As parents we want the best for our babies—and that includes feeding our little ones the healthiest food possible. If you have the luxury of growing your fruits and vegetables in the backyard, you know exactly where your child’s food is coming from and what’s in it, but most of us don’t have that option or, to be honest, inclination. Your next best bet? Organic baby food. From baby formula to baby cereals and pureed meals, here are some the best organic baby food selections for babies of all ages.
BENEFITS OF ORGANIC BABY FOOD
Of course, you don’t have to go organic to provide baby with healthy food: Conventional foods have the same vitamins, minerals and other nutrients as organic options, and often at a fraction of the cost. But there are several key reasons you may want to opt for organic baby food:
• It contains lower pesticide levels, which can be a significant benefit for young children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics: Since their immune, nervous and hormonal systems are still developing, they’re more vulnerable to chemical exposures than adults. Organic farmers avoid chemical pesticides and herbicides and use natural fertilizers instead of synthetic—especially noteworthy when it comes to baby food, which can contain concentrated pesticide residues as a result of condensing fruits and vegetables.
• It’s less likely to be contaminated with drug-resistant bacteria, since organic farming rules prohibit the use of antibiotics.
• It contains no genetically modified ingredients and fewer additives.Hydrogenated fat, the artificial sweetener aspartame and monosodium glutamate are all additives banned by organic standards.PauseNext playlist itemUnmuteCurrent Time 0:17/Duration 1:13Loaded: 95.99% Fullscreen
• It’s environmentally friendly. Organic farmers provide their animals with organic feed, year-round access to the outdoors and care that’s in keeping with animal welfare standards. They embrace practices that promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity, and studies say these farming techniques lead to less pollution and carbon dioxide emissions.
BEST ORGANIC BABY FORMULA
With numerous organic baby formula choices available these days, you can offer baby the benefits of organic right from the start. All of the following formulations are milk-based and include iron, which is recommended for babies under a year old.
Similac Organic Infant Formula with Iron
Similac, a long-trusted brand that’s been around for some 90 years, offers an organic baby formula with OptiGRO, a proprietary blend of brain-enhancing supplements like DHA, lutein and vitamin E, making it more nutritionally similar to breast milk. Bonus: This formula is widely available at grocery stores nationwide, so there’s no need to panic when you realize you’re running low.
Photo: Courtesy The Honest Company
Honest Company Organic Premium Infant Formula
This organic baby formula from The Honest Company features added vitamin D3, calcium, choline and folic acid to support easy digestion and healthy development. What’s not added to the formulation: Carrageenan (an ingredient that thickens), gluten, sucrose or DHA. Parents also love that Honest will deliver formula right to your doorstep each month, saving you headaches and hassle.
Photo: Courtesy Plum Organics
Plum Organics Grow Well Infant Formula
You won’t find any corn syrup solids in this organic baby formula—it derives all its carbohydrates from organic lactose. It’s easy on baby’s tummy and offers added DHA and ARA fatty acids to boost baby’s brain and eye development.
Photo: Courtesy Earth’s Best
Earth’s Best Organic Infant Formula
Like other brands of organic baby formula, this formulation includes DHA, ARA and lutein to support brain and eye health—plus, it folds in prebiotics to strengthen baby’s immune system. Earth’s Best also offers an organic Non-DHA Infant Formula, for those who prefer fewer additives, as well as an organic Sensitivity Infant Formula that’s made with less lactose.
Photo: Courtesy Happy Baby
Happy Baby Organic Infant Formula
Happy Family splits its organic baby formula offerings into two age groups: Stage 1 for babies from birth to 12 months, and Stage 2 specifically for babies 6 months and up. The Stage 1 formula contains DHA and ARA, calcium, choline and vitamins C and D, while Stage 2 features higher levels of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, choline and vitamins C and D to promote a strong heart, brain, bones, eyes, teeth and muscles.
BEST ORGANIC BABY CEREAL
When baby is ready to graduate to solids (usually between 4 and 6 months), consider offering an organic baby cereal. Each of these options is iron-fortified with no artificial colors or flavors.
Photo: Courtesy Gerber
Gerber Organic Oatmeal Cereal
The organic baby cereal from Gerber, an established baby food giant, is a great option for baby’s first solids: It’s made of organic whole grain oats, topped off with iron, calcium and vitamins C and B to help baby grow up strong.
