Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dash and Dine: Organic baby foods for tots on the go

I try to make the majority of Pooka's baby food (see previous post on home made baby food), but there's not always time. So what do you feed your wee one when it's not home made? Obviously there are plenty of choices in jars, but they don't impart the sense of wholesome goodness that I seek when choosing Pooka's meals. And to be frank, after tasting some of the jarred varieties I was less than impressed with their bland flavor. After sampling a promising jar of chicken and apple compote that tasted nothing like chicken or apple I went in search of other options. Luckily there are tons of new choices out there for Mamas seeking alternatives! Those options range from frozen, to squeezy pouches, to freeze dried foods. Pooka and I have a few favorites that have seamlessly been incorporated into our typically home made meal plans.

Yummy Spoonfuls: As a frequent reviewer for Parentville (see my latest product reviews in the blue box on the right side of this page) I was sent a box of Yummy Spoonfuls to sample, and I'm so glad they did. Yummy Spoonfuls makes 100% organic frozen baby foods for all three stages. Packaged in individual 6 oz. containers, these portions will last for 3-4 servings in the early days and 1-2 servings as your baby grows. The stage 1 purees, called Creamy Yummy, are perfect for first timers because of their thinner consistency and work great when added to cereals. They offer some unique flavors like Papaya, which was our favorite by far! We also tried some of the stage 2, or Mushy Yummy foods, which are a bit thicker and have more interesting combos. Great choices include blueberry and millet, or papaya, quinoa, and banana. And later on, Yummy Spoonfuls offers Chunky Yummy for babies over 12 months. But best of all, Yummy Spoonful foods are not heat treated which makes them most similar to the purees I make at home. Another bonus is that the plastic containers they are sold in are BPA and Phalate free so I like to save them to use on the go or freeze home made foods. And at $2-3.00 per container they are a great price considering their organic goodness. Yummy Spoonfuls are available online in their store or on Amazon. If you are in the New York area you can find Yummy Spoonfuls at Dean & Deluca stores.

Happy Baby Foods: Happy Baby offers a whole range of organic food for your wee one from stage 1 right up through the toddler years. Choices range from Happy Bellies cereals with DHA and Probiotics, to Happy Baby frozen foods, Happy Tot pouch foods, and Happy Bites meals. Pooka eats the Happy Bellies oatmeal every morning (rice cereal makes her constipated), and we keep our freezer stocked with various packages of Happy Baby frozen foods. I really like that Happy Baby frozen foods come in individual 1 oz. cubes, so it's easy to give Pooka a nice variety of flavors at each meal. We also love the Happy Tot pouches for when we are on the run. They offer awesome flavor combos and don't have to be refrigerated until after they are opened, which means you can carry one in your diaper bag for emergencies or when you don't want to carry a cooler pack. We keep our Snack Trap filled with Happy Puffs (cereal puffs) and Happy Melts (freeze dried yogurt chips). The nice thing about Happy Puffs is that unlike cereals like Cheerios, they melt in the mouth so you can have a little piece of mind when you start your baby on finger foods. Pooka is still too young for Happy Bites, but we plan to try those too. I mean, who can deny oganic Salmon Stix or Veggie Tots! And it's also reassuring to know that all Happy baby Foods come in BPA free packaging and endorsed by pediatric guru Dr. Bob Sears. Happy Baby Foods are available at numerous locations, so check their website to find a retailer near you.

Ella's Kitchen: Ella's Kitchen specializes in scrumptious stage 1 squeezy pouch recipes, and fruit smoothies for babies of all ages. We fell in love with the Broccoli, Peas, and Pears and the Carrots, Apples, and Parsnips. Made in the UK, it can be found at Babies R' Us and now at Diapers.com.

There are lots of other tasty choices in the organic baby food market, but I wanted to share a few of our favorites. We have also enjoyed food from Petite Palate, Sprout Baby, Tasty Baby, and Plum Organics. It's just nice to know that there are companies that care about your child's health and well being as much as you do!

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