To discuss this topic, we must start at the beginning. Commercial baby food first appeared during the depression era.3 It helped cash-strapped families provide nutritious meals for their kids and working families a timesaving alternative when more started working.3 Then, in the 1930s, Gerber introduced canned food and, a year later, was producing 2 million cans a year.3 By the 1950s, homemade baby food was considered time-consuming, unsanitary and old-fashioned by most parents.3
In recent years, however, parents are more concerned with additives and preservatives in canned baby food, giving homemade baby food a comeback. Homemade baby food may sound like a wonderful idea — you can control the amount of salt, sugar and even preservatives — but sometimes parents just don’t have the time. The added effort required to keep supplies fresh or frozen is hard enough! Homemade baby food also has the added worry about spoiling faster than your little one is willing to eat. Luckily, you can find good canned options at the store. Here is what to look for:
You may even find a hybrid system works well for your family. Blend the family's meals as the baby gets older. Your child then can be introduced to new flavors and textures to start building healthy eating habits. Plus, one homemade meal is much easier to manage, and, with the tips above, you can feel good about buying timesaving baby food at the grocery store.
1. Avena, N.M. 2018. What to feed your baby and toddler. Ten Speed Press, New York, NY.
2. Birch, L.L., and A.E. Doub. 2014. Learning to eat: birth to age 2 y. Am J Clin Nut. 99(3): 723S-728S.
3. Rupp, R. 2014. What’s best for baby’s tummy? The history of baby food. Natl Geo.
4. Hammer, H.C., C.G. Perrine, P.M. Gupta, K.A. Herrick and M.E. Cogswell. 2017. Food consumption patterns among U.S. children from birth to 23 months of age, 2009–2014. Nutrients. 9(9): 942.
5. Cogswell, M.E., J.P. Gunn, K. Yuan, S. Park, and R. Merritt. 2015. Sodium and sugar in complementary infant and toddler foods sold in the United States. Pediatrics. 135(3): 416 -423.