7 Best Organic Baby Foods to Start Healthy Eating Off Right
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 cereals to pouches and even full meals, here are some of the best organic baby food selections for babies of all ages.
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. But organic baby food has its own unique advantages. “The benefits of organic baby food are that it’s produced without the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers or genetically modified organisms (GMOs),” says Jennifer Pallian, a registered dietitian. “Organic baby food is also free from artificial preservatives, colors and additives. Furthermore, by choosing organic baby food, parents can ensure that their child is consuming food that has been produced in an environmentally sustainable and responsible way.” When shopping for organic baby food, you should look for products that are labeled as certified organic by the USDA. “In order for baby food to be considered organic, it must meet certain criteria set forth by the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP),” says Pallian. “These criteria include using only organic ingredients, avoiding the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and adhering to strict guidelines for animal welfare.” Some of the benefits you can trust to find in a certified organic product include:
- Lower pesticide levels. Because of the lower risk of pesticides, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends buying organic produce when possible. 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.
- Less likely to be contaminated with drug-resistant bacteria. Organic farming rules prohibit the use of antibiotics.
- Contains no genetically modified ingredients and fewer additives. Hydrogenated fat, the artificial sweetener aspartame and monosodium glutamate are all additives banned by organic standards.
- 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.
Inspired to make the switch to organic for your baby or toddler? Here are some of our favorite organic baby food brands to shop.
This 100 percent organic baby food line founded by actress (and mom!) Jennifer Garner has always been devoted to sourcing healthy and nutritious ingredients. But the Advanced Nutrition line goes above and beyond that commitment, as the first of the baby food brands to receive the Clean Label Project’s First 1,000 Day Promise certification.
Once Upon a Farm uses cold-pressed technology to eliminate harmful bacteria like e-coli and keep nutrients intact (since they haven’t been zapped by heat before serving!), and offers a wide variety of products for the baby and toddler years—they even have a subscription service for those who can’t get enough! But for those who just want to see what the fuss is about, the Advanced Nutrition Variety Pack is a great place to start. Whether your little one is sampling the ancient grains and greens or chowing down on the power bowl (pineapple and banana—yum!) you can rest assured that the ingredients they’re enjoying exceed a standard met by few in the industry.
- Cold pressed to keep nutrients intact
- Have the option to order a few pouches or in bulk
- Pouches must be stored cold before consuming; not shelf stable
Who says organic food can’t be the kind of dish kids clamor for? This offering from Sprout Organics combines the toddler-pleasing power of mac and cheese with a full serving of carrots and butternut squash, all in a USDA-certified organic package. And Sprout doesn’t stop there, every serving is packed with fiber and plant-based protein. Never has getting kids to eat their veggies been so simple.
- No preparation, just heat and serve
- No added sugars
- Some parents say the portion is small for the price
When it comes to the best organic baby meals that introduce your little to a lifelong love of healthy eating, we found Tiny Organics to be a hands-down winner. Perfect for use with baby-led weaning, the company has developed a research-based eating path that ensures your little one gets all the nutrients they need right from the start. And it doesn’t stop there: The foods your kiddo will enjoy also include spices and herbs for an elevated flavor profile that can help develop an adventurous palate. When you sign up for Tiny Organics’ subscription service, you’ll get to choose from lots of different meals perfectly portioned and balanced for babies just beginning their solid food journey.
- Meals were developed in conjunction with Tufts University School of Nutrition and Policy
- Comes in compostable bowls
- Foods include a blend of textures and flavors
- Only available on the company’s website
There’s a reason that when baby is ready to graduate to solids, many parents consider cereals a good starter food—it offers an easily-digestible meal with a texture parents can adjust to baby’s particular needs. This multi-grain cereal from Earth’s Best offers this first-food option to parents who want an organic choice. It comes unsweetened and unsalted for a delicious, unadulterated taste, and is fortified with iron, zinc and B vitamins to help baby get what they need to grow.
- Packed with iron and six B vitamins to give baby a healthy start
- Can be used with breastmilk
- Not a lot of variety of cereals
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 organic baby food stage one, they can start enjoying preservative- and concentrate-free organic baby purees—we love the apple, apricot and strawberry blend, but other options include apricot, peach and pumpkin; green beans, peas and butternut squash and even sweet potato, apple and spinach. The line offers drool-worthy fruit-and-grain and veggie-and-grain blends to boot.
- Many reviewers indicate their picky eaters love this brand above any other pouch
- Thicker formulation cuts down on messes
- Can be difficult to find in stores
Sure, puffs shouldn’t be the main part of your kiddo’s diet, but they certainly serve a purpose. They’re a fun snack for little ones that aren't messy and don't need to be heated or cooled before serving. Plus, they’re a great way to work on that all-important pincer grasp. Made from organic cassava root, and free of grains, gluten, added sugars or GMOs, Serenity Kids Grain-Free Puffs are a snack you can feel good about, and they’re available in several different yummy flavors. (Although we’re partial to the pumpkin and cinnamon—it’s always fall somewhere!)
- Soy-, corn- and nut-free
- Some flavors can be pricier than other puffs
No parent wants to feel like they can’t afford to feed their baby the best quality food available. If you want to give your kiddo organic food without breaking the bank, try Earth’s Best line of organic baby food. They’ve cornered the market with a huge selection of affordable organic offerings, from fruit and veggie pouches to crackers and everything in between. And at less than $1.50 a pouch, your little one will reap the benefits of organic baby food for much cheaper than other brands!
- Wide selection of organic baby foods
- Some reviewers indicate little ones don’t love the flavors
- Earth’s Best doesn’t participate in third-party testing for chemicals/heavy metals
To help you find the best organic baby food on the market today we spoke with a registered dietitian to understand the benefits of organic baby foods, and browsed lots of different options from some of our most trusted retailers. We only chose baby foods that are 100 percent organic, made from clean ingredients that are responsibly sourced. For each type of organic baby food, we read user reviews to find out how babies and toddlers—and their parents—like the food. We didn’t consider any organic baby food with less than an average four-star rating. Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.
About the expert:
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.