Jars of Baby FoodImage from Shutterstock

In recent years we’ve seen that jarred baby food isn’t always the most healthy choice. Some baby food has acid added to it, while others may contain GMOs and pesticides and if there’s rice in the mix, arsenic. Still, if you need another reason to skip jarred baby food add low nutrients to the list. New research from the University of Greenwich School of Science has found that many ready-made baby foods contain extremely low micro-nutrients and less than a fifth of the recommended daily supply of calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and other minerals. Thus far, the research is small, with few baby foods tested, but overall the results aren’t great. The researchers tested sample jars of baby food made by four popular brands (though the researchers didn’t name which ones) and investigated the micro-nutrient content, using an instrument called an Inductivity Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometer, which can analyze elements found in food.  Samples included meat and veggie baby food varieties, as well as one with pasta. What the researchers concluded, after testing the baby food was that a baby given one meat jar and one vegetable jar on top of 600ml of formula would not be getting enough calcium, magnesium, copper and selenium. In the research report, the university’s food science and nutrition specialist, Dr. Nazanin Zand, noted that clearly, jarred complementary baby foods, even when added to the daily milk supply, failed to meet the recommended daily nutritional needs of babies.

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Baby EatingImage from Shutterstock

Nutrient problems and other additives you don’t want your baby to have may encourage you to avoid jarred baby food, but there’s another good reason to skip jarred food as well. As we saw recently, a new study shows that finger foods may provide the best nutrition and developmental experience for your little one. This study points out that babies who are allowed to self-wean onto solid finger foods instead of having a parent spoon feed them, were able to better master skills related to self-food regulation. Proper food regulation, in turn, is linked to healthy eating habits for a lifetime. Still, if you want to feed your baby purees and mashes, a better choice would be to make your own homemade baby food. Homemade baby food is easy and you can make it as flavorful and as healthy as you like, with zero added preservatives or fake colors.