With a full gourmet spectrum of options of baby foods on the market, how do you choose foods that are nutritious and safe?
First foods usually include a cereal, such as rice cereal, mixed with some water, breast milk or formula. This is usually followed by the introduction of single mashed or pureed fruits, such as bananas, apples or pears. When purchasing any baby food product, read labels in order to be sure that you are avoiding preservatives, artificial flavors and colors, unnecessary salt and sugar, and fillers. The organic baby food market is booming and it is easy to find a number of organic brands of baby cereal and jarred food available at most supermarkets.
An alternative or addition to purchasing prepared baby food is to make your own by mashing, steaming and pureeing fruits, vegetables and even meats. This is an easy way to know your baby is eating food that is fresh and free of non-essentials. A batch of pureed baby food can be prepared then frozen into individual servings that can be used throughout the week. Your baby will have his or her favorites; experiment before making a huge batch of food that will go uneaten.
The big thing you want to avoid whether purchasing baby food or produce so that you can make your own is pesticide residue. Certain foods are known to carry a high pesticide load; these include apples, peaches, spinach, green beans and pears—all of which are popular baby food choices. To protect your baby from ingesting synthetic pesticides, choose certified organic produce. For more info, check out this list of the top 10 foods to eat organically.
Delaying the introduction of solid foods until baby is 6 months old is recommended in order to allow better development of the digestive system.
And always use caution when using canned baby formula, as it has been found to contain dangerous chemicals.
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By Terri Hall-Jackson, Care2 Green Living contributing writer