Home-Cooked Baby Foods Cheaper But Not Always Better Than Commercial Products

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sharon Carstairs PhD Student, Public Health Research, Polwarth Building, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The introduction of solid foods is a key period when the mil diet is no longer able to meet all dietary needs, additionally it is a key time for food learning and development of eating preferences in a child’s life. It is vital that children are provided with nutritionally balanced foods as well as a variety of foods to meet dietary requirements and are exposed to different tastes and textures. Some parents provide home-cooked meals however, there is a large market of commercially available infant/toddler meals which can provide parents with a convenient alternative to home-cooking. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Our main findings indicate that home-cooked recipes based from infant and toddler cookbooks are a cheaper meal option and contain greater nutrient levels, such as protein, compared to commercially available infant/toddler meals. However, when we compare nutrient levels to recommendations the majority of these home-cooked recipes (50%) exceed energy density (ED) recommendations and 37% exceed dietary fat recommendations. In comparison, the majority of commercial meals (65%) meet these ED recommendations and provide a greater vegetable variety per meal however, are below the recommendations for dietary fat. MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Response: Readers need to be aware that despite providing a cheaper option with greater nutrient levels to commercial meals, the majority of home-cooked recipes from targeted cookbooks exceed recommendations for energy density and dietary fats. The majority of commercial meals in contrast meet energy density recommendations and provide greater vegetable variety per meal than home-cooked recipes however, are below recommendations for dietary fat which is an essential component in the diet of young children. MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study? Response: Our study did not investigate the micronutrient content of meals as this data was not available on commercial product labels. Furthermore, we did not investigate the inclusion of additives and preservatives within these meal types. Future work should therefore include these aspects to provide parents with a complete picture. MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Response: It is vital to remember that both home-cooked and commercial main meals incorporate only a part of the daily diet and these should be considered in the context of a whole daily diet. The inclusion of a variety of foods and textures is paramount to a child’s food learning experience and must be considered in the foods offered to young children. MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community. Citation: Bmj A comparison of preprepared commercial infant feeding meals with home-cooked recipes Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions. More Medical Research Interviews on MedicalResearch.com

Sharon Carstairs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sharon Carstairs PhD Student

Public Health Research
University of Aberdeen,
Aberdeen

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The introduction of solid foods is a key period when the milk diet is no longer able to meet all dietary needs, additionally it is a key time for food learning and development of eating preferences in a child’s life. It is vital that children are provided with nutritionally balanced foods as well as a variety of foods to meet dietary requirements and are exposed to different tastes and textures. Some parents provide home-cooked meals however, there is a large market of commercially available infant/toddler meals which can provide parents with a convenient alternative to home-cooking.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Our main findings indicate that home-cooked recipes based from infant and toddler cookbooks are a cheaper meal option and contain greater nutrient levels, such as protein, compared to commercially available infant/toddler meals. However, when we compare nutrient levels to recommendations the majority of these home-cooked recipes (50%) exceed energy density (ED) recommendations and 37% exceed dietary fat recommendations.

In comparison, the majority of commercial meals (65%) meet these ED recommendations and provide a greater vegetable variety per meal however, are below the recommendations for dietary fat.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Readers need to be aware that despite providing a cheaper option with greater nutrient levels to commercial meals, the majority of home-cooked recipes from targeted cookbooks exceed recommendations for energy density and dietary fats.

The majority of commercial meals in contrast meet energy density recommendations and provide greater vegetable variety per meal than home-cooked recipes however, are below recommendations for dietary fat which is an essential component in the diet of young children.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our study did not investigate the micronutrient content of meals as this data was not available on commercial product labels. Furthermore, we did not investigate the inclusion of additives and preservatives within these meal types. Future work should therefore include these aspects to provide parents with a complete picture. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: It is vital to remember that both home-cooked and commercial main meals incorporate only a part of the daily diet and these should be considered in the context of a whole daily diet. The inclusion of a variety of foods and textures is paramount to a child’s food learning experience and must be considered in the foods offered to young children.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Sharon A Carstairs, Leone CA Craig, Debbi Marais, Ourania E Bora, Kirsty Kiezebrink. A comparison of preprepared commercial infant feeding meals with home-cooked recipes. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 2016; archdischild-2015-310098 DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2015-310098
Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on MedicalResearch.com

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