Sunday, Dec 10, 2023 | Last Update : 09:55 PM IST

  Life   Food  11 Sep 2019  Are packaged baby foods healthy?

Are packaged baby foods healthy?

Published : Sep 11, 2019, 8:15 pm IST
Updated : Sep 11, 2019, 8:15 pm IST

Parents are stocking up on packaged baby foods without considering their health consequences.

Encourage healthy eating habits among children. (Photo: Representational/Pixabay)
 Encourage healthy eating habits among children. (Photo: Representational/Pixabay)

A lot of parents look for convenience when it comes to baby food. With the supermarket aisles displaying stocks of packaged foods for babies, it’s quite tempting to buy everything instead of cooking. Children’s diet requires a special focus on health: they need nutrients, vitamins and minerals for healthy growth. It’s also important to develop their immunity, and the best way to do so is by feeding them home-cooked food.

With hectic lifestyle being our go-to excuse for instant food, we often believe that it’s hard to cook from scratch. So we settle for ready-to-cook, pre-packaged foods. Advertising gimmicks often make us fall for how “nutritious” they are. It’s high time we question how safe is it for children to consume packaged foods.

Added sugars and salt

Most packaged foods contain high amounts of added sugars and salt. It’s extremely unhealthy to consume these, especially when you can get these from natural produce. All this is done just to make them palatable. According to News 18, it can cause overeating, and the kids might reject nutritious, delicious home-cooked food if they get used to overly salty meals.

However, if at all you’re still planning to stock up on packaged items, make sure you give the labels a good read. If sugar and salt make it to the top ingredients, they’ll be present in large amounts, so avoid those foods. The tricky thing is, added sugars are often masked under subtle things like honey, glucose and molasses.

Don’t go for “baby snacks”

This is actually worth noting. Foods that are especially packed for babies could end up doing more harm than your normal snacks. The versions of cookies and other junk food that are available for babies contain lots of added sugar and salt. Make sure they don’t overly indulge and instead go for healthier options like fruits and vegetables. You can always experiment and present healthy food in a good way to make children eat well.

Buy less food pouches

From baby food purees causing an outrage in Indian markets, it’s more advisable to steer clear of these. Pureed food is extremely convenient, but isn’t as nutritious as you think it might be. It’s always a good idea to mash fruits and vegetables and serve fresh produce. Getting used to packaged foods can make children fussy eaters in the future.

Juices are a big NO

Packaged juices come with preservatives and sugars. And there are barely any traces of real fibre, as promised in adverts. In fact sometimes the sugar concentration is the same as that in carbonated drinks. This can lead to tooth decay, and you’d not want that for children at all. As far as liquids are concerned, breast milk, or just milk in general is the best.

Cooking might seem like a tedious activity, but home-made food is definitely beneficial for children’s health in the long run. You can also prepare food in large quantities and freeze it. This will save time and effort both. And of course, will ensure supply of healthy meals for your kids.

Tags: baby food, packaged food