We aren’t here to debate whether homemade or jarred baby food is bestboth have their pros and cons. I ended up doing both with my kids. I liked the creativity of making food at home, but I also appreciated the convenience of not always needing to.
The best jarred baby food is one that will provide the nourishment that your baby needs. Here’s a closer look at some of the top choices.
Something to note: some of these are more commonly available in pouches than in jars. This has made shipping, manufacturing, and sometimes even feeding easier.
|Top 3 Jarred Baby Foods||Why It's Best||Mom Rating|
|Plum Organics Stage 2 Baby Food||Most well-seasoned baby food||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Once Upon a Farm Organic Baby Food||Best minimally-processed baby food||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Gerber Organics Jarred Baby Food||Best jarred baby food on a budget||♥♥♥♥♥|
Best Jarred Food for Your Baby
Happy Baby Organic Baby Food
A name like Happy Baby just seems like it will deliver what’s best for your little one. Happy Baby Organic Baby Food comes in three stages of food that are perfect for growing with your little one.
At the first stage, foods like oatmeal, brown rice, and multi-grain cereal provide nutrition by being fortified with iron. They also contain probiotics, which are important for a healthy digestive tract. In addition to the cereals, the first stage has traditional fruit flavor puree pouches.
At the second stage, there are fruit and vegetable blends that allow your baby to diversify their tastebuds. Happy Baby also has a Clearly Crafted meal line that comes with a unique flavor. Something nice about this packaging is that it provides information about the farms where ingredients come from.
Finally, stage three meals are designed with more protein and texture. You’ll find ingredients like salmon, quinoa, and amaranth that are better for advanced digestive systems and provide a nutritional punch.
Plum Organics Baby Food
Plum Organics Baby Food is also sold in three stages. Something that is nice about this line is that it is seasoned slightly as the stages go, expanding the different flavors that your little one might try.
At the first stage, basic purees are available. Even some of these are seasoned. For example, you might find pouches like butternut squash and cinnamon or sweet peas with mint.
At stage two, there is a wider range of flavors available. Plum Organics also has a White blend (with cauliflower, apples, and leeks) and Red blend (with apples, beets, and red bell peppers) that packs a lot of flavor and a nutritional punch. You’ll also find Second Blends that have grains in them, including coconut rice, quinoa, and amaranth blended with other yummy ingredients.
Stage three meals include different spices and proteins. For example, one of their meals is quinoa and leeks with chicken and tarragon. Something to note is that some of the grain meals are not as easy to prepare because you need to add hot water to cook the grains.
Sprout Organic Baby Food
Sprout Organic Baby Food has a wide range of flavor blends at every stage. It is a great choice for babies who don’t have food allergies when you want to be able to introduce them to a wide range of flavors.
At stage one, the purees are sold in pouches. You may find them in flavors like sweet potato, mango, prune, or peaches.
At stage two, different flavor blends are introduced. For example, you mind find apple blueberry or pear spinach prune. There are also some grain blends available at this stage, including fruits with quinoa and veggies with grains like sweet potato, white bean, and cinnamon. There are also some baby yogurts or yogurt blends to increase protein.
At the third stage, there are chunkier blends. Stage three also has wholesome grain ingredients like lentils, chickpeas, and proteins. For example, some babies enjoy market vegetables with pear and turkey or harvest vegetables with apricot and chicken.
Once Upon a Farm Organic Baby Food
Once Upon a Farm Organic Baby Food is a little more expensive than some of the other options mentioned so far, however, they maintain nutrients a lot better than warmed foods. Something to note, however, is that these need to be refrigerated.
The pouches offered by Once Upon a Farmer have cold-pressed purees, which are never heated. This lets them maintain a higher level of nutrition. Since they are refrigerated, they also do not need as many preservatives. However, this does mean that they have a shorter shelf life than some other dried baby food.
The company was also creative with their names with foods like Wild Rumpus Avocado and Magic Velvet Mango. In addition to their basic fruits and vegetables, some are made using coconut milk and other healthy fats that support your growing baby’s brain development. Like others, the line comes in different stages that add more complex flavors as you try new foods.
