As a parent, feeding your baby is one of the biggest responsibilities that you will have to face. You want to make sure that every mealtime is as safe and nutritious as possible for your little one. With so many options out there, it can be hard to know what's best.
One of the most popular choices for busy parents on-the-go is jarred baby food. However, some people are concerned about the safety and nutritional value of these products. So, what's the deal with jarred baby food? Is it safe or scary?
What is Jarred Baby Food?
If you're not familiar with jarred baby food, here's a quick rundown. These are pre-made meals that come in small jars or containers designed for babies aged four months and up.
The meals are made from a combination of fruits, vegetables, grains and sometimes meats which undergo various processes like chopping and grinding before being sterilized - all in an attempt to preserve its natural freshness.
Jar red meat has been controversial due to cooking at high temperature compared to traditional methods but then again if preparing homemade we may lose some vitamins , put extra pressure on liver because more heavy metal exposure happens when cooking at home etc
The Pros Of Jarred Baby Foods
Let’s take a look first at why so many parents have turned towards this convenient option-
1) No Prep time- No boiling/steaming/chopping/cooking/grinding/mashing! Simply open up the lid and Pour it into suitable serving dish straight out of package or microwave according to instruction -done!
2) Portion Control- An average-sized jar comes around 60-100 grams making life easier while travelling/picnics etc where keeping bulk portion separately maybe difficult
3) Convenience - Welcome change over home cooked if parents working late nights-and stressed out. Easy, quick & hassle-free
It all sounds fantastic and easy-peasy -right? But well ,as our jaws chew on this let's look at the other side of coin.
The Cons Of Jarred Baby Foods
Here are some drawbacks:
1) Nutritional Value – Unfortunately, many jarred baby foods lose a lot of nutrition due to high-temperature methods used in order to preserve their shelf life. Thus one may have to monitor constantly if they're getting enough protein/fats from the manufactured food .
2) Additives/Preservatives - Jarred meals more often than not includes preservatives added as part of preservation. Not only is there evidence to suggest that these additives can be harmful in high doses but there’s also debate about whether or not prolonged exposure could lead to negative outcomes down the line.
3) Cost - Store-bought jars are a great convenience for sure but definitely pinch your pockets harder while collection rather than preparing at home specially when looking out for organic options
Jarred Baby Food Safety Concerns
A big concern with any pre-made food product is safety. This factor becomes even more pressing when you consider how sensitive infants' digestive systems can be.
While it is generally safe/generally recommended by pediatricians who endorse them,there still remains few areas which need attention
1) BPA content in packaging- Bisphenol A (better known as "BPA") is a chemical commonly found in plastic products and canned goods.The risk lies majorly because some types of packaging material unfortunately contain the presence of BPA which poses serious threat to human body ( brain development,hormonal imbalance being most vital)
So opt for those glass containers/prefer ceramic/non-plastic bowls etc .
2) Expiry Dates: Another reason; store bought jar contents preciously carry expiry dates which free us from any decay/deterioration harmful for baby’s delicate immune system
Be mindful to look out for expiry dates while storing the jars in your pantry.
3) Plastic Safety- In recent years, plastics have become more of consumer hazard and 'safety concern' due to plasticizer content majorly phthalates. One may not know whether it is BPA-free or not .
4) Manufacturing Changes – Manufacturing process upgrades are often ignored by commoners but do you realise this might affect preparation contents : changing ingredients/formula/proportions leading all together loss of originality?>
5) Allergies - It's also worth noting that jarred baby food can contain allergens just like any other pre-made meal - so be sure to read labels carefully
Homemade Vs Jarred Baby Food
Now let's talk homemade vs store brought
According to Dr.Gina Posner,a pediatrician in Orange County, California,’’ Eating fresh food is always going to be the best option ’’.
That being said , if parents choose jar meals they should ensure that each serving meal comprises health enhancers such as probiotic which helps keep digestive tract healthy / organic options/overall nutrient dense(justified documentation).
A study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood found those who prefer commercial foods :-
1- They don’t necessarily save time over preparing meals at home 2- Commercial productsare twice as expensive than if prepared at home, 3- Babies with "commercial" feeding were no different from their ‘homemade’ fed counterparts when it comes dentition developments.
So on weighing down both points we cannot ignore the fact either way;there still remains room for improvement and cherry pick according taste,budget,frequency,and overall feasibility.
As our little ones grow up rapidly-bottles will probably say goodbye after six months before we know-so isn't least bit important that babies are fed well richly with nutrients during this crucial phase of growth and development.
While some parents may prefer the convenience of jarred baby food, others might choose to stick with homemade purees or other types of freshly prepared meals. In the end, what matters most is that your baby's nutritional needs are being met in a safe and healthy way.
So keep calm jar ahead- make sure it’s checked &verified content as per wish!