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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!

Anjali Shah

The Best Baby Food Pouches (2024 Guide)

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure.

This is your guide to the healthiest and best baby food pouches on the market today! Learn what to look for, what to avoid, which are the most trustworthy brands, and more!

A grocery store aisle of baby food.

When your little one transitions to solids, a common question is: should I buy pre-made baby food pouches or make my own 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 is relatively simple to make and is an easy way to know 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 in my baby food recipes section!

But there are times when you’re traveling, pressed for time, or you just don’t have any homemade baby food on hand. Which is when baby food pouches can be a quick and convenient snack or meal for your little one!

The decision on which baby food to buy, however, can be an overwhelming one. There are many baby food pouches out there and not all of them are healthy. Many are filled with processed ingredients and added sugars and some have recently been reported to contain unhealthy levels of heavy metals (source). 

High levels of heavy metals can be toxic to small growing bodies (source) and excessive sugar in the diet at a young age is known to shape taste preferences and food choices later in life (source). While the main concern for babies is added and processed sugar, not the naturally occurring fructose sugar found in fruits, honey, and sugar cane (source), acclimating your child’s taste buds to vegetables as well as fruit when they are young can set them up for preferring healthier and more well-rounded diets when they get older. 

Which is why I recommend avoiding pouches with added processed sugar when you can. This is usually pretty easy to do since most pouches on the market today are made with just fruit, vegetables, and grains. But still, which are the healthiest baby food pouches? Which are made with too much fruit or contain unhealthy levels of heavy metals? 

Read on for your complete guide to the best baby food pouches available today, what to look for when shopping for baby food, which baby food pouches to avoid, and answers to common questions.

A baby food pouch and small dish of food on the counter.

But First, A Disclaimer

As a board-certified health coach and certified nutritionist, I support baby food brands that are made with whole foods, do not have added processed sugars, and are reported to be low in heavy metals, as all of these principles are rooted in science and are evidence-based to be most nutritious for children (source). This post has also been medically reviewed and fact checked by Linzy Ziegelbaum, MS, RD, CDN (see my about page for more info about Linzy).

The FDA does not review baby food brands for safety before they go to market, so I prioritize brands that are Clean Label Project Purity Award winners or are confirmed by Consumer Reports to be safe for baby consumption. 

Though I may receive a commission (at no extra expense to you) if you purchase through some of the affiliate links provided, I only recommend products I’ve researched, evaluated, consulted experts on, and would feel comfortable giving to my own two children. As always, I only share products that are the highest quality and that can help you and your family the most. By purchasing any of these products from the links below, you help keep this blog running, so thanks for your support!

Always speak with a registered dietitian or physician about your child’s diet and nutrition before making a change to what they eat. The information shared in this post is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard or delay in seeking professional medical advice because of something you read here and always consult with your doctor or dietitian regarding any questions you may have about baby food. 

All product prices are accurate at the time of this publication but are subject to change.

The Best Baby Food Pouches (Organized By Brand)

There are many baby food brands out there, so how are you to know which ones are the best for your little one? I set out to research every brand out there – looking into their ingredients, grams of sugar per serving, Clean Label Project status, Consumer Reports reviews, and more – to determine the best baby pouches currently available for sale. 

Read on to learn why I recommend each brand, which particular pouch varieties I love, and where to find them. If a pouch is not listed on this list, it’s either too high in heavy metals or too high in sugar and should be avoided. See my lists below for specific brands to watch out for. 

I used many of the pouches on this list for my own kids, prioritizing the favorite pouch varieties shared below, as many of them are the lowest in sugar or have vegetables as the first two ingredients. They were great way to give my kids a healthy snack or meal on the go and to introduce them to vegetables and nutritious foods from a young age.

Holle Organic Baby Food

Holle baby food pouches on a white background.

Why I Love It: Holle is one of my favorite brands when it comes to baby products! They make exceptionally high-quality products and the cleanest baby food and organic formula today.

Just like their formula, this organic and natural baby food is made in Europe. It is one of the only organic baby food brands that is certified both organic and biodynamic, which means that their farming practices go above and beyond just regular organic standards (source).

All of their different flavors of food are unsweetened, made with only fruits and vegetables, and still have great flavor – making it my pick for one of the best baby food brands.

Favorite Pouch Varieties: 

Price: $35.88 for 12 pouches (or $2.99/pouch)

Where To Buy It: Organic’s Best, Amazon, Whole Foods

Cerebelly Organic Custom Pouches

Cerebelly baby food pouches on a white background.

