The DeLish Bite

Lindsay Evans blogs about food, entertaining and her favourite recipes for Green Living.

Go organic with homemade or store-bought baby food.

I just spent the weekend with our best friends and their babies. There was an adorable and boisterous one and a half-year-old, a sweet and inquisitive year old and an angelic 6-month year old.

The weekend was a wonderful opportunity to see, first hand, what issues and concerns moms are facing in the growing green revolution. It was interesting to see what solutions these moms have chosen that work best for them.

Since I'm not a mother - yet - I'm hesitant to call myself an expert in this field but there seems to be many questions and unknowns surrounding which foods are the best to feed growing babies. One thing is certain — nutrition is incredibly important to a child's overall development, growth, and long-term health. So obviously the choices you make are crucial.

Fortunately, there are many options available for new parents ranging from homemade baby food to store-bought baby food, including many brands that are organic. The best advice I can offer is to give each a chance and see what works for you and you your family.

Homemade baby food

Homemade baby food, using the freshest, healthiest and purest ingredients available, is often the best choice. But many new parents worry it might be too time consuming to make from scratch. In reality, most baby food recipes are quite simple to make and can be created using many of the same ingredients you cook with anyway. New moms (and dads) have some great resources out there to help, including baby food cookbooks, baby food cooking classes and easy to make recipes. There are even some delivery services that will make and deliver homemade organic baby food, such as First Food Organics in Ontario.

And there are some compelling reasons as to why homemade baby food is so beneficial:

  1. You have control over the exact ingredient your baby will be eating and you can be certain they are getting a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients.
  2. You create meals using the ingredient you know your baby enjoys therefore will eat more of it.
  3. There is endless variety and you can use local, organic and seasonal produce to ensure optimal freshness.
  4. Homemade food can be made ahead in bulk and frozen so you something to serve immediately during busier times.
  5. Making your own saves you money and produces less waste.

Store-bought organic baby food
Luckily, for new parents who might not have the time to make their own baby food, there are many wonderful organic baby food products now available in Canada. Although Health Canada strictly regulates baby foods and many of the ingredients are similar between products, they may vary in terms of calories and nutrients.

Always check the ingredient list on the container. Some notable frozen food lines include Sweet Pea and Healthy Sprouts. Both lines of baby food are made with certified organics and contain no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. Other good lines include My Organic Baby food, Heinz 100% Certified Organic Baby Foods and Cereals, President's Choice (PC) organic baby food and Earth’s Best Organics.

Go organic
Whether you make your own or buy your baby food, going organic is clearly the best. Experts recommend organic for the following reasons:

  1. Chemical free organics reduces the possibility of your baby being exposed to herbicides and pesticides.
  2. A baby's developing digestive system and kidneys are not fully developed so they are not as proficient at excreting harmful substances and toxins, which may circulate in the body longer.
  3. Babies eat two to four times more vegetables and fruits than adults so are exposed to a higher proportion of possible contaminants.
  4. Organic baby food improves the quality of the vitamins your baby is receiving.
  5. Eating organic ensures better quality ingredients and supports the development of organic farming.

On the menu:
Homemade Baby Food Recipes!
Simple + Delish Baby Food for You New Moms

Photo: iStockphoto.com/Viktorija Kuprijanova