Homemade Vs. Jarred Baby Food?

Updated on January 18, 2011
L.M. asks from Kingston, MA
17 answers

I've recently heard that feeding your baby homemade purees, like veggies, instead of the jarred versions (Gerber, Earths Best, etc.) helps them to acquire a taste for "the real thing" and results in a toddler/child who actually likes their vegetables. My question is two fold. One, can anyone attest to this? I don't want to go to the trouble of making my own if she's just as likely to hate real green beans later. Two, any tips on getting her used to having both the homemade and the jarred? She hasn't taken to the homemade very well (probably because I had already given her the jarred version previouslly), so I've been mixing the two in hopes it will help. But I can't say I'll never use jarred again. Daycare, Grandma, and I all need to have a convenient alternative to the homemade stuff in a pinch!

Thank you!

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answers from Philadelphia on

I've done both, and my kids are no better or worse for it. I don't think it makes a difference. Do what is easier for you. Kids palates will change as they age anyway.

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answers from Dallas on

I didn't do homemade, but my pediatrician told me to start with the green veggies when I introduced solids. My daughter loved them. I started with peas then green beans, then the country veggie mix, then I started with Sweet Potatoes, Corn, etc. My daughter is now 22 months and loves veggies, and actually prefers veggies. Green beans are her favorite, but for a long time it was peas. She eats almost everything. I did veggies for almost 2 months before introducing fruits. But she loves her fruits too. I used Beech-Nut food, and when she was about 8-9 months, I went to their Homestyle versions when I could. They are chuckier and got her prepared for the real thing. My daughter asks for veggies at every meal, and when she wants a snack, she asks for veggies then too.

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answers from Austin on

I made my own just because it was so easy and I already try to cook as much as possible. I purchase ice cube trays to freeze the veggies then placed the cubes in ziploc bags.. Noodles, brown rice, I just did not add salt to the water, like I normally did, until she was 1 year old.

If I made Carrots, I would keep a few to the side and not season them, then I would cook them a little longer. Once they were soft I just poured out the water and mashed them with my potato masher.. Then scooped about 2 tbls into each cube area, covered in plastic wrap and froze them.
Same with all types of squash, yams, peas, green beans, etc. Some people will add butter or cheese, but our daughter never cared for it that way.

As our child really began to self feed, I made it chunkier and then she was able to just eat whatever we ate. As a toddler I learned she really did not care for casserole type things (but likes enchiladas and lasagna), So I would pull out some of the ingredients before I mixed it all up and gave it to her in separate piles on her plate. I still placed a small spoonful of the actual casserole sometimes she tried it and many times she did not. Even spaghetti she wanted it all separated, so I would place plain pasta, the sauce, the meatball, the squash the mushrooms all in different places on her plate.. she controlled the mixing it up. She still does not care for salad dressing but loves huge salads And really dislikes any type of casserole with cream of anything in it.. She does not care for cream gravies.

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answers from Cleveland on

Home made purees don't have to inconvenient. You cook it up and then put it in ice cube trays and freeze. Then you put them in labeled freezer bags and voila! Easy and perfectly perportioned!

How are you preparing your own food? Do you season it at all?

Jarred food are pasteurized and cooked to the point that there are very little vitamins and minerals left in the food. And have you tasted any of the vegetables? Food should NOT taste like that if prepared properly. How old your is little one? Is she old enough to just start giving her small bits of table food and stop the purees all together? They aren't really necessary at all and most of the things you eat are just fine for your little one as long as they are cut up small enough and easily gummed or mushed with their tongue.

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answers from Sacramento on

I used both with my son (although with the jared I only bought the organic varieties with the only ingredients being the food itself and water).

My son IS a great eater. He eats lots and is very adventurous about trying new foods.

That said, I think it has less to do with what kind of purees he was given as an infant and more to do with the flavors he was introduced to and my general attitude about food and meal times through the toddler years.

When I made his food, I did it because it was easier for me. I was making butternut squash soup, so I'd get extra squash and make and freeze some as baby food. Peas in the pasta meant peas in the ice tray for him. Does that make sense.

If your daughter is disliking your homemade stuff when she likes the same veggies in the jar, they might be too strong for her. Try mixing in a little rice cereal or banana to mellow it out.

Good luck,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

I used jarred foods. I like to blame it on being a single working parent with never enough time - but really it was more convenient. My son transitioned to real veggies and fruits without a problem. The one thing I noticed was that if he did not like the food in the jarred form he did not like it in the "real" form either. He didn't like anything with beets then and still doesn't want anything to do with beets now 14 years later. But he eats a ton of veggies, including broccoli and cauliflower.

The one thing I did to encourage his liking of fresh produce was to let him pick out anything he wanted in the produce department when we went grocery shopping. I started this as soon as he started real food. It was the only place in the store that he could "shop at will". LOL So he tried a lot of different things. Some he liked and some he didn't and some I had never tried before - like star fruits.

I think your daughter will be fine as long as you offer her a wide variety of flavors and encourage her to explore new foods.

