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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

The Healthiest Baby Food Pouches: 2019

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baby food in the grocery store aisle

When your little one transitions to solids, a common question is: should I buy pre-made baby food pouches or make baby food at home? While it doesn’t necessarily have to be an either-or, many of you know that I’m a huge fan of homemade baby food because it’s so easy and you can control all of the ingredients your little one is getting. I shared all of the recipes I used for Layla and Ayan in my baby food cookbook and put many on my blog here!

But there are those times when you’re on the go, or pressed for time, and you don’t have any homemade baby food on hand. Which is when baby food pouches can be a quick and convenient meal for your little one! But there are SO many baby food pouches out there, and not all of them are healthy. Many are filled with processed ingredients and added sugars. This can set your baby up to only appreciate sweet foods and reject vegetables as they get older. So what should you buy? And what should you avoid? This is your guide to the healthiest baby food pouches available today!

healthiest baby food pouches

So first, can some baby food pouches really be that unhealthy? The food industry knows that babies shouldn’t be having added sugars when they first start solids, right?

Wrong.

As you have probably heard when it comes to buying pre-packaged food, what’s on the front is often misleading. This is also true when it comes to baby food pouches. The front may say spinach and kale, but when you turn it over you’ll find less expensive fillers such as fruit purees, or even fruit juices like apple juice concentrate. Sometimes in a “spinach” pouch the first 3 ingredients are fruits! That’s because, while there may be spinach, the manufacturer is not required to list the percentage of ingredients on the label.

This basically means that your baby is only getting a sweet taste when eating that pouch and isn’t getting exposed to the actual taste of a vegetable. And in those early months of developing tastebuds, getting exposure to all kinds of flavors and tastes is essential to having a baby who doesn’t become a picky eater (who rejects veggies) later on!

healthiest baby food pouches

But it’s so hard, as a parent, to figure out what’s healthy and what’s not. Ingredient labels are confusing, packaging is misleading. I remember when I first gave Layla a baby food pouch and she devoured it. It was a pouch that said “organic super greens” on it. And I remember thinking: “Yeah! She loves greens!” When I turned it over, the ingredients were: bananas, pear, apple, spinach. What??

It has always really bothered me that most baby food pouches (even the ones promoting veggies) contain fruit. Like why add bananas or pears to a carrot & sweet potato pouch? Carrots and sweet potatoes are already naturally sweet – there is no need for fruit purees to make it even sweeter! Since breast milk is naturally sweet, it’s so important that babies learn the other tastes: bitter, sour, pungent, etc. when they start solids. All the fruit purees are essentially taking over your baby’s taste buds, making them think that if food isn’t sweet it’s not worth eating.

On top of that, many pouches that are fruit-forward and look healthy actually have a ton of unnecessary processed ingredients added. Take a look at Gerber’s Fruit & Yogurt Strawberry Banana Pouch.

healthiest baby food pouches

Sugar, Carrot Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavor, Gelatin, Two different types of coloring…

These are all major red-flag ingredients in baby food. What in the world is gelatin doing in a pouch that looks vegetarian-friendly? And for a pouch that is supposed to have apples and strawberries (both of which are rich in fiber), there is less than 1g fiber in the entire pouch because of all of the fillers added. AND this pouch has 14g sugar. That’s as much as 1.5 Fun Sized Milky Way bars, or 1/3 of a can of Coke.

