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Baby food – home cooked versus prepared

Let’s be clear about one thing: home-cooked solids and convenience food are both healthy ways of feeding your baby. Home-cooked food is not necessarily better than convenience baby food out of jars or made up from powder. When you prepare your own baby food, you need to use selected foods in the right combinations. That way, your baby will obtain all the essential nutrients required for healthy development.

 

The advantages of convenience food

You’ve almost certainly asked yourself whether home-cooked or convenience food is best for your baby. Essentially, one is every bit as good as the other. Nevertheless, there are some reasons why convenience food might be better:

  • Convenience food is practically free from chemicals , as the legal requirements governing the production of baby food are particularly stringent. These requirements can only be met if, for example, the use of pesticides and insecticides is avoided as far as possible.
  • For babies enjoying their first taste of being spoon-fed, jars of baby food, such as NESTLÉ ALETE baby carrots, are ideal. Your baby will probably only eat very small quantities to begin with. So it isn’t worth the trouble of cooking it yourself.
  • Baby food in jars is practical and saves time and work. You can take the jars with you wherever you go.
  • The ingredients of most convenience products are such that your baby gets all the essential nutrients they need according to their age .

Vegetables, potatoes, meat: what’s important?

Preparing baby’s first meals yourself requires careful preparation and the right combination of only the best and freshest ingredients. Your baby will probably take to vegetables such as carrots, fennel, courgettes, cauliflower, broccoli or parsnips very well. To begin with, don’t change the vegetables too often. That will make it easier for you to see which vegetables your baby likes and can tolerate.

With jars of baby food, always read the label: a capital “A” indicates, e.g. with NESTLÉ ALETE baby food, that the product is allergy-friendly. Lean meat is a key source of iron for your baby. Other ingredients recommended for your home-cooked baby purées include fruit juices rich in vitamin C, e.g. orange juice, or fruit purées, such as NESTLÉ ALETE baby apple as well as oil. Rapeseed oil, with its optimal combination of fatty acids, is a particularly good one to use.

Cereals made into a purée with whole milk and/or fruit

A milk pudding is a nutritious way for your baby to follow a main course of puréed vegetables/potatoes/meat. Later on, you can also introduce purées that include wholegrains and fruit. Take a look at our article “A guide to nutrition in the first year of life”, to see which types of purée are suitable for different age groups. The table below gives you an overview of the ingredients we recommend you to include in your home-made purées. Naturally, you can also feed your baby with powdered, reconstituted baby food, as well as the baby food that comes in jars.

 

Ingredients for home-cooked baby food Note
Puréed vegetables, potatoes, meat 90-100g vegetables
40-60g potatoes
30-45g fruit juice/purée
8-10g oil 20-30g meat
Choose an assortment of vegetables. The purée should not contain milk.
Whole milk/cereal purées 200g whole milk
20g cereal flakes
20g fruit juice/purée
One type of cereal and one type of fruit are sufficient.
Fruit/cereal purée 20g cereal flakes
90g water
100g fruit
5g oil
One variety of fruit is sufficient.

 

Important: your baby now needs more liquid.

Introducing solids means that the food is more dense and generally contains less fluid. This means that your baby might be thirstier and need more to drink than just milk. Sugar-free drinks with a low acid content are the best drinks to quench your baby’s thirst. Still mineral water labelled as “suitable for infants” and unsweetened herbal and fruit teas, e.g. Bio-Fenchel or Bio-Kräuter tea from the “NESTLÉ ALETE