Why I Love It: Cerebelly is another great healthy baby food brand. Created by a neurosurgeon, Ph.D., and mother of three, all of Cerebelly’s baby food purees are created to support brain health and your baby’s development.

In addition to being made with USDA organic ingredients and being packaged in BPA-free material, every variety of this baby food brand also contains an organic nutrient blend derived from pumpkin seeds, seaweed, and spinach. Cerebelly’s pouches also have DHA to support brain health, cognition, and behavior (source).

This brand is Clean Label certified, meaning that these pouches have reached Clean Label’s incredibly high standards when tested for 400 different contaminants, including heavy medicals, pesticides, chemicals, and plastic. Cerebelly was the first shelf-stable baby puree to receive this award, making them the best baby food pouches without heavy metals.

Another thing that I love about Cerebelly is that they are great for young children of many ages. Not only can babies eat them but they are safe for older kids too, making them one of the best toddler pouches!

In fact, the company will recommend the best food pouches for your baby’s age and unique needs. Just fill out a quick survey including info about your child’s age and what they’re up to. Cerebelly will then recommend a personalized pack of organic purees with the right blend of nutrients, and it gets shipped right to your door! Don’t have time for the quiz? No problem, they can also recommend bundles of pouches by age!

Favorite Pouch Varieties: 

Price: $35.96 for 12 pouches (or almost $3/pouch) or subscribe and save for up to 15% off.

Where To Buy It: Cerebelly’s Website, Amazon, Whole Foods, Target, Walmart

Serenity Kids

Serenity kids baby food pouches on a white background.

Why I Love It: I love Serenity Kids because ALL of their pouches are under 5 grams of sugar! They are nutrient-dense, 100% organic and non-GMO, made with super clean ingredients, and have no added preservatives or sugars, making them one of the best purees for babies.

This brand was started by a husband and wife team trying to find a better option for baby food for their daughter because they had so many negative repercussions from their own childhood diets.

All of the Serenity kids pouches are third-party tested by the Clean Label Project and the company also holds their products to European standards, which are known to be some of the strictest (source).

No Serenity Kids products contain added sugar or sugary fruits and many of them also contain good fats and essential fatty acids. The purees come in recyclable BPA-free pouches, making them a healthy and sustainable option, too.

Favorite Pouch Varieties: 

Price: $33.95 for 8 pouches ($4.24/pouch) or subscribe and save for up to 20% off.

Where To Buy It: Company Website, Amazon, Target, and Whole Foods. 

Once Upon A Farm

Once upon a farm brand baby food pouches.

Why I Love Them: Though Once Upon a Farm was started by Cassandra Curtis and Ari Raz in 2015, they recently partnered up with former Annie’s CEO John Foraker and actress Jennifer Garner to grow and expand the company into one of the best organic baby foods on the market. This brand is now offered in 13,000+ U.S. retailers. In addition to baby food pouches, they make healthy A2 milkshakes, oat bars, and pasta meals, for infants, older babies, and young kids.

In addition to being Clean Label Certified, these pouches (and all of the Once Upon a Farm products) are USDA-certified organic and non-GMO project verified, making them one of the safest baby foods for your child. Every product is free of preservatives, added colors or sweeteners, and refined sugar. 

The biggest factor that sets Once Upon a Farm apart from the rest is that they never use extreme heat when preparing the food. Instead, they cold-pressure treat them to destroy any potentially harmful human pathogens while preserving the ingredients’ nutrients (source). Because of this, all of their foods are found in the refrigerator aisle of your grocery store. The company also works with its supply chain partners to keep the product cold throughout its entire transportation journey. 

A bonus reason to love Once Upon a Farm is that they are the first fresh baby food brand made available for WIC. They have also partnered with the Save the Children Foundation and have pledged to provide 1 million meals to children living in food-insecure areas of the United States by 2024.

Favorite Pouch Varieties: 

Price: $2.99-$3.59 per pouch

Where To Buy It: Company Website, Walmart, Whole Foods, Target, and most major supermarkets.

White Leaf Provisions

A box of White Leaf Provisions Biodynamic brand baby food.

Why I Love It: If you are looking for a transparent baby food company or are interested in regenerative farming, White Leaf Provisions is for you!

Regenerative farming, or farming that focuses not just on being sustainable, but on helping to restore the health and fertility of soil, is at the core of this company. White Leaf Provisions is a family business run by a husband and wife team who were disappointed by the lack of transparency and clean baby food brands on the market when their son was born. In response, they created the first 100% regeneratively farmed, biodynamic, organic, and GMO-free baby food line to retail in the US!

