
Demystifying The Labels
There are several certifications you’ll find on organic foods. They are as follows:
- 100% Organic: Completely free of all chemical fertiliziers, hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and genetic modification.
- USDA Organic: Same as above, but contains at least 95% organic ingredients.
- GM-Free: Not organic, but free of genetically-modified ingredients.
- Made with Organic Ingredients: Contains at least 70% organic ingredients.
Organic Baby Foods: Your Choices
There are several brands of organic baby foods on the market. Here are the main ones, and my opinion on them:
One of the best organic baby food brands out there, and readily-available in most box stores (but cheaper online).
Earth’s Best (click here to check price on Amazon) is really high quality and healthy. Looking at the ingredients label makes it obvious: for example, the “First Peas” food lists the ingredients as “organic peas, water.” I love it.
No added sugars, salts, artificial flavors, preservatives of any kind. This does mean, however, that you have to use it up within one day of opening the jar, or you should throw it away.
I like to taste-test all of my baby food, and Earth’s Best is one of the yummiest. I think that’s a pretty huge bonus!
The only downside to Earth’s Best is the price: most of them are about $1.25 for a 4 oz jar, or more expensive per oz for smaller jars. Still, this is an excellent baby food.
There used to be a concern of BPA in their lids, but as of Oct. 2011, they no longer have BPA in any of the packaging anymore.
Anyway, all things considered, this is an excellent organic baby food! If not expensive.
Plum Organics (click here to check price on Amazon) are really cool! Instead of jars, the food comes in pouches, and it’s certified USDA Organic, of course.
The ingredients list is exactly how I like to see it: just organic ingredients and no preservatives.
With these pouches, you just squeeze them into a bowl and serve. You’re not supposed to boil or put it in the microwave, and you should use it up within 24 hours of opening it, or throw it out (because there are no preservatives.)
What I really like about these pouches is that they’re super convenient if you’re on the go. You can just throw one in your diaper bag and not worry about it shattering in the bag, unlike glass jars of baby food. And being able to squirt it out onto a spoon, without even needing a bowl, is awesome.
There is some controversy on parenting forums about the product being labeled as “made in China.” However, this does not refer to any of the ingredients! It’s simply referring to the packaging, and in reality, 95% of food packaging is made in China.
The ingredients themselves are all US-sourced, besides the things which don’t grow here, such as bananas and mangoes, which are sourced from Mexico. It’s ALL organic and safe, though.
All in all, an awesome little organic baby food that I highly recommend!
Another pouch-based food, Happy Tot’s (click here to check price on Amazon) baby foods are the most popular on a few online shopping sites!
There’s no real reason to go with Happy Tot over Plum Organics, in my opinion. But I guess it does come down to personal preference. Some kids seem to like these more than Plum, and there are more varieties available.
The price is roughly the same, too.
The one thing I don’t like about this food is that you have to look at the ingredients label. For example, the spinach, mango, and pear food is made up predominately of pear. I mean, that’s not necessarily a bad thing to be eating a lot of organic pears, but it would be nice if they labeled the products according to the primary ingredients.
Really, I’d just go with Plum Organics if you haven’t tried either of them before, but you can’t go wrong with Happy Tot, too.
Peter Rabbit Organics
Made in Oregon, USA, Peter Rabbit Organics (click here to check price on Amazon) makes great organic baby food pouches.
These have no added sugars (which are sometimes used as preservatives) and not diluted with water.
Some people complain about the sugar content, but that makes no sense. The unhealthy sugars are processed sugars, not those which come from fruit, like that of Peter Rabbit Organics.
At one point these were sold at Starbucks, but I don’t think they are anymore. Can anyone confirm?
Unfortunately, like Happy Tot, the labels are slightly misleading. For example, the “pea, spinach and apple” puree is made primarily of apple. Any of the varieties that contain apple are primarily apple. It’s not a huge deal, but something I wish they didn’t do. Apples are cheap compared to the other stuff, so I get it, though.
Other than that, though, these are really good, natural and healthy baby food pouches!
They’re about the same price as the other pouches on the list, so it really comes down to personal preference. I really like the packaging, though!
Consider Making Your Own Baby Food
While buying pre-packaged baby food is really convenient, I personally love and prefer making my own food. There’s really no better way to know exactly what’s going into the food than by using your own ingredients and making it yourself!
Plus it’s a LOT more cost-effective. Organic baby food can run as much as $1.25 for a 4oz jar, which really adds up quickly. Buying your own stuff and making food is an awesome alternative!
It’s actually really easy, too.
The simplest way is to use a baby food maker; I wrote a guide on choosing them.
The Dirty Dozen: Foods to Avoid
What’s the dirty dozen? Nope, it’s not a rap posse.
It’s the Environmental Working Group’s list of the top 12 fruits and vegetables to avoid by the amount of pesticide residue found in them.
If you decide to make your own baby food, you’d be best to avoid any of these veggies if you’re not buying them 100% organic. Apples top the list, along with peaches, celery and potatoes. You can find the full list here.
Keeping Baby Food Safe: Some Guidelines
There are some guidelines you should follow when handling and using your baby food.
- Pay attention to the expiry dates on food. Most baby foods will have expiration dates in the far future, but you should keep an eye on it. This is especially true for organic foods, which don’t contain preservatives! If it looks funky or the packaging seems damaged, throw it out.
- To keep things as safe as possible, throw out uneaten portions of food. It might be okay in the fridge for a few hours, but if it’s going to go overnight, just toss it out. Bacteria from baby’s mouth will multiply quickly in jars!
- Never feed baby any home-canned foods. These foods sometimes contain bacteria that is no problem for grown adults, but not so much for the immature immune systems of infants.
- If you make your own food and freeze it, make sure to label it properly. In general, fruit or veggie-based foods should be used within 3 months of freezing.
- If you’re travelling with a baby food pouch that’s opened, always keep it in a refrigerated container.
Summing It Up
It’s definitely worth making sure you feed your baby organic foods, whether or not you buy them premade or make them yourself!
Personally, I like the idea of doing both. Make your own natural, healthy baby food while you have the time, but have premade baby food packets or jars for the times when you don’t have the energy or time to make food.
I’m personally really glad that more and more moms are realizing how important it is to watch what we give our children!
Do you make your own baby food? If not, do you stick to organic food? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments section below!