Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Adventures in solids: Raisin bread Vs Puffs + Cheerios

As my daughter got older I realized that I had to give her more than pureed fruits and veggies. Her pediatrician told me to give her finger foods that she could learn to feed herself and learn how to chew. When we were home it was easy to give her diced fruits and veggies either in their raw state or partially steamed, but for her daycare I needed something a bit less messy. Fruits and veggies can often get quite mushy, messy and hard to pick up from a tray. For this reason a lot of people recommended dry baby foods like puffs or cheerios.  I wasnt crazy about the idea but I decided to look into it. I never really understood what puffs were made out of, so I was a bit reluctant to give her those,  but I decided to do a bit of research.

It turns out that puffs are a mystical 'melt in the mouth' cereal snack for babies that helps teach them how to feed themselves and how to chew. I guess you'll forgive my ignorance, but if the puffs melt in their mouth how does that teach them about chewing? I also noticed that all the brands I researched were primarily made out of rice flour (sometimes a little oat flour too), and were sweetened with sugar, or fruit juice concentrate. They also all contained a big dollop of flavorings, color, and preservatives in them.  I wasn’t too thrilled with the ingredients of any of the brands I looked at.  I decided to pass on puffs because I didn’t see any benefit to feeding them to her. During their first year babies don’t eat a lot of solid food so I think it’s important to make every bite count.

The next option I had was cheerios.

Again I heard a lot of moms telling me how great cheerios were as a healthy fun snack. I was a little skeptical because during my pregnancy I had read from my Bradley books that boxed cereals weren’t really the healthiest breakfast option out there, especially highly processed cereals like cheerios.  I decided to pay closer attention to the ingredients to see if they passed my strict test. I started out from their website, I must be honest I do like all the questions and answers they provide on their site regarding nutritional information of their cheerios products.  However I was a bit disappointed with a few things. Firstly I didn’t understand why even the Original cheerios that doesn’t have the sweet taste still has sugar listed as the third ingredient.  They boast that the original cheerios only have 1 gram of sugar per 24gram serving. But why is there any sugar in there if they aren’t sweet and then why so much salt? They have 160mg of salt per serving.  Most children prefer the honey nut cheerios because they are sweet, and those have 9grams of sugar per serving not to mention the honey which isn’t ideal for infants under the age of one.  I also don’t like that it is fortified with all these chemical vitamins and minerals, I would much rather have my child consume foods that are naturally rich in vitamins and minerals. I decided to hold off on cheerios until my baby is a little older when she can have it with milk and fruit.

I felt like I was running out of options for a ready to eat, dry finger food until I stumbled upon a bakery product. I seriously love bread and baked goods. I could live on them all my life. I worked in a bakery inside of a supermarket for about three years and rather than turn me off bread, it actually  intensified my love of bakery products. I always have some type of raisin bread at home, either from the local bakery, the supermarket and or from cafes like Panera Bread.  I happened to have the Pepperidge farm brand at home one day and was about to eat a slice when my baby reached out for it. I thought there couldn't be much harm in letting her try it so I broke off a small piece for her just to see her reaction and she loved it!!! Since then,  it has become one of her favorite snacks.

 I like it for several reasons;
It contains raisins which are a sweet but healthy snack for young children, and it is a much fresher alternative than puffs or cheerios. It has cinnamon which is one of the many spices I am trying to gradually introduce to her.  It is a baked bread product that has a short shelf life like regular bread, so it hasn’t been sitting on a shelf for months. And the ingredients are not a mystery to me. It is easy to carry around on days o ut and doesn't require refrigeration. It is much lower in sodium than cheerios. Even though it does contain added sugar and fructose from corn syrup, I still feel that  the sum of their ingredients are healthier overall and have a higher nutritional value as compared to cheerios and puffs..

Usually I cut up a slice of raisin bread into small pieces for her to feed herself.  She is 10 and half months now and really enjoys feeding herself. She would happily eat raisin bread all day, every day if I let her. But I try not to give it to her too often because it is still a processed food, and too much of it can cause constipation.  I have also used it to make raisin bread french toast which she adores!

Raisin bread french toast


  1. I like her adventure in solids! Nice to hear how she has found solids and what she likes

    1. Thanks Maz, it truly is an adventure for us all