It is commonly thought that ready-prepared baby food is highly processed and full of additives and preservatives. The truth is that the majority of ready-prepared baby foods available in supermarkets are relatively nutritious. The differentiating factor which determines quality of what you are paying for can be found on the ingredient list as well as looking at the source of ingredients.
Generally speaking, the higher the content of real ingredients such as vegetables and meats, the better.
When looking at the nutritional table keep an eye out for products with less than 2-3g of sugar per 100g serve. Another factor can be the use of white over brown rice. Many ready-prepared baby foods contain rice as a natural ingredient to carry the flavour. Rice can be a great first food for baby, but white rice contains higher levels of natural sugar than brown rice. Look for products that use brown rice opposed to the white alternative.
Below is a snap shot of some of the common supermarket brands and exactly what you will find in them.
Bellamy’s Organic Chicken, Sweet Potato & Cous Cous
No added salts or sugars and a goodchicken content of 15 per cent. Less than one gram of sugar. Certified organic and Australian made.
Nutritional figures: 69 calories | 2.6g protein | 10.3g carbohydrates | 1g sugar | 9mg sodium
Ingredients: Organic Sweet Potato (23%), Organic Chicken (15%), Organic Brown Rice (14%), Water (14%), Organic Onion (13%), Organic Cous Cous (10%), Organic Spinach (7%), Organic Vegetable Oil (2%), Organic Garlic, Caraway, Thyme & Rosemary (2%)
Bellamy’s Organic Pumpkin & Tomato Risotto
No added salts or sugars, minimal added water and high vegetable content (75%). Certified organic and Australian made.
Nutritional figures: 59 calories | 1.3g protein | 10.1g carbohydrates | 1.8g sugars | 4mg sodium
Ingredients: Organic Pumpkin (22%), Organic Sweet Potato (22%), Organic Tomato (20%), Organic Brown Rice (17%), Organic Onion (9%), Water (4%), Organic Spinach (2%), Organic Vegetable Oil (2%), Organic Paprika & Garlic (2%)
Rafferty’s Garden Beef with Vegetables and Basmati Rice
Added yeast, high starchy vegetable content and added water. Made in Australia.
Nutritional figures: 88 calories | 4.5g protein | 10.7g carbs | 2g sugars | 22mg sodium
Ingredients: Vegetables (43%) (Potato, Onion, Carrot, Cabbage, Parsnip), Cooking Water, Beef (8%), Basmati Rice (3.5%), Olive Oil, Canola Oil, Paprika, Yeast Extract, Parsley.
Heinz Organic Beef, Pumpkin, Spinach and Rice
Relatively low vegetable and meat content. Heinz is a U.S. owned company.
Nutritional figures: 80 calories | 4.1g protein | 10.6g carbohydrates | 2.5g sugars | 11mg sodium
Ingredients: Pumpkin (39%), Water, Rice (17%), Beef (10%), Ground Rice (2.5%), Spinach (2%).
Bellamy’s Organic Sweet Potato Carrot & Apple
No fillers or water added. No added sugars or salt. High vegetable content (63%) resulting in a relatively lower sugar content. Certified organic and Australian made.
Nutritional figures: 38 calories | 0.6g protein | 7.6g carbohydrates | 3.2g sugars | 8mg sodium
Ingredients: Organic Sweet Potato (39%), Organic Apple (25%), Organic Carrot (24%), Organic Brown Rice (12%). Total organic ingredients = 100%.
Rafferty’s Garden Sweet Potato, Carrot & Apple
No added sugar or salt. Much higher fruit content than vegetable content – resulting in a sweeter product with more sugars. Made in Australia.
Nutritional figures: 67 calories | 0.7g protein | 16.3g carbohydrates | 9.8g sugars | 18mg sodium
Ingredients: Apple (60%), Sweet Potato (25%), Carrot (15%).
Only Organic Sweet Potato & Apple
Much higher fruit content than vegetable content – making a sweet product that is relatively high in sugars. Made in New Zealand.
Nutritional figures: 77 calories | 0.6g protein | 17.4g carbohydrates | 12.5g sugars | 12mg sodium
Ingredients: Apple (60%), Sweet Potato (40%), Antioxidant (Vitamin C), Food Acid (Citric Acid).
Rafferty’s Garden Baby’s Bolognese
No added salt or sugar, relatively low meat content and water added. Made in Australia.
Nutritional figures: 109 calories | 5.5g protein | 13.3g carbohydrates | 4.8g sugars | 39mg sodium
Ingredients: Tomato Puree (41%), Vegetables (24%) (Carrot, Onion, Tomato), Water, Beef (9%), Pasta (5%), Herbs, Garlic.
Only Organic Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese
High in sodium for small children. New Zealand made.
Nutritional figures: 168 calories | 6.7g protein | 21.8g carbohydrates | 4.8g sugars | 276mg sodium
Ingredients: Cheese Sauce (Water, Cheese, Milk (6%), Rice Flour, Whole Milk Powder, Vegetable Gums (Guar Gum, Locust Bean Gum), Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, Vegetables (20%) (Sweet Potato, Cauliflower, Onion, Broccoli), Pasta (5%), Emulsifier (Soy Lethicin).
Heinz Little Kids Ravioli Bolognese
Relatively high in sodium for small children and has added starches.
Nutritional figures: 171 calories | 8.8g protein | 22.6g carbohydrates | 5.4g sugars | 230mg sodium
Ingredients: Vegetables (48%) (Tomato (35%), Onion, Red Capsicum, Carrot), Ravioli (39%) (Durum Wheat, Eggs, Water, Breadcrumbs, Cheese Powder, Vegetable Oil, Pumpkin, Salt), Beef (11%), Cornflour, Potato Starch, Canola Oil, Parmesan Cheese, Beef Extract, Herbs, Natural Flavours.
Only Organic Vegetable Chicken Risotto
Relatively low chicken content. Contains organic ingredients and New Zealand made.
Nutritional figures: 120 calories | 4.8g protein | 20g carbohydrates | 6.8g sugars | 154mg sodium
Ingredients: Vegetables (46%) (Carrot, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Peas, Onion, Capsicum), Water, Chicken (5%), Tomato Puree, Rice (6%), Quinoa, Olive Oil, Salt, Parsley, Garlic, Pepper, Paprika.
Baby Macro Organic Pear, Banana & Berries with Greek Style Yoghurt
Relatively sweet food for a small baby and contains added starch. High in sugars for baby food. Woolworths brand with some organic ingredients.
Nutritional figures: 72 calories | 13.8g carbohydrates | 9g sugars | 8mg sodium
Ingredients: Organic fruit (Pear (58%), Banana (10%), Raspberries (8%), Blueberries (4%)), Water, Organic Greek Yoghurt (7%), Cornflour, Organic Cream.
Rafferty’s Garden Mango, Pear, Banana & Milk
High water content, particularly high in calcium and added starches. High in sugars for small children. Australia made.
Nutritional figures: 111 calories | 4.8g protein | 21g carbohydrates | 17g sugars | 254mg calcium
Ingredients: Skim Milk (51%), Water, Banana Puree (17%), Pear Juice Concentrate (9%), Yoghurt Powder, Modified Maize Starch, Whole Milk Powder (1%), Calcium, Prebiotic Fibres, Food Acids.