Best foods to feed babies: New study finds baby food can contain high amounts of hidden sugar

Although often sold as “weaning foods,” a new report found that many baby and toddler foods contain unnecessarily high amounts of sugar.

Published by the Action on Sugar charity, it analyzes 73 sweet snacks developed and marketed for babies and toddlers.

They found that 37 percent of the snacks could be given a red traffic light label for their sugar content, even though they all had “healthy-sounding” statements on the packaging.

Only six products could have received a green label for low sugar. A traffic light label on the front of the pack does not currently have to be affixed to infant food, which has been criticized by many groups and parents.

Dr. Kawther Hashem, campaign leader at Action on Sugar, said, “It’s ridiculous that certain food companies are allowed to promote parents with very young children for their high-sugar sweet snacks, even though they know babies and toddlers shouldn’t have free sugar.”

Some of the study’s worst culprits were Heinz, Organix, and Kiddylicious.

The best foods to feed babies and toddlers

By around six months of age, children begin to consume more solid foods. By giving your child a healthy selection of foods in addition to breast or infant milk, they will be prepared for a healthier diet for a lifetime.

However, allowing your child to eat high-sugar foods, which are sometimes called healthy, can do the opposite.


A great place to start is with steamed vegetables that are cooked to keep their structure but are soft enough for your child to eat.

Rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, a wide variety of vegetables provide your child with an excellent foundation on which to base much of their adult eating habits.

Babies are naturally drawn to sweeter tasting foods like breast milk, so try sweet potatoes or parsnips if they’re not that keen on vegetables to begin with.


Steamed fish is another great food babies can switch to. The omega-3s in fish support brain development, heart health, and are a great source of easily digestible protein. Once cooked in a steamer, your baby should eat the soft fish flakes at some point.

However, limit consumption to three to four times a week as some fish contain traces of mercury that can build up over time.


Legumes are a fantastic way to increase your baby’s protein and iron levels.

Not only are they easy to digest, but they can also be easily crushed if they turn out to be too firm.

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Legumes like baked beans, kidney beans, butter beans, lentils, chickpea hummus, and garden peas are all brilliant choices that are rich in nutrients.

They are especially useful if your child is vegan or vegetarian.

Meat and poultry

Because red meat and poultry are usually dense, it can be difficult for your baby to chew and swallow at first.

Therefore, special care is required during preparation. Minced meat or poultry is a safer way to start.

Always cook the animal products thoroughly and cook until the juices are clear.


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