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answers from San Francisco on

I never made my own baby food. I always used jarred. I used mostly single flavors. My kids eat vegetables. Some better than others, but I think that is where personality, individual preferences come in. My kids are 11, 14, 17, & 19. All healthy despite the fact that I didn't make my own baby food. Do what feels the most comfortable to you.

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answers from New York on

I make my own because I actually tasted the jar and it was revolting to me so I would not expect my baby to eat it. I am what some people call a foodie so cooking for the baby is no big deal to me and taste is worth the extra effort. My son is 8 months old and exclusively breast fed and we introduced solids late because we waited for him to be ready and give us signs... this is called "baby led weaning"
We almost never give purees mostly softly cooked table foods from whatever we are eating for dinner. I season all of our food with salt pepper and butter. My pediatrician said that is fine. I really don't think it matters all that much in the long run what you give them now. If you encourage healthy eating and give variety and interesting foods to them you will get good eaters. ALL kids go through phases where they will not eat one thing or only eat one thing. I do not believe it has anything to do with what you give them as a baby. I will say I think it is more difficult to get used to textures when you give them jarred food but that is about it. Do whatever is convenient for you. There are plenty of healthy jarred foods. I would personally skip the meat in a jar and go with ground chicken poached or sauteed.
I made all the food for my 5 yr old when she was a baby and she is a great eater.
Check out http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com it is super helpful.

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answers from Johnstown on

Yes! My kids eat ANYTHING that's put infront of them. You could be having issues with the homemade because of the texture, not the taste.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

With my oldest daughter I did not make her food, we used jarred until she could do table foods. She started table foods early, around 7 months and by 10 months she was completely off baby food. She has an amazing palate will try just about anything and loves fruits and veggies. With our youngest I was home so I decided I'd make her purees. She is one of the pickiest eaters I have ever seen. She likes certain things a certain way. I am not sure it makes a huge difference to be honest with you. Also, working in a daycare I had parents that left us jarred just in case the child was super hungry one day and they didn't send enough. Those kids always seemed to take both.

Good luck!


answers from Minneapolis on

I agree with Terra D. We used only homemade and our kids will eat anything. Its easy to do, way healthier, cheaper, and tastier.



answers from Boston on

Both my kids ate a variety of different vegetables when young; I fed them organic jarred baby food, but as soon as I could give them mashed up 'real thing' I switched to that. I don't think anything is guaranteed and their tastes definitely changed over time. Until recently my 8 yo boy loved broccoli and is very hesitant to eat it now (but loves artichokes!). My 5yo daughter is better about most vegetables and they both eat all kinds of fruit and will eat 'strange' things like steamed clams and tripe! Just keep encouraging your kids to try things and they may surprise you. :)



answers from Boston on

I swear it's all the persatives that have a negative affect on kids today. My son is 28 months and we did the majority of his food homemade the first 20 months or so and slowly added in Earth's Best Soups and finally some of the Gerber pastas to get him used to textures. He has been very healthy, mild manner and even sleeps great. Plus its so easy to do.

At Walmart you can buy a pkg of 12 Ball 4oz glass canning jars. I bought 2 packages, a 3 tiered steamer, a large oxo food mill and a food processors. I did veggies once a week and fruit once a week. I scrubbed everything - threw it in the steamer and then either the food mill or food processor and right into the jar. A couple went into the fridge and the rest the freezer. If you can do it that's great and you are really only have to do it for a year or so.


answers from Kalamazoo on

My kids ate pretty much only homemade and they both like veggies.



answers from Boston on

I fed my first baby jarred food until he was 1 (I foolishly thought it would be too much trouble to make my own), and then I switched to homemade for him and never fed jarred food to my second or third baby. My first had an issue with textures, but all three of my boys eat a wide variety of foods that other kids won't eat, most notably almost any vegetable (asparagus, cabbage, spinach) or type of fish. I don't know what this means for whether homemade food helps the palate. Jarred food has a lot more sodium, so it seems reasonable to me that it would promote a desire for saltier foods and that healthier foods would thus not be as tasty. On the other hand, one of the main benefits of homemade food is that you can make so many different things that just aren't available in a jar (fish, for example, and asparagus!). It could be that my kids just aren't picky eaters, but I like to think they eat so many different things because I've always fed them so many different things.

I mainly wanted to reccommend Anabel Karmel's cook books, though. In particular, Superfoods, Small Helpings, and Top 100 Baby Purees are great books. Note that you can double recipes your daughter likes, then freeze the meals in ice-cube trays and put the frozen cubes in freezer bags. They will be easy to grab for daycare or Grandma's house, and you have a ready supply of healthy foods when you feel like making a frozen pizza for yourself. Plus, a couple of hours of cooking can provide food for weeks, so making your own baby food becomes much less time consuming than you'd think.


answers from Los Angeles on

I can tell you that if given the store bought, they do prefer it and it is therefore difficult to get them to eat the homemade which is healthier. As far as getting them to like the real stuff, I would say yes, that is probably the case.



answers from Cleveland on

I fed my son only jarred baby food, he's 2 1/2 now and loves all fruits and veggies. When my daughter is ready for solids I plan on making it myself. I was too lazy with my first and I regret that.

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