First Foods… Yours or Theirs?


What happens when a group of adults, all parents and all food-lovers, and even some who are professional chefs, dive into a sampling of … baby foods?  When you invite these people over to help you conduct a taste test of commercial versus homemade baby food products?  (“They’ll never want to visit us again, that’s for sure,” predicted my husband, as he reviewed the menu.)

We had jars of conventional and organic bananas, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots and more, all of the Stage One and Stage Two products that you can buy to feed your baby.  Next to them, I displayed the homemade version of the same thing: vegetables that had been steamed in the microwave and pureed in the food processor.  Fruits that had simply been mashed to a near-liquid state, and combine with a few drops of water.  We rated them first for appearance (color and texture), and then aroma.  And with our best china and flatware, we sampled all of these baby foods, to give a fair comparison between the two.

Here are some of our findings.  You can read more detail in my book, “My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus: Raising Children Who Love to Eat Everything”:



The first thing you’ll notice when opening the packet of Gerber’s First Foods bananas is the pungent odor, very sweet, similar to an overly-ripe banana.  The taste of the product, however, more resembled a pre-packaged vanilla pudding than a real mashed-up banana.



Peas cooked in water and pureed in a food processor or blender, or mashed with a fork, were far superior in appearance and taste to the jarred organic product by Earth’s Finest that we sampled.  The Earth’s Finest peas did not taste like peas at all, but rather a gelatinous mix of unidentified vegetables.



In comparing Gerber’s regular and organic carrots, we found that both tasted sweeter than fresh carrots that we cooked in water and then pureed.  The commercial version of the regular carrots also had a very bitter aftertaste.

So what’s the sum of all of this?

Parents of older children will tell you that it can be difficult in the best of circumstances to get growing kids to eat their vegetables.  Why not start them off on the right foot, with the freshest ingredients possible, so that their first impressions are tasty ones!


One Response to “First Foods… Yours or Theirs?”

  1. Mary Elisa Norment Says:

    Wish I had know this when I was going through the baby food stage with my 3 children. I can’t help but think that would have helped some of our current day food refusal issues! This is great information for parents of babies at the baby food stage. Thanks for informing us, Nancy!

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