Baby Food

All about store-bought and homemade baby food

Not all baby food is created equal. Given the importance of vitamins, minerals and nutrients in helping your baby develop physically and intellectually, selecting quality baby food is extremely important.

At the end of the day, you have two choices: purchase ready-made baby food, or feed your child homemade baby food. If you want to buy pre-made products, you should consider the merits of organic baby food. If you want to make your own, you'll need to track down baby food recipes that deliver both great taste and plenty of nutritional value.

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Store-Bought vs. Homemade Baby Food

Many ready-made products are fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients. Organic baby foods that are made from 100 percent natural ingredients are becoming very popular with parents, and classic brands like Gerber baby food are now offering organic alternatives. You can also get organic baby formula, if you prefer it. While organic baby food is typically more expensive, you can cut costs by using baby food coupons whenever possible.

Canning your own baby food allows you precise control over the ingredients you do and do not use. If, for example, you want to feed your child soy-free baby food, making your own will free you of the need to spend time reading labels at the supermarket. Make sure to run the finished product through a baby food grinder to ensure it has an even consistency that will be easy to swallow.

Regardless of whether you buy canned baby food or make your own, you should be aware of the link between baby food and diaper rash. Acidic foods, including citrus fruits, tomatoes, strawberries, pineapples, grapes and raisins can trigger an outbreak of diaper rash, as can sensitivity to the proteins found in wheat, dairy, soy and legumes.

Baby Food Storage

Proper baby food storage is essential to prevent food poisoning. When storing baby food in the refrigerator or freezer, always make sure to put it in an airtight container, and do not store baby food on the door of the fridge or freezer – the temperature is always lower there. Instead, place it deep inside the appliance, on a shelf.

As a general rule of thumb, meats and eggs you've prepared will stay good in the fridge for one to two days or will keep for one to two months in the freezer. Cooked vegetables and fruits are usually okay for up to three days in the fridge and three months in the freezer.