This brand certainly makes some of the best puree baby food. I love their pouches because the ingredients are so pure, they are working to reverse the issue of heavy metals using regenerative farming, and the majority of them have less than 8 grams of sugar per pouch! And, they are offering all of my readers 10% off your purchase by using the code “PICKYEATS” at checkout! 

Favorite Pouch Varieties: 

Price: $20.75 for 6 pouches (or $3.46 per pouch) or subscribe and save for 10% off.

Where To Buy It: Company Website, Amazon, and Whole Foods 

More Baby Food Options For International Readers

  • Canada: Baby Gourmet has a couple of good options (e.g. their roasted squash and fruit medley has only 6 grams of sugar!), and their savory meals are low in sugar as well. They are available for sale through the company website and are available at many major Canadian grocery stores.
  • Britain & European Union: Ella’s Kitchen Organic used to be available in the United States but now is only available in Britain and the European Union. They offer many high-quality, organic, and sustainable baby food pouches that can be shipped from their company website.

Healthy Non-Pouch Baby Food Options

Recently many new healthy baby food brands have come onto the market that are not in pouches – some are not even purees – that are great options for little ones. 

Below are my favorite options for baby pouch alternatives. All of the brands are made with organic foods when possible, have no added processed sugar, are Clean Label Project certified to be non-toxic baby food, and make nutritious meals for babies and toddlers.

Bonus: Feel free to make these options more versatile and portable by scooping them into the best reusable baby food pouches! These silicone pouches are easy to clean with a bottle brush, perfect for babies to self-feed from, do not have a choking hazard cap, do not wear out, and are better for the environment than single-use pouches.

Amara Organic

Photo of a pouch of Amara organic baby food -- peas corn and carrots mash.

Why I Love It: Though you need to mix these organic powdered baby foods with warm water, breast milk, or milk in a bowl, they are high quality, reconstitute quickly, and have many low-sugar options. Because you can control the amount of liquid added to the food, this baby food is known for its superior texture. It also is made without high heat processing, resulting in food that retains more of its naturally occurring nutrients. 

This food is perfect for long-distance travel, as they are lighter and easier to pack, and for babies who are comfortable eating with a spoon. Amara blends can be scooped into reusable food pouches before feeding, too!

Favorite Pouch Varieties: 

Price: $59.99 for 20 pouches (almost $3 per pouch) or subscribe and save for up to 15% off.

Where To Buy It: Company Website and Amazon 

Little Spoon

Baby about to grab a spoonful of little spoon baby food.

Why I Love It: If you are looking for guidance on how to start solid foods for your baby, Little Spoon offers many great baby foods and products to lead the way. This Clean Label certified company offers six stages of organic and non-GMO baby food for ages 6 to 9 months and beyond. 

With a fantastic offering of diverse blends, such as kale carrot pear, butternut squash golden beet cinnamon, and strawberry basil gazpacho, Little Spoon will introduce a variety of new flavors to your baby’s young palate. With every progressive stage of baby food, they present increasingly different textures as well. Talk about one of the best baby puree brands.

Little Spoon is only available through their subscription service, but it is very easy to pause, cancel, or adjust your order at any time. Also, though these baby food purees come in cups, they are exceptionally easy to spoon or funnel into one of your favorite reusable baby food pouches! 

Favorite Flavor Varieties: 

Price: Starting at $2.96 per cup.

Where To Buy It: Little Spoon Company Website

Square Baby

Open baby food containers with baby spoons.

Why I Love It: Created by a dietitian and a certified genetic counselor who were fed up with all of the fruit-forward baby food blends, Square Baby offers nutritious whole-food meals that are complete nutrition for your baby. Since each meal delivers your child’s complete needs for fruit, veggies, protein, and fats, there’s no need to supplement with any other foods.

Additionally, because Square is so balanced, their purees have half of the sugar and twice the amount of protein (up to 2 grams of protein per 4 oz. cup), and healthy fats as the average pouch. 

See all of the ingredients in each square cup of food on the easy-to-read lid. You will always see vegetables as the number one ingredient because the company commits to having more veggies than any other food group in each meal.

Square Baby was awarded the Clean Label Project Purity Award, meaning that they have been tested for heavy metals, pesticides, residues, and more, making it one of the all-around best baby foods without heavy metals.