That’s why reading labels is so important to finding healthy, packaged baby food! So how do you find those pouches? Skip to the end of this post for my list of the healthiest baby food pouches! But first…

Here are my Top 5 Tips when looking for a healthy baby food pouch:

  1. Look at the sugar content: Stick to pouches with less than 8g of sugar, but ideally you’ll want to find pouches between 4-6g of sugar. For example, if you look at the front of Ella’s Organic Apples, Green Beans, Raisins pouch, you might think, “green beans are in here, this is great!” But the pouch actually has 13g of sugar from the apples and raisins, while the green beans are a very small addition. 13g sugar is equal to a fun sized milky way bar.
  2. Look to see if the ingredient listed on the front of the package is the first ingredient listed on the back. If you’re buying “spinach and apples,” it’s likely that apples are the dominant flavor. Some companies are more transparent than others on the percentage or amount of each ingredient in the pouch.
  3. Stick to pouches that ONLY have vegetables. These are harder to find, but they do exist. And they actually taste like vegetables! If you do buy one with veggies & fruits, make sure there is <8g sugar, that vegetables are first, and fruits are last on the ingredients list. Beware of labels that make it seem like the pouch only has veggies: there are some deceptive pouches such as Veggie Blends, and Plum Organics Mighty Veggie pouches. These veggie blends also contain fruit, and often has as much or sometimes more sugar than those labeled as fruit blends.
  4. Fiber matters. A good sign that a pouch is either mostly water or fillers is when the fiber content is 1g or less. Aim for pouches with 2g fiber or more.
  5. Avoid ingredients likely to be contaminated with heavy metals. Pouches that have apples, pears, carrots, sweet potatoes, and rice are particularly at risk. (For more details: A study done by the Clean Label Project in 2017 found that 65% of baby food products had detectable levels of arsenic, 36% detectable levels of lead, and 58% contained detectable levels of cadmium. A more recent study done by Consumer Reports in August of 2018 found that out of 50 nationally distributed baby food products, every single one of them had trace amounts of at least one of the heave metals which included arsenic, lead, or cadmium. Two-thirds of those tested had worrisome amounts of heavy metals, and 15 of the foods could pose potential health risk. The pouches that included rice and/or sweet potato were more likely to have higher amounts of heavy metal, and organic foods were just as likely to contain heavy metals as their non-organic counterparts.)
healthiest baby food pouches

There are pouches out there that are organic, vegetable-forward, and don’t have any added sugars or fruit juices in them.

So here it is: the healthiest baby food pouches on the market today, the brands I love, and which pouches to buy. A special shout out to Alison Corey from Trim Mama who helped me with some of the research for this post! If a pouch is not listed on this list, it’s likely either high in heavy metals (per the Consumer Reports and Clean Label Project studies) or too high in sugar/fruits/processed ingredients, and should be avoided. But if you have a question about a particular pouch, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments of this post!

What makes these the best?

  • They contain between 0-8g of natural sugar; and 0g added sugar
  • They have 2g fiber or more
  • They are all organic
  • They don’t carry a risk of heavy metals

The Best Baby Food Pouches (organized by brand):

Ella’s Kitchen Organic

  1. Ella’s Kitchen Veggie Bean Feast, 1g Sugar
  2. Ella’s Spaghetti and Meatball, 1g Sugar
  3. Ella’s Beefy Stew, 2g Sugar
  4. Ella’s Vegetable and Lentil Bake, 3g Sugar
  5. Ella’s Pears, Peas, and Broccoli, 8g Sugar

Amara Organic

  1. Amara – Bean and Sweet Corn, 0g Sugar
  2. Amara – Peas, Corn, Carrots, 2g Sugar
  3. Amara – Pumpkin, Pear, 2g Sugar
  4. Amara – Oats and Berries, 5g Sugar

Beechnut Organics

  1. Beechnut Peas & Spinach, 2g Sugar
  2. Beechnut Peas, Green Bean and Avocado, 4g
  3. Beechnut Corn, Kale, Quinoa, 4g Sugar
  4. Beechnut Veggies, Squash, Peas, Pear, 6g Sugar
  5. Beechnut Apple, Kiwi, Spinach, 6g Sugar
  6. Beechnut Pear, Pumpkin, Cranberry, 7g Sugar
  7. Beechnut Veggies, Carrots, Zucchini, Pear, 7g Sugar
  8. Beechnut Apple, Black Bean, Raspberry, 8g Sugar

