If you’re a new parent or a been-there-done-that parent, it’s never too late to start your babies down the path of healthy eating.
Keeping them away from sugary and processed baby food can ensure you’re setting them up with a healthier immune system and helping to ingrain in them nutritious eating habits. And, a benefit for all of us, healthier foods usually mean a more sustainable way of producing them.
Keep Babies Away From Fruit Juices
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that parents think twice before giving fruit juice to their kiddos.
In a statement put out in 2017, the AAP concluded that fruit juice offers “no nutritional benefits for infants younger than 1 year.” Basically, the AAP is telling parents to avoid juice and, instead, introduce fresh fruit to your little ones as soon as they’re able to eat them. The AAP explains that fruit juices are filled with sugars that aren’t beneficial to growing bodies, or any bodies for that matter. They can cause diarrhea, excessive weight-gain, and dental cavities.
“Families should be educated that, to satisfy fluid requirements, human milk and/or infant formula is sufficient for infants and low-fat/nonfat milk and water are sufficient for older children,” according to the AAP recommendations.
Make Your Own Baby Food
When baby is ready for first bites, many parents choose to make their own baby food. You can ensure that only what you want will be going into your sweet baby’s body.
Pureeing whole foods allows you to control the ingredients and the texture of the food you’re making. You can thin purees by adding breast milk or formula. And, as your baby gets more teeth, you can make the texture chunkier. Buy organic produce whenever possible. My go-to guide for produce is the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.
I kept a food journal when my girls were little to record all their bites. This helped me remember any reactions and foods they loved to eat. Here is a puree recipe that passed the taste test for both of them. As always, consult your baby’s pediatrician for specific food recommendations. For example, our doctor recommended starting off one food at a time then gradually introducing new foods.
Recipe: Organic Root Vegetable Baby Food
Use organic root vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, and so on for this easy-to-make baby food.
- Steam vegetables for 20-40 minutes (begin checking after 20 minutes for desired tenderness). Or, roast veggies in the oven at 400 degrees F for 30-60 minutes.
- Rub off skin and trim off root.
- Puree in a food processor or blender and add water, breast milk, or formula as needed for desired consistency.
More Baby Food Recipes
Healthline offers 21 baby food recipes, grouped by recommended age, along with baby feeding guidance.
Short on Time? Try These Ready-Made Options
White Leaf Provisions
This family-run organic baby food company takes the stress out of feeding your baby. White Leaf offers 100% U.S. regeneratively grown, biodynamic, organic, and GMO-free baby food. That mouthful means they not only keep your baby’s nutritional needs and tiny taste buds in mind, but they also care about a healthy Earth for your baby’s future.
White Leaf cares deeply about the environmental impact their product makes. They have partnered with TerraCycle to recycle their packaging with hopes to develop packaging that is completely compostable and recyclable.
Happy Family Organics
Founded by a mother of two, Happy Family features organic food for babies, starting with formula through baby cereal and pureed fruits, veggies, and nuts. Happy Family also offers healthy snacks and meals for toddlers and healthy snacks for kids age 3 and older.
The company also promises that 100% of its packaging will be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025.
Sprout Organic Baby Food
Sprout, started by a group of friends who wanted to create organic baby food products, was the first company to put baby food in a pouch. They offer fruit, vegetable, and grain blends including purees made with bone broth. In addition, Sprout also has a line of organic toddler snacks.
In early 2019, they teamed up with Partnership for a Healthier America to help combat childhood obesity. They have pledged that “at least 50% of Sprout pouch purees have a vegetable as the first ingredient and will continue to ensure that 100% of our pouches contain no added sugars.”
Gerber Organic Baby Food
Gerber, founded in 1927, now offers an organic option, like fruit and veggie pouches and jars, yogurt blends, grain-based cereals, and snack cookies. Just look for the organic and non-GMO seals on the packaging.
If you find yourself with a collection of used baby food containers, you can always upcycle them. To get you started, here are 10 Ways to Upcycle Baby Food Storage Containers.
Originally published on September 25, 2019, this article was updated in August 2021.