As a nation, we like convenience, never more so than when we are doing our food shopping. We also want to feel like we can rely on brands, especially the big ones, and when it comes to feeding our children, trust is vital. However, a study last year exposed that baby foods made by some of the leading firms, including Cow and Gate, Heinz and Ella’s Kitchen have far fewer nutrients than consumers would expect and certainly fewer than homemade meals. The study also found that many contained high levels of sugar.
We shouldn’t be using any salt or sugar in a baby’s food as their system isn’t as well developed as ours and their little livers find it difficult to filter excess salt and sugar and the salt also dehydrates them.
Given some of the products are promoted for use from four months of age – a time when babies should still be on a diet of breast or formula milk, it is a little concerning. Also given what we now know about sugar and it’s lack of nutritional content its imperative we are giving our babies nutrient rich foods to help them grow into strong children and in turn healthy adults.
Good nutrition plays a vital role in the development of a healthy nervous system and is needed for energy release, digestion and growth. Babies grow at an astonishing rate, tripling their birth weight in the first year alone. As our brain is made up of 60% fat we also need to look at getting sufficient omegas and fats into their diets too.
Researchers found that babies would need to eat twice as much shop-bought food to get the same energy and protein as meals cooked at home. This is a worrying thought, but as a busy parent myself, I know that making homemade meals three times a day can be near on impossible.
Parents of course want to do the best by their babies once they start weaning, they want to know exactly what their little one is putting in their mouths but although convenient, shop bought baby food is obviously not the healthiest option and can actually be far more expensive too.
Honestly I thought I was going to a have a meltdown when James was ready to be weaned onto solids. I was so confused about what was safe and the amount of conflicting advice would make your head spin. The trick is to keep it simple. I used to make all the food on a Sunday and freeze it ready for the week. If I’m being honest this was after I tried to do it every day and became a crazed lunatic who was screaming about her entire day being taken up with a feeding a 6 month old. My friend very calmly just said lets just spend a couple of hours on Sunday doing it and calm descended upon the household.
Fill n Squeeze is an innovative food preparation system that promises to make children’s meals and snacks healthy, easy and cost effective in an instant. Having prepared the family meal, all you have to do is pop it in the Fill n Squeeze jug, prepare it using the masher provided, fill the pouch, and then squeeze when the time is right! The pouches can then be stored in the freezer or fridge and are reusable, saving time and money! Even better, this provides a fantastic solution for children with allergies or intolerances, as parents can customise meals and serve them in attractive pouches, children will never know the difference! It is €25 and available from www.cherishme.ie
Another great product from birth is the Babymoov Nutribaby Zen Food Processor. It has 5 functions; it warms baby bottles and jars, sterilises, steams, defrosts and blends. This makes great economical sense and saves you buying everything separately saving space and money. The Babymoov Nutribaby has 2 baskets to separate food groups and an LCD screen to easily manage the different functions. You can also chop at the touch of a button. €129.99 from www.Eurobabynursery.com
Finally Babypotz also do great pots in 10 different sizes to suit all your storage needs including freezing. From a 1oz/30 pot for a weaning baby, to a 24oz/710ml to store soup, they are great for the whole family. All the pots are BPA free and so safe to use in the microwave and place in a dishwasher. You can purchase in sets of 20’s, 30’s or 50’s the perfect amount for batch cooking.
Large Mixed Set €17.50 8oz Babypotz x 20 €15.50 www.Babypotz.com