Bonus: Square Baby also offers a one-of-a-kind allergy introduction menu, as recent studies indicate that introducing common allergens as young as 4-6 months may help prevent food allergies (source). This company is also a women-owned business! 

Favorite Flavor Varieties: 

Price: Starts at $4.98 per meal.

Where To Buy It: Square Baby Company Website 

Lil’ Gourmets

Packages of little gourmets baby food on a white background.

Why I Love It:  Introduce your baby and toddler to global flavors and vegetables while feeling good about their food having no added sugars with Lil’ Gourmets! 

These food cups are made with vegetables first, with each cup meeting 100% of a baby’s veggie requirements and 50% of a toddler’s. These fresh baby food blends are always organic and, as the name suggests, gourmet. Set up your subscription service on the company website or find them at many local retailers. 

Lil’ Gourmets is Clean Label Project Certified, verifying that these are safe for heavy metals, pesticides, and more. 

Favorite Flavor Varieties: 

  • Cauliflower Mash
  • Cinnamon Beets and Apples
  • Pumpkin and Bean Shawarma
  • Moroccan Squash
  • Sweet Potato Curry
  • Corn and Bean Gazpacho 

Price: $33.50 for 8 cups ($4.19 per cup) or subscribe and save for up to 10% off.

Where To Buy It: Company Website, Amazon, Whole Foods, and Sprouts.

What Can Make Baby Food Pouches Unhealthy?

The food industry knows that babies shouldn’t be having added sugars when they first start solids, right? Governmental agencies such as the FDA have high standards and set regulations how much sugar can be in baby food, right? 


As you have probably heard when it comes to buying pre-packaged food, what’s on the front is often misleading (source). 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 and sweeter 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 relies on the fruits for flavor and sweetness. Companies are not required to list the percentage of ingredients on the label, just the list of ingredients in decreasing quantities, making labeling confusing and misleading.

When this happens, it means that your baby is only getting a sweet taste when eating that pouch and often isn’t getting early exposure to the actual taste of vegetables. In the early months of developing taste buds, 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 (source)!

In addition to sugar content, heavy metal contamination of baby food has been a growing issue of concern in recent years. A 2018 Consumer Reports inquiry into the matter found that 95% of popular brands of baby food that were tested contained toxic levels of heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. 

Related: Homemade Baby Teething Biscuits

Baby food in a white bowl with sliced vegetables surrounding it on a white plate.

Why Are Heavy Metals An Issue With Baby Foods?

Heavy metals in baby foods are very alarming for a few reasons: first of all, they are detrimental to anyone to ingest, but are particularly harmful to young children, as they have smaller bodies and absorb more of the metals than adults do (source).

Upon entering the bloodstream, the metals can affect children’s cognition, brain development, and more (source). Secondly, until just recently (around 2021-2022), baby food manufacturers were not regulated by the FDA, and were encouraged to set their own standards. It wasn’t until independent agencies evaluated the baby food brands that the public (and the medical community) even realized that heavy metal contamination in baby food was an issue! 

When it comes to heavy metals, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages parents to consider this a point of concern, not worry, encouraging parents to focus on feeding their babies and children a wide variety of foods to prevent them from ingesting elevated concentrations of the metals from one food source (source).

After all, heavy metals makes its way into food through the soil, and is more commonly found in some foods than others. The foods most commonly containing heavy metals are rice, rice infant cereal, sweet potatoes, carrots, o-shaped cereal, teething crackers, fruit juices, raisins, and granola bars with raisins (source). 

Furthermore, the AAP shares that it is the total exposure to heavy metals, not just what is in baby food and your child’s diet, that factors into heavy metal toxicity (source). Regardless of the AAP recommendations, many parents want to do what they can to limit their children’s exposure to heavy metals.

Though the FDA has launched the Closer to Zero Initiative, and Congress has been pushing the Baby Food Safety Act (source), the FDA has been slow to enact regulations that protect our children, and their standards for heavy metals may be too high (source), increasing the need for third-party testing, such as Clean Label Project Purity

Clean Label Project Purity tests baby food, baby formula, and other products for over 400 contaminants: including heavy metals, pathogens, pesticides, and more. Any product or baby food that has been awarded this label is therefore a nontoxic baby food and has received priority for my list above. It’s also a good label to look out for when evaluating other new baby food puree brands that are not listed on this post.

