The Best Baby Foods, According to a Mom and Registered Dietitian

The best jars, pouches, and finger foods to feed your little one

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Yumi

"Yumi offers fresh, 100% organic foods for eight different stages delivered straight to your doorstep."

Best Pouches: Happy Baby Clearly Crafted Pouches at Amazon

"Happy Baby has an extensive line of 100% organic pouches including single-ingredient fruits and multi-ingredient, nutrient-packed blends."

Best Meat: Serenity Kids at Amazon

"This line of meat pouches is made with ethically sourced and sustainably raised meat and seafood that’s never given hormones or antibiotics."

Best Fresh: Once Upon a Farm

"Once Upon A Farm specializes in pouches of cold-pressed fruits, veggies, and smoothies, plus overnight oats and dairy-free yogurt blends for babies of all ages."

Best Subscription: Little Spoon

"Little Spoon offers 100% organic, individually packaged meals with single-use spoons delivered to your doorstep every two weeks."

Best Cereal: Happy Baby Oats & Quinoa Baby Cereal at Amazon

"Fortified with iron and vitamin C, this organic cereal is a good source of whole grain fiber and protein."

Best Budget: Gerber Organic at Amazon

"Gerber offers a variety of organic jars, pouches, cereals, and snacks at an affordable price for parents on a budget."

Best Finger Foods: Tiny Organics

"The Tiny Organics menu offers veggie-centric 100% organic and plant-based meals that are compatible with baby-led weaning."

Prepared baby food is more of a luxury than a necessity. After all, it’s pretty easy to make baby’s first foods, but it does take some time and equipment, like a blender, ice cube trays, and storage containers. If making your own baby food is just not in the cards due to busy schedules or preferences, prepared baby food is a convenient and nutritious option. Whether you subscribe to the method of starting with purées or letting baby learn to feed themselves via baby-led weaning, there’s a baby food for you. 

If you do end up making most of your baby’s meals, having a few prepared jars or pouches of baby food on hand is a saving grace on days you’re just too wiped out to cook. Plus, they’re easy to toss in a diaper bag if you’re spending an afternoon at the park or visiting the grandparents. 

The baby food market is saturated, and we mean saturated, with options. It can be pretty intimidating and tough to navigate, especially for first-time parents. Everyone wants to give their children the very best, but with so many choices, how do you know where to start? Is fresh better than shelf-stable? Do you choose jars or pouches or both? To choose organic or not? The best baby food for your family comes down to personal preference, comfort, and budget. We’ve compiled this list of the best baby food to bring awareness to some brands you might not be familiar with and help you find what you’re looking for. 

Here, the best baby food to start your little one’s foodie adventure.

Best Overall: Yumi

yumi-baby-food

Courtesy of Yumi

If you want all of your baby’s meals to be freshly prepared and organic but have zero time to do it yourself, Yumi is the answer. The subscription service lets you choose 1-3 fresh meals a day, which can be refrigerated for one week or stored in the freezer for two months, and are delivered weekly. You can opt to have complete control over what meals you receive, or you can let YUMI craft a custom menu based on your baby’s age. You’ll also receive access to a pediatric nutritionist.

Yumi offers foods for eight different stages. Stage one and two meals are smooth single-ingredient purees like beets, apples, and ingredients you don’t see in many store brands like raspberries, dragon fruit, and kidney beans. The advanced stage meals are multi-ingredient blends with advancing textures all the way up to pinchable ingredients, bites, and puffs. With seasonal flavors and fan favorites like pumpkin pie, polenta mushroom bolognese, mango chia pudding, and cauliflower soup, the whole family might want a taste.

The only caveat: If you want to offer your baby animal foods, you’ll have to provide those on your own since all of Yumi’s offerings are plant-based.

Best Pouches: Happy Baby Clearly Crafted Pouches

happy-baby-organics-food-pouches

Courtesy of Amazon

Happy Baby is the clear standout among the sea of baby food pouches available today. The pouches are made with 100 percent organic ingredients, are Project Non-GMO verified, and come in tons of choices.

You’ll find something for every baby, from single ingredients like prunes for babies just starting solids to lots of multi-ingredient, nutrient-packed blends like black beans, beets, and bananas or zucchini, apples, peas, quinoa, and basil.

Its Clearly Crafted line has transparency at its core. You can find the names and locations of the farms they source ingredients from on the brand's website, and each pouch features the recipe used to create, it so you know exactly how much of each ingredient your baby is getting.