Photo: Courtesy Beech Nut
Beech-Nut Stage 1 Organic Multigrain Cereal
For a healthy multigrain option, look no further than the Beech-Nut organic baby cereal: It boasts a hearty mix of wheat, oat and rice flours, complete with iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin D. Plus, it comes in a handy canister with a cap that doubles as a measuring cup and an easy-pour spout to prevent messy spills.
Photo: Courtesy Earth’s Best
Earth’s Best Organic Whole Grain Rice Cereal
This whole grain brown rice cereal comes unsweetened and unsalted for a delicious, unadulterated taste. Moms with babies who didn’t take to other cereals say their little ones love this organic baby cereal from Earth’s Best. It’s also packed with iron and six B vitamins to give baby a healthy start.
Photo: Courtesy Happy Baby Happy Bellies
Happy Bellies Organic Oatmeal Baby Cereal
If your child has special dietary needs, give the organic baby cereal from Happy Baby a go. Not only does it have DHA, choline, iron and other essential vitamins and minerals, it’s dairy-free, soy-free and Kosher-certified, and contains probiotics to strengthen baby’s delicate digestive system. Patriotic parents (or those who just like to know where their food comes from) will be happy to know it’s made in the USA.
Photo: Courtesy Nuturme
NurturMe Organic Quinoa and Banana Infant Cereal
Tired of plain-jane rice and oatmeal cereals? NurturMe spices things up with its quinoa-based baby cereals, which come in apple, banana and raisin and sweet potato flavors—yum. Good news for parents with allergy-prone babies: The entire line of organic baby cereal is free of soy, gluten, egg and dairy.
BEST ORGANIC BABY FOOD POUCHES AND PUREE PACKAGES
Organic baby food pouches are a great way to introduce exciting, nutrient-packed flavor combinations as baby grows and is ready to test out new food groups. From wholesome single-food options to exotic fruit-and-veggie blends, here are some of the best organic baby food pouches, bowls and jars.
Photo: Courtesy Pure Spoon
Pure Spoon Organic Simply Baby Food Sampler
Pure Spoon stands out among the best organic baby food options thanks to the fact that it’s always fresh, never frozen. The brand pasteurized its cold-pressed fruit and veggie purees without the use of chemicals or high heat, meaning the food’s nutrition, flavor and texture is kept intact. The baby food has zero preservatives, additives or coloring, and comes in completely transparent packaging so you can see what you—and baby—are getting every time.
Photo: Courtesy Peter Rabbit Organics
Peter Rabbit Organics Fruit & Vegetable Puree
When you’re working with such delicious fruit-and-veggie combos as carrot, squash and apple; kale, broccoli and mango; and pea, spinach and apple (among eight others), there’s no need to mess with a good thing. Which is why Peter Rabbit skips adding any sugar, salt and even water to its organic baby food pouches. They’re resealable and don’t need to stay in the fridge, making them ideal on-the-go snacks.
Photo: Courtesy Plum Organics
Plum Organics Baby Bowls
Eager to introduce baby to exciting new tastes? These organic baby food purees from Plum Organics come in 10 different flavor options, including foodie-approved pairings like mango, carrot and tumeric; pear, cauliflower, cherry and raisin; and pumpkin, banana, papaya and cardamon. Even the packaging is impressive: Made from recycled BPA-free plastic, the patented bowl shape is perfect for holding, spoon, resealing and stacking.
Photo: Courtesy Ella’s Kitchen
Ella’s Kitchen Organic Stage 2 Meals
From fruit and veggie purees to textured meals that introduce baby to proteins, Ella’s Kitchen offers a range of organic baby food options for varying ages—all without preservatives, additives, thickeners, gluten or added water. And with scrumptious flavor combos like apples, carrots, prunes and butternut squash; pears, mangoes and papayas; chicken casserole with vegetables and rice; and a whole lot more, baby’s curious taste buds are bound to be satisfied.
Photo: Courtesy Sprout
Sprout Organic Baby Food Pouches
Sprout was the first company to put organic baby food in a pouch, revolutionizing the way parents work solids into baby’s diet. Years later, it’s still a favorite: Once baby has moved on from stage 1 foods, she can start enjoying preservative- and concentrate-free fruit-and-veggie purees like apricot, peach and pumpkin; green beans, peas and butternut squash; and sweet potato, apple and spinach. The line offers drool-worthy fruit-and-grain and veggie-and-grain blends to boot.