Every time I have a baby, I question the best way to feed them. I research anew every couple of years and find myself excited about my child's growth, but stymied by food issues in this society. What happened to real food? Good old wholesome nutrition?
Discussions about additives and labs and storage can be confusing, so I've created a list of the five questions I ask myself about any food I'm feeding my baby.
Are there artificial preservatives? Anything I can't pronounce is out.
Is it organic and/or non-GMO? Genetically-modified foods are relatively new, so my concern is that we won't fully understand their impact until later. For me, traditional plant-breeding techniques are preferred and I stick primarily with organics for the so-called “dirty dozen.”
How is it packaged? In general, I prefer glass jars due to concerns about the chemicals in plastic (even BPA-free plastic isn't great). You can always dump baby food into a silicone dispensing tube for easier feeding.
Where is the food sourced from? China has some of the most lax safety standards in the world when it comes to food production, and there have been multiple health scares surrounding food made there. We look for foods primarily sourced and packaged here in the United States and Canada.
What's the percentage of each ingredient? We've struggled a bit with food allergies and food intolerance in our family. Sidekick has outgrown most of his issues but still can't tolerate a ton of dairy, and I can only do minimal amounts of apple or pectin – an allergy I've had since childhood. So, if those ingredients are included, it's important for me to know what volume I'm dealing with. It's always so frustrating to see “apple” on an ingredient list and contemplate how much they mean. A tablespoon? A cup? The different is critical for me. We've partnered up with Beech-Nut and I was thrilled to see this CPSI article last week detailing the company's commitment to transparent labeling. They share the exact breakdown of ingredients in their products, and they've even partnered with the non-GMO project to ease parent concerns.
We're proud (and relieved) to have Beech-Nut in our home as our baby's first food. You can read all about their commitment to real food here.
What questions do you ask about your children's food?