Baby Food - Organic or Not

by Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers

organic foodDid you know that by weight, your baby will eat more, drink more, and even breathe more air than you? Not only is this a fascinating fact, it helps to explain that what goes in your baby's little body can have such a tremendous impact.

Organic food is a relative new concept that is just beginning to take off. It's founded on a "back to basics" belief that many people see as the solution to the unexplained rise in many health issues, including dramatic increases in serious childhood diseases. As examples, childhood brain cancer has increased in 50% since 1975, autism rates have increased at least 10 times since 1980, diagnosis of asthma is twice as common and childhood food allergies are skyrocketing. When it comes to pinpointing the exact cause of these health issues, many scientists point to a few common practices in the food industry. Namely, the widespread use of pesticides in farming, the use artificial ingredients in processed foods and the common dosing of livestock with antibiotics and hormones.

Organic foods offer consumers a purer choice in foods. Along with being free of pesticides, artificial ingredients, hormones and antibiotics organic foods are also of free of genetically modified ingredients, artificial colors or hydrogenated fats either. It is becoming a common understanding that organic food is healthier than conventionally produced foods.

When it's time to introduce your baby to wonderful flavors of food, we recommend that it be organic. Your baby's first two years are filled with rapid growth and development. In fact, your baby's body and brain grow faster during this period than at any other time. Healthy foods play a major role in your baby's developing body. In addition, babies are more vulnerable to environmental toxins, such as pesticides residues, and eating organic foods is proven to reduce the amount of pesticides found in the body.

Parents today have many choices in baby and toddler foods, juices, and snacks. The baby food industry is big business -- over a $1.1 Billion in sale each year. Not surprising, organic food is a major growing trend in baby food. This growing trend brings good news for parents -- more choices -- and not all of them are located on the shelf in the baby aisle of your local supermarket. Here's a run down of your organic baby food options:

  • Jarred organic baby food has hit the mainstream consumer. It is sold stores like Babies R Us, Wal-Mart, and your neighborhood grocery stores. The three major brands are Earth's Best, Healthy Times, and Gerber. You'll find these little jars in the traditional spot -- the baby aisle of stores.

    The big benefit to jarred baby is convenience with the major factor being no refrigeration required until the jar has been opened. However, these foods are quite processed, and as a result, don't have the natural smell, taste and texture that you may be looking for in an organic baby food.

  • Packaged frozen organic baby food is the convenience-twist on the homemade concept of the ice cube tray method of making baby food. Packaged in single serving cubes in disposable trays, companies like Happy Baby Food and Plum Organics, offer a variety of flavors frozen baby food cubes at natural foods stores like Whole Foods and Wild Oats.

    The frozen baby food cubes are simple to use, just defrost and go. The pre-portioned cubes mean very little waste too. Frozen baby food tastes just like real food, but the variety of flavors is limited and the price tag may be not fit your family budget.

  • Fresh organic baby food, from Homemade Baby, offers a selection of flavors available in the dairy case (usually located next to baby yogurt) in stores like Whole Foods and Wild Oats.

    Like frozen baby food fresh baby food tastes just like real food. It is slightly more convenient than the frozen cubes, because it is ready-to-serve out of the container. As with the frozen variety, flavors are limited and the cost is higher than the jarred options.

  • Homemade baby food is great option and less expensive than any other type of baby food -- jarred, frozen or refrigerated! If you think you're the only parent making your own baby food -- think again! A leading research firm estimates that as many as 62% of parents make all or some of their baby's food. You are definitely not alone. Making baby food offers an entire produce section full of variety, the freshest taste, smell and color and it takes only about 30 minutes per week.

    If you are new the concept, you may want to get the So Easy Baby Food Kit from Fresh Baby, this contains everything you need to learn the popular "ice-cube tray" method of making baby food.

Your baby deserves the best. So whether you buy it in jars, cold, frozen or opt to do-it-yourself, you don't want so skimp on food for your baby. It is just too important. Go for the organic!

Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers are sisters, the mothers of five children and founders of Fresh Baby. Creators of products that include the So Easy Baby Food Kit and Good Clean Fun Placemats; Fresh Baby offers parents convenient and practical support in raising healthy children. Visit them online at www.FreshBaby.com and subscribe to their Fresh Ideas newsletter to get monthly ideas, tips and activities for developing your family's healthy eating habits! Fresh Baby products are available at many fine specialty stores and national chains including Target, Wild Oats, and Whole Foods Markets.

Copyright © Cherul Tallmans and Joan Ahlers. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.