Gerber Organics Jarred Baby Food
The Gerber line is one that has been trusted by parents for decades. I have already stated my preference for organic baby foods and Gerber Organics Jarred Baby Food is a great choice when you are on a budget.
The first stage of the Gerber line has plain flavors that make it easy for your little one to develop their unique taste buds and learn what they like.
At the first stage, doctors often recommend rice or oatmeal baby cereals. You can mix these with different fruit and/or vegetable purees from the Stage one line. Many of these fruits and vegetables are very true to flavor (I even liked the peaches jarred baby food).
At the second stage, grains might be blended with fruits and vegetables. A wider range of fruits and veggies become available at this stage, including those like acai berry, spinach, or zucchini.
At the third stage, Gerber Organics offers dairy ingredients like yogurt. Ingredients like kale, fig, or spices might also be added to expand your baby’s palate. The Stage three products are thicker and chunkier, which aids your little one as they learn to chew.
Earth’s Best Organic Baby Foods
Earth’s Best Organic Baby Foods is a well-trusted name for organic baby products and their food line does not disappoint. It grows with your child and there are even organic meals for when your little one is older.
At the first stage, Earth’s Best offers whole grain cereals. In addition to rice and oatmeal, there are multi-grain varieties mixed with fruit, which flavors the cereal for picky eaters. The jarred baby food has basic flavors at the first stage, like sweet potatoes, peas, pears, and bananas.
At stage two, there are chunkier textures to the same simple purees. This is a good choice for parents of picky eaters who aren’t enthusiastic about trying new things. In addition to plain flavors, you can also find blends with grains like harvest squash turkey and beach banana oatmeal.
Finally, stage three has several ready-to-go meal options that are great for introducing your little one to cheese or pasta. For example, you might find flavors like chicken and stars pasta or spaghetti and cheese.
FAQs About Jarred Baby Food
Should I make baby food or buy it in the jar?
The decision to make baby food or buy it from the store is a matter of preference.
There are several benefits to making baby food. You can save money doing it at home and eliminate some of the preservatives in your little one’s diet. It is also more eco-friendly because there is less processing and you can re-use the packaging.
However, this isn’t always an option for some parents. There is also the risk of bacteria when food is not prepared with sterilized baby food making equipment, especially because baby food does not store as long as jarred food without the preservatives. Homemade food can also be lumpy or hard to get to the right texture, which can be a problem if you have a picky eater.
The best option is choosing to feed your baby, regardless of how you do it. You can even make food sometimes and buy jarred baby food at othersit is entirely up to you and your baby. If you aren’t sure, here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of jarred baby food vs. homemade baby food.
What should I look for when buying jarred baby food?
When you are choosing jarred baby food, the thing your baby is most likely to care about is the flavor or texture. You will notice there are different stages of baby foodthe earlier stages usually have a smoother texture and purer flavors. Later stages are made for more advanced palates and babies that have started learning to chew.
As a parent, the thing most important to me is knowing what foods are going into my little one’s body. As a personal preference, I choose baby food made with organic fruits and vegetables. This gives me peace of mind that there are no pesticides or other contaminants in my baby’s food.
As with all foods, look for superfoods or nutritious foods that offer a lot of nutrition. Never buy baby food that is high in salt or sugar.
Do the stages matter?
The amount of processing that food undergoes and its ingredients are affected by the stages. Before your baby is around 8 months, for example, you’ll want to avoid baby foods that have dairy products and those with grains. Otherwise, the stages are made to describe different textures of baby food.
Stage one is generally a thick liquid, while Stages two and three are better for more experienced eaters. Stage two has a thick consistency, while Stage three usually has chunks in it. This is ideal for babies learning to chew for the first time.
Choosing the best jarred baby food is as easy as being confident you’re choosing a brand that gives your baby the nutrition they need to thrive. Jarred baby food offers the flexibility of trying different brands without affecting baby’s digestive tract. Try a few things and find what is your little one’s favorite. And don’t feel like you have to stick with one single brand- try many and build a variety of flavors and tastes for your foodie baby.