Sprout Organic

  1. Sprout – Green bean, peas, butternut squash, 1g Sugar
  2. Sprout – Butternut squash, chickpea, quinoa, dates, 4g Sugar
  3. Sprout – Butternut Squash, Blueberry, Apple, with Beans, 5g Sugar
  4. Sprout – Mixed Berry Oatmeal, 7g Sugar

Once Upon a Farm

  1. Once Upon a Farm – Wild Rumpus Avocado, 4g Sugar
  2. Once Upon a Farm – Sun Shiny Strawberry Patch, 6g Sugar
  3. Once Upon a Farm – Blueberry Rosemary Pear-Fection, 8g Sugar

Plum Organics

  1. Plum – Hearty Veggie, Pumpkin, Spinach, Chickpea and Broccoli, 1g Sugar
  2. Plum – Hearty Veggie, Corn, Kale, Carrot and Tomato, 1g Sugar
  3. Plum – Hearty Veggie, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Chickpea and Corn, 1g Sugar
  4. Plum – Hearty Veggie, Carrots, Beans, Spinach and Tomato, 2g Sugar
  5. Plum – Stage 3 Meals, Carrot, Spinach, Turkey, Corn, Apple, Potato, Celery, Onion, 2g Sugar
  6. Plum – Stage 3 Meals, Carrot, Chickpea, Pea, Beef, Tomato, Celery, Date, Onion, 4g Sugar
  7. Plum – Eat Your Colors Red, 5g Sugar
  8. Plum – Eat Your Colors Orange, 5g Sugar
  9. Plum – Pear, Green Bean and Greek Yogurt, 6g Sugar
  10. Plum – Pear Spinach and Pea, 6g Sugar
  11. Plum – Pear, Purple Carrot and Blueberry, 7g Sugar
  12. Plum – Eat Your Colors Green, 7g Sugar
  13. Plum – Mighty 4 – Guava, Banana, Black Bean, Carrot, Oat, 7g Sugar
  14. Plum – Mighty 4 – Pear, Cherry, Blackberry, Strawberry, Spinach, 7g Sugar

Happy Family Organics

  1. HF – Hearty Meals, Root Vegetables, Turkey and Quinoa, 2g Sugar
  2. HF – Hearty Meals, Harvest Vegetables, Chicken and Quinoa, 2g Sugar
  3. HF – Hearty Meals, Vegetable Beef Medley, 3g Sugar
  4. HF – Green Beans, Spinach, and Pears, 4g Sugar
  5. HF – Zucchini, Pear, Chickpea, Kale 5g Sugar
  6. HF – Purple Carrots, Banana, Avocado, and Quinoa, 6g Sugar
  7. HF – Zucchini, Apples, Peas, Quinoa, and Basil, 6g Sugar
  8. HF – Pear, Green Beans, Peas + Super Chia,  6g Sugar
  9. HF – Pears, Kale, and Spinach, 7g Sugar
  10. HF – Black Beans, Beets and Bananas, 7g Sugar
  11. HF – Pears, Pumpkin, Peaches, and Granola, 7g Sugar
  12. HF – Pears, Peas, Broccoli, 7g Sugar in the new formulation
  13. HF – Pumpkin, Apples, Peached and Cinnamon, 8g
  14. HF – Pears, Squash, and Blackberries, 8g Sugar
  15. HF – Pears, Zucchini, Peas, 8g Sugar
  16. HF – Pears, Pumpkin, Passionfruit, 8g Sugar

Earth’s Best

  1. EB – Broccoli, Red Lentil, Oat, 1g Sugar
  2. EB – Spinach & Potato, 1g Sugar
  3. EB – Carrots & Broccoli, 2g Sugar
  4. EB – Winter Squash, 2g Sugar
  5. EB – Summer Vegetable Dinner, 2g Sugar
  6. EB – Corn & Butternut Squash, 3g Sugar
  7. EB – Peas & Brown Rice, 4g Sugar
  8. EB – Zucchini & Broccoli Medley, 4g Sugar
  9. EB – Spring Vegetables & Pasta, 4g Sugar

