Neglect to follow these steps and you could feed your baby a substandard brand!
Choosing between the dozens of brands of Organic Baby Food is difficult and can be overwhelming! Many companies make all sorts of "claims" on their labels and some even makeup facts and flat our lie to you! If you follow these 7 tips - when you are comparing those little jars, it will make your choice a little bit easier.
Organic Certification Any organic baby food that you buy should be certified organic and have a certifiers logo or symbol on the label. It means all the ingredients meet the standards for organic foods. They have been grown without pesticides or herbicides and made without artificial preservatives, additives and sweeteners. BUT BE CAREFUL!! Sometimes food manufacturers will try to TRICK YOU into thinking that you're buying organic food when you aren't!
The First 3 Ingredients When reading an ingredient list, the first three ingredients are the most important. That's because they make up about 90% of the content of your food. With baby foods, there usually aren't a lot more than three ingredients. So this rule can be slightly different. But the ingredients are always listed in order from the ingredient that makes up the largest percentage to the ingredient that makes up the smallest percentage of your food. So - The main ingredient of that food should be the first ingredient listed. WATCH OUT!! Another Trick food manufacturer's do is put great looking, "Nutritional Information panels" on the front of the pack. These are UNREGULATED! Which means they don't have to be true! and they often aren't!
By filler ingredients, I mean ingredients that have NO nutritional value and are only added to increase the volume of the food (and give you less value for money!) Tip: Read the ingredient list. If anything is listed that isn't the food you are buying, they are filler ingredients. These ingredients should be avoided! Many things are used as filler ingredients to increase the volume of food, thus "watering down" the nutritional value and the dollar value. DID YOU KNOW?
Genetically Engineered Foods Do you know much about Genetic Engineering? I bet you'd be surprised to know that many, many items on your supermarket shelves are made with Genetically Engineered ingredients (including many we feed to our baby's!) Certified Organic Baby Foods will NOT contain any GE ingredients, however.... some brands simply call themselves organic and not "certified organic" by a 3rd party like the USDA so these brands are at risk of contamination!
Preservatives Any food that comes pre-packaged needs to have a preservative. So, yes - even organic baby food has some preservatives. Not all preservatives are created equal! Many are very dangerous chemicals and you should, therefore, avoid them, but some naturally occurring preservatives aren't all bad. Or the preparation/packaging method may be the preservative. Many "No preservative" foods are simply heat-treated and sealed in their packet. Treating food at high heats does kill bacteria but it also kills many nutrients and is therefore no better than most preservatives!
Expiration Dates Organic foods are good for so many reasons. One of those reasons is their freshness. When you buy organic food it has to be fresh, frozen or preserved with natural preservatives. (not with toxic preservatives!) However, the downside to this is that organic food doesn't last for years on the shelf as some non-organic foods do. (Remember: This is a good thing). All of those chemicals that extend the shelf-life of foods are the ones we're trying to avoid. So, when buying organic baby food, be sure to check the expiration date. Grocery stores are used to jarred foods lasting for a long time and may not be as diligent in removing expired organic products from their shelves.
Packaging, BPA & Other plastics The packaging your food is contained in is something you should think about. The chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) that is found in some plastics can be very harmful especially to babies. Almost all baby bottles, toys and other products made from plastic used to contain BPA. Buy only BPA free drink bottles, bowls, spoons, storage containers, etc for yourself and the entire family. Also, Avoid hand-me-down plastic containers as time and years of washing can make BPA and other Dangerous toxins leach out into the food at higher levels. Also, the metal lining of some foods, like baby formula, or tinned vegetables can leak dangerous chemicals into your foods especially after or close to the expiration dates. The safest way for you to be sure to avoid these pitfalls when buying pre-made food is to buy baby food that says their containers are BPA free. Also when buying plastic items for your baby, like spoons and bowls be sure that they are BPA free and recyclable! (And remember to recycle them when it's time to replace.)