I have recently become a new mother; well 4 and half years strong. I knew from the get-go that when the weaning stage came along, I would only give my babies homemade baby foods because healthy eating should not just be limited to adults and older children. The early stages of development are crucial to the health and well-being of infants, and the move towards solid food presents the perfect opportunity to introduce little ones to foods that are rich in natural goodness to help with this. After getting into conversations with a few friends with babies, I realized that most parents have no clue about the dangers of store-bought jarred baby foods.
For most parents, it is a convenient alternative to the popular Pap / Tombrown or amala and ewedu especially for those who go to crèche at an early stage. But Isn’t it ironic that as adults, we put a lot of thought into what we eat? Most of us generally prefer home-cooked food over store-bought readymade meals/ microwavable meals, not only because it tastes better but as consumers, we are realizing that we are exposing ourselves to fewer additives, high fat, salt as well as sugar contents by rather making the food at home from scratch. All too often, however, we forget to apply the same caution when it comes to choosing store-bought over homemade baby purees.
Although I have had some friends turn up their noses at me, “first baby syndrome” “you go taya” others were interested in finding alternatives. It is so crucial that we understand what our children’s taste palette is introduced to at a tender age set the tone for years to come. So is it convenience or sheer ignorance?
One of the biggest problems with store-bought jarred food is that it is designed to be able to last on the shelves in grocery stores and supermarkets for up to 2 years. Preservatives and additives are added in other to make the food stay fresher for longer on the shelves. Unhealthy fats are also added instead of natural oils, to further extend its shelf life, in addition, it also needs to be heated to maximum temperatures to ensure that it is not contaminated after months on the shelf, along with with this heating process all vitamins and nutrients are killed off. To cut costs the food is also often replaced with water or thickening agents/ starches like refined rice, refined corn, and refined wheat. Another problem is the exposure to plastic containers increases the risk of toxins such as BPA.
However, when it comes to homemade baby food, all listed above can be avoided. Homemade baby food is either steamed, baked, or blended raw for baby to eat immediately or store in the freezer for future use. This means that all the natural nutrients found in the fruits, vegetables, meats are intact, so is the taste, color, texture, and even the aroma. Many fruits and a variety of vegetables can be consumed by a baby in its raw form, babies can benefit from the raw foods without losing any nutrients during the preparation.