Did you know that baby food jars have half the goodness of homemade meals?
Baby foods made by firms including Cow & Gate, Heinz and Ella's Kitchen have far fewer nutrients than homemade meals, according to a new study.
Many contain high levels of sugar and some are promoted for use from four months of age – a time when babies should still be on a diet of breast or formula milk.
Babies would need to eat twice as much shop-bought food to get the same energy and protein as meals cooked at home, researchers found.
Making your own baby food is easy so why not have a go at making your own baby food. To see some great baby weaning recipes visit our recipe pages today.
Did you know that many of the behaviours or habits we have as adults may have come from the experiences we had during the early years? This includes our eating habits and preferences for certain foods. You can help your baby become a healthy adult by providing a range of healthy foods and by following your child’s cues when weaning. See our top tips to inspire your baby’s eating habits.
The study, from the department of human nutrition at the University of Glasgow, said many weaning foods "would not serve the intended purpose" of giving a baby extra nutrients or a range of tastes and textures.
Current guidelines encourage weaning after six months of age, with babies fed only breast or formula milk before this time. But some parents choose to wean early and baby foods are often marked as "suitable from four months".
Experts analysed all the baby foods produced by the main UK manufacturers. These were Cow & Gate, Heinz, Boots, Hipp Organic, Ella's Kitchen and Organix.
Products included ready-made soft foods and dry foods such as cereal that could be made up with milk or water, biscuits, rusks, bars, snacks and cakes.
Nutritional information for each product – such as calories, fat, iron and calcium – were collected from manufacturers' websites, the products themselves and from email enquiries.
Of the 479 items, 364 (79%) were ready-made foods to be fed to the child with a spoon, and 201 (44%) were aimed at infants from four months. Some 65% of the products were sweet foods.
The researchers said the typical calorie content of the spoonable foods was 282kJ (67 calories) per 100g, almost identical to formula milk at 283kJ per 100g of formula. But purees and spoonable foods made at home were "more nutrient dense" than the shop-bought foods.
Why not take a look at our Recipes page for examples of homemade foods including chicken stew, beef with mash, stewed apple with custard, and apple with rice pudding.
Information Source: Daily Telegraph 10th September 2013.