What To Look For In Healthy Baby Food Brands

In addition to looking for the Clean Label Project Purity icon when shopping, here are a few guides that can help you choose the healthiest baby food: 

  1. Look at the sugar content. Stick to pouches with less than 8 grams of sugar, but ideally, you’ll want to find pouches between 4-6g of sugar. For example, if you look at the front of a pouch of organic apples, green beans, and raisin puree, you may think, “green beans are in here, this is great!” But the pouch actually has 13g of sugar (the same amount of sugar in fun-sized Milky Way bars!) from the apples and raisins, while the green beans are a very small addition. 
  2. Check the ingredients list at the bottom of the nutrition label. More specifically, 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, but it’s preferred if spinach is the first ingredient and apples are the second. Some companies are more transparent than others on the percentage or amount of each ingredient in the pouch, so you can keep an eye out for that too.
  3. When possible, stick to pouches that ONLY have vegetables. These are harder to find, but they do exist. Brands such as Cerebelly, Serenity Kids, Little Spoon, Lil’ Gourmets, and White Leaf Provisions offer some of the best options when it comes to all vegetable purees. If you do buy a pouch with both veggies & fruits, make sure there are less than 8 grams of sugar, that vegetables are first, and fruits are last on the ingredients list to ensure that your kid is getting more of the good stuff. Of course, always be sure to check for artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, and flavors, too.
  4. Always opt for fiber. Fiber matters. It helps fill your child up, aids in digestion (source), and helps you to know that the post is made with more whole foods and less water or fillers. A good sign that a pouch is either mostly water or fillers is when the fiber content is 1g or less. If possible, always aim for pouches with 2g fiber or more.
  5. Limit ingredients likely to be contaminated with heavy metals. As shared above, pouches that have carrots, sweet potatoes, and rice are particularly at risk. Though the AAP says that your child can enjoy these foods in moderation and as part of a part of a broader varied diet, I always recommend purchasing Clean Label Project certified pouches when buying a pouch with one of these ingredients. Otherwise, look for pouches with other low-heavy-metal risk ingredients such as organic kale, spinach, peas, butternut squash, beans, avocado, olive oil, yogurt, and other ingredients that aren’t grown in the ground. 
  6. Organic. If possible, opt for organic pouches to limit pesticide exposure. If budget is a concern, many of the websites for the companies listed above offer up to 15% discounts when you order in bulk or subscribe and save. Other brands, such as Once Upon a Farm, are also now WIC-approved.
A box of Earth's Best organic butternut squash pear food pouches on a white background.

Middle Of The Road Baby Food Pouch Brands

What follows is my list of middle-of-the-road baby food pouch brands or ones that I would recommend treating with caution when purchasing. Read on for the reasons why I rated them as such: some were too high in fruit and sugars, and others are made by a brand that has been under scrutiny for issues related to heavy metals in other baby products. 

Pumpkin Tree Peter Rabbit Organics: You may have seen this brand of baby food pouches at grocery stores, cafe shops, and more. If you are wondering if Peter Rabbit Organics contain heavy metals, they have not been shown to do so, but they are made with more fruits than vegetables, making their sugar content high. They are a great option if nothing else is available, but one that I would be hesitant to recommend as your go-to. 

Kirkland Signature Organics: Costco’s white label name is known for quality and their baby food pouches are no exception. The Kirkland fruit and vegetable pouches haven’t been found to contain heavy metals and are organic. They are in my middle-of-the-road category because they are made with mostly fruits and have relatively high sugar content, coming in at around 10 grams of serving per pouch. 

Little Journey Baby Food: Or, Aldi’s brand of baby food. If you are wondering “is little journey baby food safe?” The answer is a nuanced one. Though Little Journey baby food pouches haven’t been found to contain high levels of heavy metals, their rice products have, so you may want to think twice about their pouches, or be intentional with what products you choose to purchase from this brand.

Earth’s Best: Unfortunately, Earth’s Best Organic Sweet Potatoes was reported to contain concerning levels of lead by Consumer Reports (source), making it a brand that I would definitely not recommend purchasing pouches made with sweet potatoes, carrots, or rice from. Because of this issue, many parents (including myself) may feel more comfortable completely avoiding this brand altogether, but it is a matter of research and personal preference. 

Sprout Organics: Though not all of their pouches are problematic, some of their products were listed by Consumer Reports as ones to reduce consumption of or avoid altogether (source), so choose carefully if you decide to purchase from them and avoid buying pouches made with sweet potatoes, carrots, or rice. 

