Top Baby Food Picks & Recipe Round Up

 

I’ve shared some of our personal stories with baby food before. The current and ongoing challenges we face with a toddler on our hands; and the obstacles we encounter outside the home.

But I may not have shared where all this interest stems from.

I guess you could say I had ever imagined myself buying store bought food. With all my studies in nutrition and numerous years of caring for other children, I pictured myself mashing up some quick freshly steamed fruits and veggies. That worked for a while; when we first started introducing solid foods to LEM at age 6 months and last until she entered daycare at 8 months. From then on, we’ve had to compromise on the homemade baby food and used prepared store-bought food instead.

While this was not the ideal for me and our family, it has given me new insights into healthier options that can be feasible for working parents and especially those that are nutritionally-minded.

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When I look for prepared baby food I try to pick brands based on the following criteria:

1.) Flavors that have a combination of vegetables and fruits rather than just fruits alone.

{If you’re just starting out introducing solid or pureed foods to your baby whether its homemade or pre-prepared, start with single ingredient options and introduce a new food every 3-7 days to help identify food allergies or intolerances should they arise}.

2.) Organic brands like Happy Baby|Tot, Plum, Ella’s Kitchen, and Earth’s Best.

The science is mixed as to whether that’s really necessary, but I say better to be safe, if you can afford it.

3.) Simple and limited ingredients.

I pretty much look at nothing but the ingredients, basically just pureed fruits and veggies. Often times there will be water added {to help everything puree} and also likely vitamins added to preserve the color and nutrients {vitamin E or tocopherol as an example}.

4. I tend to avoid whole meals emulsified into baby containers. If a baby is old enough to eat a complex meal like chicken pot pie or the like, then he|she is capable of eating it off a plate in small pieces with his|her hands or small utensils. Even with LEM’s recent independent and pickiness fits she is still offered the same meal Andrew and I are eating. The fruit and veggie pouches are used as a back-up if she doesn’t eat her dinner. On a side note, our pediatrician recently reassured me at our 15-month check up that I don’t have to worry about ‘enforcing’ the one family meal concept until she is between 2-3 years! Yay! She shared that’s when tots are developmentally capable of understanding that “this is all we are getting for dinner, there are no other options, Mommy does not run an open restaurant.”

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That go-ahead to continue with pureed fruits and veggies as needed has given me some relaxation and freedom when it comes to feeding LEM as well as a new appreciation for baby food. I like to get creative though when it comes to sneaking in these nutrients, especially if we are traveling, and just to continue to expose her to new textures and flavors. So rather than spoon feeding her or sucking it down straight from the pouch, here are a few of my favorite recipes that can use baby food in place of other pureed | mashed foods likes bananas, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, prunes, and applesauce.

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Pancakes

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Waffles

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Oatmeal

Smoothie

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Spaghetti Sauce

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Chocolate Protein Muffins

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Harvest Muffin

What are your favorite pros about ready-made baby food?

Do you have any interesting recipe ideas to use them?

xo,

Becca

Remember to follow me on instagram @TwistedNutrition for more photos and recipe inspiration.

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