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A baby in a white high chair, mouth open as an adult in the foreground feeds them from a green spoon
Health, Nutrition, Parenting, Recipes

Homemade or Store-Bought: Which Baby Food is Best?

A baby in a white high chair, mouth open as an adult in the foreground feeds them from a green spoon

We all want the best for our babies, and what we’re feeding them is a huge thing to consider. There is a ton of information online regarding baby food, and one of the most common topics is: should it be homemade or store-bought? A growing number of parents prefer making their own baby food at home for a number of reasons. First, it allows you to control what goes in it, reduces the amount of preservatives, and you can avoid allergens. Another benefit is that your child becomes used to foods that are common to your household, incorporating them into family meals. Homemade food also can have more nutrients, since it’s processed less, but it’s recommended to steam or microwave the ingredients to keep the most nutrients.One downside, of course, is that this takes time. Many parents are already balancing jobs and caring for their babies, so it might be difficult to find time to consistently make baby food. Homemade food also doesn’t have to meet the same quality standards the FDA sets for store-bought food. Also, storage is more difficult, and parents should make sure they know how to properly store homemade food to avoid bacteria growth. One recommended practice is to transfer the food to ice cube trays, and then put the cubes in baggies. However, don’t keep it frozen for more than a month, and only reheat to room temperature when it’s time to eat, not before.Of course, it isn’t like store-bought food is “bad” for your baby. In order to be sold in stores, it has to meet strict safety guidelines set by the FDA. It’s also convenient, in that it’s already made, and it’s portable, adding to the convenience. There may also be greater variety of fruits and vegetables in store-bought brands, since they’ll be available even when the fresh equivalents aren’t in season. However, it’s important to check labels on store-bought food, since you’ll want to consider the amount of salt and sugar your baby is eating. It’s also more expensive, and since it produces more waste, it’s less environmentally-friendly. Also, when the food is produced, companies typically use excessive heat to kill bacteria, which can also dull nutrients in the food.Overall, there is no solid “right” answer for which is better. They each have pros and cons, and it’s up to you as to which you prefer. If you have a busier lifestyle, you might prefer the convenience of store-bought food. If you want to control exactly what your baby is eating, the homemade route might be for you. Just tailor it to your needs, and you’ll be on the right track!

Category Health, Nutrition, Parenting, Recipes
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