Happy Baby Organics (Also Known as Happy Family): Though Happy Baby shared with Consumer Reports that they test every lot of finished baby products and are committed to looking for farms with lower levels of heavy metals in their soil, they still are a company of concern. For example, some of their baby food purees were recently tested to show lower levels of contaminants than in 2018, but other products (namely their puffs) still had just as concerning heavy metal profiles. For more information, see this Consumer Reports follow-up report.

A pack of plum organic mighty builders on the counter.

Baby Food Brands To Watch Out For

  • Plum Organics: Plum Organics has been found in all Consumer Reports and Clean Label Project inquiries to be one of the biggest offenders when it comes to heavy metals. Also, although the brand labels many of their pouches as being vegetable-forward, they are often high and sugar and made with mainly fruit (source). Therefore, Plum Organics baby food is not a safe nor a healthy option for your baby, making it one that I recommend you avoid.
  • Beechnut Naturals: Though this brand has recently eliminated rice products from their line of baby food to lower the number of products with heavy metals in them, some of Beechnut’s baby food containing sweet potatoes still had dangerously high levels of heavy metals when tested in 2023 (source). Since they knowingly have kept this product on the market and also have many blends that are fruit and sugar-heavy, I recommend avoiding this brand if possible. 
  • Gerber: Some of Gerber’s organic food pouches that do not contain sweet potatoes or carrots may be safe from a heavy metals and pesticides perspective (source), but they do tend to be high in sugars and fruit. If you do decide to purchase them, it may be a good idea to check the ingredients label before doing so. Gerber was also elusive with requests for heavy metal information on their baby food products (source), raising concerns about what they are hiding and therefore making them a company that I am hesitant to recommend.

When Is My Child Ready For Baby Food?

You will know that your baby is ready to start trying baby food when they have adequate neck strength and head control to sit up independently. Once they have reached this milestone and are showing interest in, reaching for, or trying to grab your food, they are ready to start trying solid foods (source).

You will have confirmation that your decision to try solid food was the right one when they swallow the food instead of spitting it back out (source). For most children, they are ready to start trying foods around 6 months. Some may be ready as early as 4 months, but health experts recommend not introducing baby food or any other solids before this point (source).

How To Feed Solid Food Along With Formula Or Breast Milk

Though the popular phrase “food before one is just for fun” calms some parents’ anxieties about the food introduction and weaning process, experts have pushed back on the claim, stating that is a myth (source).

Introducing food when your baby shows interest in it and is developmentally ready for it (see the notes above), supplies your baby with additional nutrition that they need starting at around 6 months as well as supports sensory and social development related to eating food.

Recent research also shows that the more foods they are introduced to at 4 months and beyond, the wider and more balanced their diet may be as they get older (source). 

Though your child will get the bulk of their nutrition from formula or breast milk before 1 year, they will naturally start to increase the quantity of the solids foods they are eating as they need more energy. As their volume of food increases, the amount of formula or breast milk they drink naturally decreases (source).

How To Wean Using Solids

A good place to start the weaning process is by offering solids one time per day while keeping their formula or milk schedule consistent. Slowly work in more solid feedings per day, either offering one less bottle or milk feeding for each solid feeding or keeping the same number of formula milk feedings while reducing the volume of milk or formula at those feedings by an ounce or two. If you are breastfeeding, your child may even guide this process, unlatching when they are full. 

Baby Led Weaning vs. Spoon Feeding

There are two main ways of introducing solids to your baby’s diet along with formula or breast milk: baby-led weaning and traditional weaning through baby food purees. The baby-led weaning method is when you introduce your baby to whole foods from their first bite. Instead of the baby being spoon-fed or pouch-fed purees, they pick up the food by hand and feed themselves.

The goal in baby weaning is for the baby to self-regulate their eating process and to develop trust in their body and knowledge of what nutrition they need, but it is still important as a parent to make sure that your baby’s nutritional needs are being met with variety and quantity (source). 

A traditional weaning method, or the one in which parents spoon-feed purees to their child, is another way to introduce solids to your baby. The benefits of this method are that it is easier for parents to know how much their baby is actually eating, it is more well-known and comfortable for family and friends to help feed your baby and tends to be less messy than baby-led weaning (source).

Potential drawbacks of this method are that the baby does not have as many opportunities to develop fine motor skills and the pincer grasp, does not learn to chew or develop jaw strength, and does not regulate their eating (source). Note: If you choose to spoon feed, you should advance textures when baby shows sign of readiness – which will help them to develop some of these skills (jaw strength, pincer grip etc.)

Combination Feeding Method To Introduce Solids With Breast Milk Or Formula

Some parents choose a combination of weaning methods to ensure their children are getting the best of both worlds: feeding purees at some meals and offering finger foods and baby-led weaning foods at other meals or snacks.