White Leaf Provisions

  1. WLP – Carrot, Sweet Potato, Pea, 3g Sugar
  2. WLP – Apple, Sweet Potato, Beet, 8g Sugar
  3. WLP – Mango, Carrot, Banana, Pear, 8g Sugar

I used many of the pouches on this list (prioritizing the flavors listed in bold since those contain only veggies) for my kids when I needed a meal on the go. One thing to note on these pouches is that even if you use them regularly, it’s still important to incorporate a variety of finger foods so your baby becomes familiar with the different textures and flavors of non-pureed food.

healthiest baby food pouches

I know the baby food aisle can be overwhelming at times, but I hope this post helps you find the healthiest baby food pouches with confidence! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment on this post or contact me here! I respond to every single message I get! 🙂




26 responses to “The Healthiest Baby Food Pouches: 2019”

  1. Hello-
    I was wondering how is moms can see if a product has heavy metals in it? I didn’t even know about this and although i made all my daughters baby foods once she got a little older i would allow pitches and she loves the sweet potato one and I’m worried that she has been ingesting heavy metals for some time! Ugh. What on the label would show this?

    • Hi Jessica! That’s a great question! Unfortunately, there is no way for parents to know whether a particular pouch has heavy metals in it or not – it’s not indicated anywhere on the label! Isn’t that crazy? Instead, I’d recommend avoiding pouches that have foods likely to have heavy metal contamination — mainly: anything with rice, anything with other baby cereals – e.g. oatmeal/rice cereal/etc. and anything with sweet potatoes. If you do that you should be able to avoid the concerning levels of heavy metals in baby food! Hope that helps!

  2. Hi Anjali

    Great article. Your content is damn useful and handy. I am a new mom who just started organic single grain oat cereal for my little one. She is just 5 months old. As right now pediatrician recommended to introduce one new food in every 3-4 days so I am trying to stick to homemade food. Due to some unavoidable reasons I am travelling to India next week. Is there anything stage 1 purees you can recommend which I can carry for my trip? I will try to cook but would need a backup

    • Hi Myriam! I was only looking at Baby Food Pouches that are available in the US so I actually hadn’t heard of Love Child Organics since they are not available in the US — it looks like they’re only available in Canada! Most of their pouches are way too high in sugar, but there are a few pouches that I’d recommend: Kale, Peas and Pears; veggie casserole with lentils + quinoa, ratatouille with lentils + white beans, vegetarian chili with sweet potato + kale, pumpkin risotto with spinach + chickpeas, thanksgiving dinner, mango chicken stew, hearty bolognese. Any of those would be a good choice!

  3. Hello! Your articles are very helpful. Wondering if you have heard of the company Little Spoon? I’m getting ready to start baby food; took notes on some of the options you’ve recommended here but was considering ordering from them as well. I’d love to start making it as well but definitely need a convenient option to supplement.

    • Hi Stephanie!! I actually hadn’t heard of Little Spoon before you mentioned it, but I looked them up and they look amazing! I would still watch for the sugar content when ordering their purees, because not all of their purees have 8g sugar or less. But I love that it’s fresh, organic and all of their veggie purees (like the broccoli/spinach one) are JUST veggies! That is fantastic! Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

  4. Hello There! So all of the pouches on this list have been researched for heavy metal levels? I was so upset when I read that was a problem, but I have not been able to find a “safe” list ANYWHERE so I have been struggling

    • Hi Kaitlin! Consumer Reports actually had a great list, and so I used their research when developing my list (so any pouches that Consumer Reports called out as having a risk of heavy metals won’t appear on this list!) In general, sweet potatoes were a big culprit, which is why most of the pouches on my list don’t have sweet potatoes. Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

  5. Thank you so much for this list!! I was wondering if you have you looked into the Parent’s Choice brand (Walmart) organic pouches? The butternut squash and carrots, zucchini & broccoli pouches seem to fit all your criteria. There’s other pouches like the green bean medley that match the criteria except that I don’t see fiber listed, so I assume there is no fiber. What do you think?

