Ask just about any mom and they will tell you that they have felt anxiety at some point about choosing the best foods to feed their infant. Starting solids can be intimidating for even the most seasoned mom. Combine that with the new studies about heavy metals being found in baby food pouches, and the anxiety only increases. Let’s alleviate some of that by diving into information on heavy metals and the best way to make healthy choices for YOUR family!
First, let’s look at how heavy metals make their way into food products.
- Heavy metals are found in soil, air and water; this can be naturally occurring or it can be from environmental contamination. Due to this, even organic food can contain heavy metals. According to Oregon State University, heavy metals from air pollution accumulate in the top 1-2 inches of soil.
- Another way heavy metals get into food is from the land that a farm sits on. For example, a newer farm can occupy land that once belonged to an older farm. This can can result in residue from old pesticides, old farm equipment, or old structures with lead paint. When it rains, the metals run into the soil where they accumulate.
- Heavy metals are also found naturally in the earth’s crust. This is why root vegetables are usually higher in metals than other vegetables—and it’s another great reason as to why you should strive to eat a variety of vegetables and not just one type.
Now, let’s look a the best ways to avoid heavy metals in your baby’s diet.
- Remember, it’s impossible to completely avoid heavy metals. Many fruits and vegetables contain them, but keep in mind that fruits and vegetables are also full of vitamins and minerals that help nourish your little one!
- Eat a wide variety of foods and rotate the ones most likely to contain heavy metals (like root vegetables and rice).
- The Clean Label Project Purity Award– “evaluates products for chemicals of concern and industrial and environmental toxins and contaminants (like heavy metals, pesticide residues, and plasticizers) that have the long-term potential to adversely affect health and well-being.” Look for products that have this label or brands that privately test for heavy metals. Serenity Kids, Cerebelly, and Once Upon a Farm are all pouches that have received this award!
Let’s get rid of some of the intimidation behind feeding our baby well.
I know that babies are expensive already, and purchasing all organic, specially made baby food adds up. Organic food and the testing that they require is pricey and that cost is passed along to you, the consumer. Affordability is an enormous factor in choosing baby foods, so I would encourage you to try making your own baby food if possible.
As a new mom, I would often steam vegetables in large batches and freeze them in ice cube trays to make it easy to portion out. Choosing vegetables and fruits that are in season will make your food tastier and more economical. Since so many little ones prefer the sweetness of fruits over veggies, try mixing veggies with fruit to expose your baby to the health benefits of consuming greens.
I hope that this post has encouraged you and provided some good new information about how to make healthy choices when feeding your baby!