Additionally, parents can change the method in which the baby eats purees, as there are now great self-feeding spoons that many young babies, as young as 4 to 6 months, can effectively use to self-feed. Spoons like this encourage a baby-led approach even when eating purees. Additionally, solids can be self-fed through food pouches – which many older babies can easily self-feed – or can be squeezed out onto the baby-led weaning spoons for self-feeding.

Many experts recommend that the method (or combination of the above) you choose doesn’t matter; it is more important that parents are relaxed so the eating environment is enjoyable for the baby (source). Therefore, choose the method of weaning that is most comfortable and suitable to you as the parent and you can always adjust or introduce elements of the other method as you go. 

Related: Baby Led Weaning Foods

An overhead shot of a white bowl of baby food.


Which baby food pouches are the healthiest?

The healthiest baby food pouches are those that are low in sugar, have been tested and verified to be low in heavy metals, and are made with organic fruits and vegetables. A few great brands that meet these criteria are Cerebelly, Serenity Kids, Once Upon a Farm, and White Leaf Provisions

Are food pouches healthy for babies? 

Yes, food pouches are healthy for babies if they are either made with organic ingredients that are certified to be low in heavy metals and are 6-8 grams of sugar or less per pouch. Ingredients that are grown in the soil are often more likely to have higher levels of heavy metals, as the soil is what contaminates the food with the metals. So, if you are purchasing a pouch that isn’t verified to be low in metals by the Clean Label Project, always choose one that doesn’t contain carrots, sweet potatoes, or rice.

What baby pouches are being recalled? 

At the time of publication of this post, the only food pouches that have been recalled are the WanaBana, Schnucks, and Weis brands of cinnamon applesauce pouches. The FDA has not recently recalled any baby food pouches in recent months. All of the reports and testing of heavy metals in baby food have been conducted through Consumer Reports and Clean Label Project Purity.

Which baby food does not have heavy metals? 

You will know that the baby food you are considering does not have heavy metals when it has been certified by Clean Label Project Purity. Some examples of these brands that make the best baby food pouches without heavy metals are Serenity Kids, Cerebelly, Once Upon a Farm, Little Spoon, Square Baby, and White Leaf Provisions.

Final Thoughts

I know the baby food aisle can be overwhelming at times, and that reports about heavy metals in baby food can be very concerning, but I hope this post about the healthiest and safest baby food pouches helps you find the healthiest store-bought options with confidence! 

Even though some of the bigger baby food brands have come under scrutiny in recent years, thankfully many high-quality, intentional, and safe brands have come onto the market in response.

The introduction of third-party testing through Clean Label Project Purity also gives parents additional peace of mind when buying food for their babies, knowing that they really are feeding their children healthy and nutritious foods. 

If you have recently discovered another brand that has 5 grams of sugar per less, is made with vegetables as the first ingredient, and is Clean Label verified that is not listed in this post, please share it with me in the comments at the bottom of this post.

And if you have a question about a particular pouch or any of the reports mentioned, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment on this post or contact me here! I respond to every single message I get! 🙂

Looking To Make Your Own Baby Food? Try My Top-Rated Baby Food Recipes!

More Baby Nutrition & Product Reviews

Looking for the best products and food for your baby? Read more of my “Best Of” posts below: 

106 responses to “The Best Baby Food Pouches (2024 Guide)”

  1. I know this is an older post, but I’ll hope you will see my comment and respond. Do you have any concern on the sodium content in cerebelly or serenity kids? I bought both of these brands and just noticed some have 25mg or even as high as 75mg. When many other brands have 0mg. Thank you.

    • Hi Belinda! I’m not concerned about the sodium content in Cerebelly or Serenity Kids, because they’re not adding salt to their purees. They’re using the whole food and because it’s less processed, the naturally occurring sodium in the foods is what’s listed on the label. For example, 1 cup of broccoli has 30mg sodium, 1 cup of chicken has 115mg naturally occurring sodium. But you should talk to your pediatrician to make sure they’re not concerned about the sodium in the baby food you’re using as well!

    • I think both are great options! They are more pricey, but I’d use the same guidelines to evaluate their baby food as I use in this post to evaluate the pouches –e.g. low sugar (less than 8 grams per container), veggie forward, etc. Hope that helps!