Good to Know

The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists created by the Environmental Working Group outline which produce tends to retain the highest and lowest levels of pesticides and herbicides. It’s a useful tool for figuring out when to choose organic ingredients.

Best Meat: Serenity Kids

serenity-kids-chicken-baby-food-pouches

Courtesy of Amazon

It’s easy to find baby food that contains fruits and vegetables, but there are fewer offerings when it comes to meat. Serenity Kids makes it easy to start babies on quality animal protein. Its line of meat pouches is made with ethically sourced and sustainably raised meat and seafood that’s never given hormones or antibiotics.

You can choose from pastured turkey, chicken, or pork, grass-fed beef or bison, and wild-caught salmon. The proteins are mixed with organic vegetables like butternut squash, beets, or carrots, so it’s a complete meal for babies. The meat pouches are recommended for babies 6 months and older, and Serenity Kids also has a line of grain-free puffs and meat and bone broth pouches for toddlers.

Registered dietitian Lauren Manaker says she loves this brand because “it exposes babies to unique and non-sweet flavors, which hopefully will set them up to be adventurous eaters as they get older.”

Best Fresh: Once Upon a Farm

once-upon-a-farm-organic-baby-food

Courtesy of Once Upon a Farm

You’ve probably come across Once Upon a Farm pouches in the refrigerated aisle of your grocery store or seen them promoted by Hollywood actress Jennifer Garner, who co-founded the company. All of Once Upon a Farm’s offerings are made from organic fruits and vegetables that are blended and then cold-pressed to help retain nutrients, flavor, and texture. These pouches need to be stored in the refrigerator.

You’ll find all-fruit, all-veggie, and fruit and veggie blends, overnight oats, dairy-free yogurt, and more in the catalog. You can purchase bulk packages of the pouch and have them delivered straight to your doorstep or find them in some retail locations for individual purchase. 

Jodi Greebel is a Pediatric Registered Dietitian who praises Once Upon a Farm for high-quality ingredients and says, “the fact that they need to be refrigerated is always a good sign of how fresh and close to its natural state a food is.”

Good to Know

You may have heard news stories about some major baby food brands containing heavy metals. Heavy metals are naturally occurring in certain crops like rice. The best way to reduce exposure is to offer a variety of foods to babies. If you want to limit exposure as much as possible, you’ll want to choose foods that are rice-free. Look for cereals made with oats or quinoa, finger foods like puffs, and teething crackers made from alternative ingredients.

Best Subscription: Little Spoon

little-spoon-baby-food

Courtesy of Little Spoon

A baby food subscription service like Little Spoon means getting food on the table is one less thing to worry about. It offers 100 percent organic single and multi-ingredient meals packaged in BPA-free plastic tubs with single-use spoons—delivered to your doorstep every two weeks.

Choose between one and three meals per day and Little Spoon will generate a menu to meet your little one’s nutritional needs. You can also choose your meals at any time if you find your baby prefers certain flavors over others. The meals are plant-based and can be stored in the fridge for two weeks or the freezer for three months.

The menu offers a few single-ingredient meals like pear, zucchini, and prunes, and lots of fruit and veggie blends like Kale, Avocado, Green Apple, Chia and Pitaya Pineapple Spinach Banana Coconut Oil. Keep an eye out for limited-edition seasonal flavors as well.

Best Cereal: Happy Baby Oats & Quinoa Baby Cereal

happy-baby-quinoa-oats-cereal

Courtesy of Happy Baby

Baby cereal is still a popular first food for many families, and we love Happy Baby’s Oats & Quinoa blend. It’s made from organic oats and organic quinoa, which have been finely ground into a powder. It’s fortified with iron and vitamin C, which helps the body absorb iron. 

This cereal is easy to store and scoop since it comes in a resealable pouch. It’s also quick and easy to prepare since there’s no cooking involved. Simply add water, breastmilk, or formula, mix, and serve. The cereal can be made thinner for younger babies by adding more liquid and thicker for older babies by adding less liquid or more cereal.

Best Budget: Gerber Organic

gerber-organic-baby-food

Courtesy of Amazon

The OG of prepared baby food, Gerber offers one of the most extensive selections of baby foods for all ages and stages. And its organic line stands out as one of the most affordable organic options on the market today. Gerber’s organic meals are Project Non-GMO verified and available in glass jars, pouches, and bowls. There's also organic rice and oat cereals and tons of finger foods like puffs, yogurt melts, and teething crackers to choose from.

