Baby food jars: a healthy alternative to fresh meals?

Last update: June 2022

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As parents, you sometimes feel guilty feeding your baby food, assuming there’s nothing like homemade vegetable or fruit panade. But is it correct?

Baby food: canned or fresh?

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The ingredients in the small jars are sieved under high pressure to release all the nutrients in an easily absorbable form for your baby’s digestive system. The production is placed under strict control from A to Z. The preparation therefore preserves almost all the vitamins of the ingredients. Sterilizing the meal also eliminates bacteria. It is forbidden to add preservatives and colorings. The law obliges the manufacturer to report any addition of sugar or salt on the label. The amount of salt is also limited.

Many sources therefore claim that baby jars are as healthy, if not more so, than freshly made panade, but a survey by Test-Achats reveals that none of the 64 jars of vegetable panade tested contain all the nutrients needed by a 6 to 12 month old baby. This report was released on May 24. No brand offers the recommended 10 grams of added fat and that half has more than 5 grams of protein. Although there is no legal limit, it is preferable that panades do not contain too much protein, since milk remains the main source for babies. Too much could overload the kidneys and lead to excess weight in later life. Even more strikingly, 5 of the samples analyzed contain too little protein, whereas the lower limit is well and truly set by law, a protein deficiency being able to hinder development.

Test-Achats concludes that small industrial pots are a valid alternative when it is not possible to prepare a fresh meal, but in this case, the considerations listed below must be taken into account.

See also the article: Baby jars: better or worse than homemade?

A few things to consider

  • You can start feeding a baby jars or solid food between 4 and 6 months. The packaging always mentions the age of the target group.
  • The “click” you hear when opening and the aluminum foil of the lid guarantee that the jar has never been opened and that it does not contain bacteria. If the lid is bulging, air has entered the jar. It is better not to use it. Also check the expiration date.
  • Some meals combine different foods. Your child then becomes less accustomed to different tastes. In addition, food in small jars has a finer structure, which may encourage your baby to refuse freshly prepared meals afterwards. Alternate enough ready-made panades and fresh ones.

See also the article: When traveling, what food for baby?

Preparing the jars

  • Place the small jars in the microwave or in a bain-marie to reheat them. Mix the contents well and check the temperature before giving your child a bite.
  • Heating a small pot once is not a problem. The method of preparation is provided for this purpose and guarantees the nutritional value of the food. If your baby doesn’t finish the potty, don’t reheat it a second time. If you are sure that your baby only consumes half a jar, only reheat this quantity and keep the rest, well covered, in the fridge for no more than a day.
  • Add a teaspoon of fat to the small pot. Prefer a vegetable oil or margarine or cooking fat rich in unsaturated fatty acids.

See also the article: Baby food from birth to 3 years old

Sources:
www.test-aankoop.be
www.kindengezin.be
www.voedingscentrum.nl

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