This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sprout Organic Foods for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine. I am slightly obsessive about food labels ever since I discovered that I have a gluten intolerance, and even more so with the kids. When your kids are growing, it’s important to make sure that you’re feeding them food that will help their growth rather than hinder it. Research shows that developing a love of healthy foods early on helps foster healthy eating habits for life. That’s just some of the reasons you nee to read food labels, though.
4 Reasons You Need to Read Food Labels
As a mom of a kid who eats raw kale willingly, I can attest to that. Now, I’m not saying that you need to go out back and start your garden today, but you do need to start reading labels. Why? Well, on a recent (read: yesterday) trip to my local Target here in Houston, I was shocked at what was in some of those super cute baby and toddler food pouches.
Sure it was often the 4th or 6th item on the label, but it’s still in there. I understand that lemons help preservation, and come from a tree. And, I suppose, in small quantities they are not that big of a deal. But for my kids lemons are a big no-no (as are all citrus fruits).
Let’s talk acidity for a minute.
Ascorbic Acid and Citric Acid
I was shocked at how many of the pouches and jars on the shelf contained added acid. I actually found ingredients such as ascorbic acid and citric acid (which can be naturally occurring) on some organic pouches. With a lot of highly acidic foods, you run a higher risk of acid reflux and diaper rash. Yuck.
This worries me because both of my boys are super sensitive to acidic foods. Acidic foods like citrus can cause a rash, as can foods to which the baby is sensitive or allergic.
Prunes, Apples, and Pears, Oh My!
Your baby’s digestive system is still developing, and it’s important to keep that in mind when you’re picking out foods. Now, The Baby is 2, but when he was little, I had to be really careful.
A baby’s intestines lack the protective mucosal barrier that helps seal off the intestines, decreasing the risk of both bacteria and potential allergens permeating through the intestine into the bloodstream. source
This also means that your baby, even at six months is more susceptible to painful bouts of acid reflux and other digestive issues.
Acid reflux is extremely painful for me, and I can’t imagine how uncomfortable it must make my baby. For me, it is definitely worth the effort to avoid feeding my littles foods that can exacerbate or cause this painful condition.
I was truly shocked to find that a majority of infant foods contained prunes, apples (or apple sauce), and pears as one of the first two ingredients.
I was floored to find ingredients that are well known fillers are first ingredients, such as water, cornstarch, potato starch, rice starch, and tapioca starch to name a few. You may be wondering why this upsets me.
Everyone loves gravy (and if you don’t we can no longer be friends). If you’ve made gravy you know that many recipes call for a thickener…some type of starch to bulk it up. My grandmother always used cornstarch, and I prefer tapioca starch.
Now, this is all fine and good in gravy, but it’s not okay in my child’s food. These starches are fillers-meaning they have no nutritional value-and are there to bulk up the food with something other than real food.
When you’re shopping for your kids, make sure you read the labels-I found one company that actually had an extra seven ingredients on the label that weren’t listed on the front. These may include potential allergens (though many of the starches listed above fall in that category) such as gluten. Gluten is a derivative of wheat, and many children are sensitive, if not down right allergic.
It’s not all bad, though. There is one brand that I found really hit it out of the park not only with their commitment to organic products that actually contain what they tout on the labeling.
Actual Starches, Not Fillers
I was probably most shocked by how many food brands did not rely heavily on good starches, which are known to be baby belly friendly. These include:
- starchy vegetables,
- green beans, and
I love that Sprout Organic Foods offer better alternatives, like their Blueberry Banana Oatmeal. I mean, it’s part of their Mission & Values. One of The Baby’s favorites, Spinach Banana Apple, does contain apple, but it’s the third ingredient, not the first.
Sprout offers delicious blends of whole fruits, vegetables, and grains giving babies greater exposure to wholesome food.
Better Food Labels
I was thrilled when I did my comparison and Sprout absolutely shined. Not only was there a great selection of choices, but they were easy to find. The best part? When I flipped the packages over, there was nothing in there but what I expected to find.
No added acids, no fillers, just actual food that I would find in my own kitchen. That’s because Sprout only uses ingredients like those that would be found in your own kitchen – no preservatives and nothing artificial!
When you’re shopping for your kids, make sure you read the labels-I found one company that actually had an extra seven ingredients on the label that weren’t listed on the front.
Our kids absolutely love Sprout foods, and I don’t have a problem buying them because I know exactly what I’m getting. If you want to try them, be sure to check online for your nearest Target store that carries Sprout by clicking HERE. We have yet to find a flavor that isn’t a huge screaming success! Before you run to the store, be sure to print out your Sprout Coupons to save some cash.
Be wary of what you toss in your cart, mamas. Read the labels, even if it’s a brand you’ve purchased before. Know what the company you are supporting stands for-and watch out for brands that try to hide behind their cute labels. If you turn over a baby food pouch or jar, and the first ingredient isn’t a food, put it back and move on.
What are your kids favorite foods?