Meal flavors tend to be simple, single-ingredient fruit or vegetables like apples, pears, or carrots. There are also plenty of classic fruit and vegetable blends, like Pear and Spinach or Apple and Blueberry.

Best Finger Food: Tiny Organics

tiny-organics

Courtesy of Tiny Organics

Tiny Organics is a baby meal delivery service that’s ideal for families following a baby-led weaning approach to starting solids. The plant-based menu is 100 percent organic, non-GMO, and free from the top eight major allergens. Meals are soft finger foods to promote self-feeding and fine motor skills. They’re made from multiple ingredients, including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats like flaxseed oil and extra virgin olive oil, and spices. 

There are meals with fun names like Turn the Beet Around (beet, cabbage, apple) and Oat Em Gee (banana, blueberry, oats, dates), plus classic plant-based dishes like ratatouille (tomato, eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, basil) and hash (potato, spinach, bell pepper, onion) modified for babies.

Meals are shipped frozen and can be heated in the microwave or on the stovetop. You can choose your number of meals, which meals you get in each order, and whether you want them delivered every one, two, or four weeks.

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a complete feeding system for baby’s first bites to more advanced toddler textures, check out Yumi (view at HelloYumi.com). It offers eight different stages of 100 percent organic, fresh baby food that can be delivered weekly. If you want to keep a few pouches on hand for snack and meal options for on-the-go, try Happy Baby Clearly Crafted Pouches (view at Amazon). They’re made from 100 percent organic ingredients and tell you exactly how much of each ingredient is inside.

What to Look for in Baby Food

Ingredients

Baby food should be free of added sugar, salt, and any ingredient(s) you wouldn’t normally cook with, like corn syrup, preservatives, or food dye. If you want to reduce exposure to pesticides and herbicides and avoid genetically modified foods, choose products that are certified organic. Some foods are not 100 percent organic, so check the ingredient list to see if some or all the ingredients are organic.

Variety

Speaking of ingredients, look for brands that offer a variety of flavor combinations. Once your baby advances from single-ingredient foods, offering blends that contain fruits, vegetables, meat, healthy fats, herbs, and spices is a great way to expand little ones’ palates and get the most nutrition bang for your buck.

Packaging

Packaging is one of the most important considerations when choosing prepared baby food. You’ll find prepared baby food in pouches, plastic tubs, and glass jars. Think about how you’ll store and use prepared baby food to determine which type of packaging is best for your needs. 

Pouches have taken over the baby aisle because they’re easy to serve anywhere and way less messy than letting a baby go to town with a bowl and utensils—although that’s really important for development, too! They take up minimal storage space since they can stand upright.

Jarred food is a good option for spoon-feeding babies at home, but it can be harder to store since not all jars stack easily. If you want to minimize the amount of plastic your baby’s food comes into contact with, choose baby food packed in glass jars. The glass jars can be recycled or reused for painting and other kid-friendly crafts.

Look for BPA-free labels on plastic packaging and avoid warming baby food in plastic containers. It’s best to transfer baby food in plastic jars and tubs to a heat-safe dish to warm them in the microwave.

Age Appropriate 

If you’re not sure which baby foods to offer when, look for an age recommendation on the product label. Some products use feeding stages to designate which age a food is best for. You’ll see Stage 1, 2, 3, or 4 on the label. Babies just starting solids around 4-6 months old usually fall in the Stage 1 group, which is usually single-ingredient thinner purees. As the stage advances, more ingredients are included, and the texture becomes thicker and chunkier.

Alternatively, some products are labeled with developmental markers. Happy Family Organics has easy-to-recognize developmental signs, like “sitting baby” and “crawling baby,” to help parents identify age-appropriate food textures and shapes.

Pricing

Baby food can range from $1 to $4 for a shelf-stable jar or pouch and up to $3 to $5 per meal for freshly prepared foods. Babies around 6 months of age tend to eat just one meal a day, but by 8-10 months they may be eating two or three meals a day, so the costs quickly add up.


Consider how many meals per day your baby is eating and how many of them you want to use prepared baby food for. You’ll have to do a little math, but figuring out what your weekly and monthly budget is for baby food will help you select the brand that best fits your budget. 

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Sharon Lehman is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, a first-time mom (established 2020), and the author of this roundup. She’s turned to several brands on this list, including Yumi, Happy Baby, Serenity Kids, and Once Upon A Farm, to help feed her growing baby boy.

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