What’s really in ready-prepared baby food?


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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.

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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.01 Bellamy’s Organic Chicken, Sweet Potato & Cous Cous

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%)

02 Bellamy’s Organic Pumpkin & Tomato RisottoBellamy’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%)

03 Rafferty’s Garden Beef with Vegetables and Basmati RiceRafferty’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.

04 Heinz Organic Beef, Pumpkin, Spinach and RiceHeinz 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%).

05 Bellamy’s Organic Sweet Potato Carrot & AppleBellamy’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%.

06 Rafferty’s Garden Sweet Potato, Carrot & AppleRafferty’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%).

07 Only Organic Sweet Potato & AppleOnly 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).

08 Rafferty’s Garden Baby’s BologneseRafferty’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.

09 Only Organic Vegetable Macaroni and CheeseOnly 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).

10 Heinz Little Kids Ravioli BologneseHeinz 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.

11 Only Organic Vegetable Chicken RisottoOnly 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.

12 Baby Macro Organic Pear, Banana & Berries with Greek Style YoghurtBaby 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.

13 Rafferty’s Garden Mango, Pear, Banana & MilkRafferty’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.

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