How to Introduce New and Healthy Food Options
There will be plenty of time for occasional treats when your baby is an older child, however particularly in the two years when your baby’s tastes are developing, it is important for them to stick to natural wholesome baby food.
Babies tastes are different to adults. There is no need to season their foods with salt or high salt additives such as packaged stocks or sauces. Introduce your baby to foods without additives, preservatives or chemicals. When it comes to babies – natural is best!
Babies don’t need refined sugar and honey; neither should be introduced before 12 months. Your baby’s sweet snacks could include fruit or fruit sweetened baby yoghurt and baby custard.
Organic baby foods?
Certified organic foods means they are free of conventional pesticides, chemical fertilisers, hormones and antibiotics. However not all organic branded food are certified and are not necessarily healthier. Being organic doesn’t mean it will have no added sugars and salts, nor does it guarantee an appropriate balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It is important to note that there are plenty of foods out there that are organic but don’t have an ‘organic’ label – for example many cows in Australia are pasture fed not grain fed, and may be hormone and antibiotic free without being certified organic.
Making your own baby food
Homemade baby food is the most ideal. It means your food can be freshly prepared and nutrients retained. Homemade baby food can also have more flavour and a better texture profile than packaged baby foods.
Once you have progressed from single ingredient foods, using a food processor or mashing the family’s normal healthy meal is the simplest way to feed your baby. Just remove the baby’s portion before you add any salty sauces or ingredients your baby doesn’t eat yet.
Packaged baby food has been sold for generations, and is a convenient safe option when travelling or out and about. There is a large range of products available on the market for all different ages. Packaged baby foods generally do not have the taste, texture or nutritional qualities of homemade fresh food.
Avoid choking hazards
Whole nuts, popcorn, and over filling their mouth with food, should be avoided as they can pose as a choking hazard to children. Make sure your child sits properly while they are eating, and always supervise children when eating, even with low risk choking foods.
Food hygiene is particularly important for young babies. As any bottle feeding parent knows, sterilisation of bottles and boiling of water will greatly reduce the risk of a baby gastro intestinal infections. The same occurs when starting solids. Always use clean utensils when serving food. Processed baby food can be left unrefrigerated until opened, but chilled or frozen baby foods need careful handling. Follow pack instruction on storage and heating –always stir the food well and then test the temperature of the food before offering it to your baby. Discard uneaten food at the end of the meal.