Shopping the right food for you and your family requires attention as well as a nutritionist’s advice. Greater attention should be paid when it comes to baby food. There are several factors on which what you choose to feed your baby depends. Your baby’s age, preferences, and doctor’s recommendations, all contribute to your baby food choices. Now, there are some general guidelines to consider when talking about baby food and that’s what we focus on today. In order to make sure your baby’s food is safe, you should take into account various aspects like the ones we’ve listed below.
Your baby’s age
The food your baby gets should change once your little one grows and develops. Different types of food go with different ages. Most baby food manufacturers label their products with numbers that correspond to a baby’s age. For instance, stage 1 foods are entirely liquefied and usually based on fruit and vegetable purees or cereals and are addressed to the youngest babies. Stage 2 foods are thicker and less watery and stage 3 foods are soft solids. You should keep your baby’s age and development stage in mind when shopping for food.
Many health care specialists and nutritionists recommend the consumption of fruits and vegetables and fresh foods instead of processed foods that contain all sorts of unhealthy ingredients. It’s just the same when it comes to baby food. Even if you use organic foods to feed your little one, you should be careful not only to the way those foods are produced but to their content as well. Try to introduce fruits and vegetables into your baby’s diet instead of going for baby foods that contain filler ingredients. Read the label on your baby’s food carefully.
Moreover, try to introduce one flavor at a time in order to be sure that there are no negative reactions. If there is an allergic reaction, you will be able to tell which flavor triggered it if you go for one flavor/ingredient at a time. Try to go for single ingredient foods instead of blends when you introduce a food for the first time. This is especially important when it comes to introducing common allergens such as eggs, nuts, fish, wheat, and milk. Feed your baby that food for several days in order to make sure that your little one tolerates it.
There are several foods that should not be used to feed your baby or to prepare homemade food for your child. They include:
- Honey – this food may increase your baby’s risk for botulism.
- Outdated canned food – needless to say, make sure the food you serve to your child is fresh or it hasn’t reached its expiry date.
- Foods from leaking, rusted or bulging jars. Don’t use foods that come from jars that have no labels either.
- Dairy products made from unpasteurized, raw milk as they may contain bacteria that can lead to serious illnesses.
As with any food you buy, be it for you or your baby, you should first make sure that it is fresh and there is an expiry date written on the label. Check the food jar for breaks or leaks before using it. Baby foods usually last for quite some time before they are opened. Once you open them, though, it is recommended to use the foods within 24 hours of opening. If you can’t consume all the content of a jar in a day and you want to save it for later, you can refrigerate it. Read the label on the food to see if that product can be refrigerated. Follow the instructions mentioned on the label in order to store it properly.
Uncooked and even cooked foods should not be left on the counter at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. Then, the food you’ve cooked for your baby should be kept in the refrigerator for no longer than 48-72 hours before being used or frozen.
DIY baby food
If you’re more into fresh food for your little one, you can easily make your own baby food. You will thus know what ingredients are used and you can also save money. Ask for a pediatrician’s or a nutritionist’s advice if needed. There are also many websites that offer recipes and methods to prepare food for your child.
Make sure the food you want to prepare is fresh and that both the method and the ingredient you use are safe for your child. You can also use frozen or canned foods as long as they have been made and stored properly. If you use processed foods, make sure they come with no added sugar.
Before starting to prepare the food, wash your hands thoroughly and do the same with all the utensils, pans, pots, countertops, food processors/blenders, and cutting boards you use. You can even go for an anti-bacterial soap (it can be a natural one if you’re not into commercial cleansers). It is best to use a cutting board solely for fruits and vegetables and another one solely for meat preparation. You will thus avoid cross-contamination. Plus, wooden cutting boards are safer to use than plastic. It is easier to cleanse bacteria from wooden cutting boards. Wash the fruits and vegetables even if you use them with their skin.
A great advantage of preparing food for your baby is that you are in control of the ingredients and amounts used. You can thus choose the healthiest ingredients available on the market and get the best for your baby.
Organic baby food
If you can’t make food for your child and you rely on the baby foods you find in stores, one great option in order to make sure you get the healthiest version of them is to buy organic food. You can also find pre-made organic food at health food stores. Go for those foods that adhere to federal guidelines and are safe to use.