3/29/2016

About Baby Food - do you know what your little one is really eating?

I recently wrote a story for the Atlanta Journal Constitution about baby food. When I started the story, I was going to write about how the Happy Family company recently became the first company to sell baby food in clear pouches so that you can see what you're buying. After doing some research, my story changed. Baby food: Is what you see really what you get?

I was shocked to learn that companies like Plum Organics and Gerber use fillers like apple puree and apple sauce in their food. For example, the first ingredient in the Plum Organics Raspberry Spinach and Greek Yogurt pouch is apple puree! I (naively!) assumed that since it was Raspberry Spinach and Greek Yogurt that those were the ingredients.

I usually make Jacob's baby food, but sometimes I switch to store-bought pouches, either to give him new flavors and spices that I don't know how to mess with, or to give him purees that have a better, smoother texture than what I can make at home. (I worried about stuff like small seeds in fruits and husks on corn.) But the thing is, if I make his food, I'll write on the container "squash, peas, and carrots" because that's what I put in there.  If I buy squash, peas, and carrots from a baby food company at the store, I expect it to just be squash, peas, and carrots.

That's not the case with some companies. Now, I know if I had just taken a second to flip the pouch over and read the ingredients, I would know that. And trust me, I'll be doing that any time I buy baby food pouches in the future.

What really stinks about this is that, since starting solid foods, Jacob's had a couple bouts of constipation. After doing some reading online, I learned that the biggest culprits for baby constipation are the ABCs - apples, bananas, and cereal (or carrots) so I decided to try avoiding those, or at least limiting them, and offering Jacob new stuff.

The problem is, most of the new stuff that I gave him from a pouch contained apples anyway, even though it wasn't the name of the food on the pouch. (Like the Raspberry Spinach and Greek Yogurt.) So I was trying to avoid giving him apples, by giving him new flavors in store-bought pouches, and because I didn't read the labels, gave him apples anyway.

I will definitely be more careful about what I buy in the future. And I'm definitely going to keep making my own baby food!


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