Home-cooked meals are often perceived as the best option, especially when it comes to infants and young kids. But, a recent study suggests that, home-made foods specifically made for infants and young children, are not always healthier than commercially available baby foods.
The study published online in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, suggests that, home-cooked meals usually exceed energy density and dietary fat recommendations. Home-made foods also includes 44 per cent more protein, 26 per cent more energy and total fat, including saturated fat, than commercial available baby foods.
Sharon A. Carstair from the University of Aberdeen in Britain, said that, "Unlike adult recommendations, which encourage reducing energy density and fats, it is important in infants that food is suitably energy dense in appropriately sized meals to aid growth and development."
Almost two-thirds or nearly 65 per cent of commercial products met dietary recommendations on energy density, while only just over a third of home cooked meals did so, and over half (52 per cent) exceeded the maximum range.
"Dietary fats contribute essential fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins together with energy and sensory qualities, thus are vital for the growing child, however, excessive intakes may impact on childhood obesity and health," Carstair added.
The researchers compared the nutrient content, price, and food group variety of 278 ready-made savoury meals, 174 of which were organic, and 408 home cooked meals, made using recipes from 55 bestselling cookbooks designed for the diets of infants and young children.