    • Hi Elvina! I didn’t know that Walmart had an organic pouch brand! So yes! The Butternut squash, root veggies + apples, carrot/zucchini/broccoli, and green beans all would fit the criteria of my list! To your question – the green beans looks like it has 2g fiber – so that actually looks fine to me! Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

  6. Hey Anjali! Thanks so much for this post – even though I try to use your book as much as possible to make homemade food, I often don’t have time to cook and get so frustrated that most commercial baby foods are so fruit and sugar heavy! So being able to know beforehand which items are lower in sugar is a big help :). However, I noticed that Earth’s Best Organics wasn’t on the list, although I’ve found that their veggie and protein line of foods is pretty low in sugar. So I was just wondering if there was a reason they didn’t make this list. Thanks!

    • Hi Malavika! Great question!! Actually – Earth’s Best has some great options and I’ve updated my post to include them! The reason they weren’t included before was just because most of their healthy options are jars (they only have 2 healthy pouches) and I was looking at pouches only — but now my list is updated to include the jars from Earth’s Best as well! Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

  7. Hi Anjali,

    So when babies start taking solids, they go through a bit of constipation. Pediatricians suggest to take any fruit purées that start with the letter P, like for eg. pear, prunes etc. On the run or while traveling if I have to purchase from the store any of these which brand or brands would you suggest?

    • Hi Krithika! I love this pack of Baby Prunes from Plum Organics. It doesn’t have any other fruits added and it is SUPER effective at alleviating constipation – I used it for both of my kids and even used it for my daughter when she was 3 and had a bit of constipation while potty training! That’s the one I’d recommend – you can just buy it in advance and keep it on hand in case you ever need to use it. If you need to mix it with pears (since some babies don’t like the taste of just prunes) – I like this pouch from Mama Bear Organics. I haven’t personally used that brand but I know a lot of moms like it and the ingredients are good! Hope that helps!

  8. Thank you for all your helpful baby posts Anjali! Your site has been a great resource for me as a first-time mom. I’ve especially enjoyed your posts about essential baby gear and helping baby sleep.

    • Hi Amry! Oh yay! I’m so happy to hear that this post and the others have been helpful to you! I know how overwhelming it can be when you’re a first-time mom (I was certainly overwhelmed when my daughter was born!) So anything I can do to alleviate some of that is what I try to do! 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

  9. Thank you Anjali for this super informative post. I’m a new mom n have just started my baby on solids and I always wondered which among the organic products would be the best. I’ve been trying my best to prep everything at home, but like you said, there are times when traveling we need an alternative.
    Anjali, What is your opinion on multi grain cereals for babies?

    • Hi Soumya! Thanks so much!! I was in the same boat as you – I made most food at home but sometimes you really just need an on-the-go option (travel is a great example!) So I’m so glad this post was helpful for you! As for baby cereals, I really like Holle Oatmeal the best because it’s all natural and has no additives or fillers. You can also just take rolled oats, grind them up in a food processor and cook them the way you would cook regular oatmeal! Let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Thank you Anjali for the response. I had bought Earth’s Best Oats n using it now. I also saw the multi grain cereal in the aisle. If oats alone along with other fruits n veggies works, then I guess I will go that way.
        Also, by when can I start on a combination of 3+ fruits n veggies?
        Your blog has been an eye opener for me personally in a lot of areas. Thank you so much n hats off for the efforts n time you put in to write specially with young kids.

      • Hi Soumya! Earth’s Best Organic in general is a decent brand but their baby oatmeal ended up testing high for heavy metals (based on a consumer reports study) so if you can switch to something else I would! And you can do combinations of 3+ veggies as soon as your little one has had exposure to them – so that way you know your baby isn’t allergic to any of the veggies or fruits in the combination! Hope that helps and happy to answer any other questions you might have!

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