We’re sure a lot of parents would love to make their own DIY Baby Food, but sadly, not everyone has the time or the tools. If you can’t make your own baby food, there’s no reason to feel bad, because you’re not alone. In fact, statistics on the US ‘Baby Food Market’ from Statista show that it is set to grow into a $76 billion industry by 2021.
This will also result in more options for consumers, and this can be paralyzing for parents. The trick is to understand just exactly what you’re giving your baby. Parsley Health’s discussion of baby food labels outlines how manufacturers often make it impossible to tell what the ingredients are in their baby food. They quote a piece on the New York Times that showed that less than a quarter of baby food brands from around the world meet international standards for fat, protein, and zinc. So here are some of the things that will help you understand baby food labels:
Food Label Claims
Manufacturers usually include claims about how healthy their product is on the packaging – such as “fat-free” or “no cholesterol.” Kids Health mentioned that manufacturers are required by the FDA to provide scientific evidence to back up these claims. As such, it’s best to read these claims carefully and understand what they really mean:
• Reduced fat means it is a product that has 25 percent less fat than the same regular brand
• Light means that the product has 50 percent less fat than their regular product
• Low-fat food means that it has less than 3 grams of fat per serving
Serving size pertains to the amount of food that people typically eat at one time. Nutrition Facts Label usually begins with the serving size and the number of servings the package contains. The serving size will be the basis of the nutrition facts stated on the label. So, for instance, if the serving size is two biscuits and your baby usually eats four, then that means that your baby gets twice the amount of calories as written on the label.
Percent Daily Values
Eat Right says that the Percent Daily Value concerns the average nutrients a person eating 2000 calories per day should consume. So, for example, if a label states 20% iron, then it means that one serving of that food provides you with 20% of your daily iron needs. Percent Daily Value is useful in seeing whether a food is high or low in specific nutrients.
The nutrition terms can usually get pretty overwhelming, so it’s best to have an idea of just what these terms mean. Here are some of the common terms to get you started:
• Good source of means that it provides at least 10 to 19 percent of the Daily Value of a particular vitamin or nutrient
• Excellent source of or High in means that the product provides you with at least 20 percent or more of the Daily Value of a particular vitamin or nutrient
• Low sodium means that there’s 140 milligrams or less of sodium per serving
• Fat-free or sugar-free means that the product contains less than ½ gram of fat or sugar per serving