    • Got it! That’s not a huge difference from what he’s already eating (which is good news!) If he’s already eating about 800 calories a day – you just need an additional 200 calories to help him gain weight. You can do this a couple of ways: 1) mix healthy fats / calorie dense foods into his existing meals 2) add an additional meal. Here are some calorie dense foods: 1/2 an avocado has 234 calories, 2 tablespoons of nut or seed butter (peanut, almond, sunflower, cashew, etc) has 200 calories, 1 tbsp olive oil has 100 calories, 1 tbsp butter has 100 calories, 1 cup of whole milk has 150 calories. Given just this short list you could: mix 1/4 of an avocado into one of his pouches and blend it so it has the same consistency (which will get you 100 extra calories a day) + add 1-2 tbsp nut or seed butter to his diet in any way (through a smoothie, mixed with a pouch, spread on bread, etc). You could also just take about 1.5 cups of whole milk and add a little bit of it into his existing formula bottles throughout the day – so by the end of the day he’s gotten the 1.5 cups total. You could add olive oil and butter to every meal he eats – getting 1 tbsp total throughout the day, and then adding avocado or nut butter to make up the other 100 calories. These are just some easy quick fixes that should help – as long as your pediatrician approves of this approach! If you’re looking for more detailed recs feel free to send me an email at and we can talk more that way! Thanks!

  2. Hi again,
    with my 1st kid i still lived in Europe and used to buy jars with meat only, which i would mix with my homemade veggie purees. Now i cannot find meat only here in Canada and i was wondering whats the best way to cook meat for baby purees?
    P.S. i just ordered your book and if you have that explained there i will read it

    • Hi Gabs! I’m so sorry I live in the US so I have no visibility into what’s available in Canada! If there are particular brands you’re looking at, feel free to email me a photo of the nutritional label/ingredients and I can give you my thoughts!

  3. I’m wondering why the amount of sugar is that big of a deal if it’s sugar from fruit? What’s the difference between eating a pouch with 12 grams of sugar or eating a pear which has roughly 17 grams? Thanks!

    • Hi Kelly! The difference is that eating 1 whole pear will take a baby/toddler much much longer than sucking down 1 pouch. There’s a lot of chewing and other body functions involved when you eat a whole pear, which typically causes the child to feel satisfied sooner and feel fuller longer. The other issue with the pouches that have 12+ grams of sugar is that they will often market themselves to have veggies in them — when in fact veggies are the last ingredient on the list. So if you only buy those types of pouches, you might think your child is getting accustomed to the taste of veggies when they’re really only getting used to tasting sweeter and sweeter things, which will make it harder for them to accept other flavors (green veggies and other veggies primarily) in the future. Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

  4. This post was very informative. My 16 month old is currently refusing to eat pretty much anything and everything. Won’t even place it in his mouth to try it. I know his new teeth have been slowly coming in and bothering him. It stresses me out to know he may not be getting all the nutrients he may need . Any suggestions ?

    • Hi Taria! Was your son previously a good eater and is just now refusing food? If so it might just be related to teething like you said and should pass in a few days. If not, and he’s always been somewhat picky – it could be a texture or taste issue. It’s hard to know what the issue is (and which potential solutions to recommend) without knowing more about him though! If it’s teething related, have you seen whether he might eat “smoothie ice cubes” — basically freezing fruit & veggie purees and letting him suck on them through one of those mesh teethers? Or making him fruit/veggie/protein smoothies and letting him just drink his food for now? But if he’s always been picky you might want to ask your pediatrician about what might be going on and explore things related to sensory/texture/taste issues. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Thank you for your advice. For the most part it appears he has always been a picky eater and could be a texture issue. Although, it does get worse when teeth are pushing through. I have been making him fresh smoothies each day to make sure he is getting his greens :). I will definitely check with my pediatrician at his next check up. Thanks for your help!

    • Hi! I’m sure adults can use these foods – they are technically for toddlers/young kids, but ingredients wise they’re just veggies and fruits so I’m sure it should be fine for adults to use them if needed!

  5. Hi! I’m looking for a healthy oatmeal breakfast pouch for my 1 year-old for a road trip we’re taking soon. He usually eats fresh oatmeal at home with banana, cinnamon & almond butter for breakfast but when travelling, i just need something that doesn’t require cooking/heating up etc! Is there anything you recommend? I just feel like all the pouches are loaded with sugar and additives which i’d really rather avoid giving him if i can.

    • Hi Deepali! I actually haven’t found a healthy oatmeal breakfast pouch that’s low in sugar unfortunately! What I would do is choose any of the pouches on this list, and then pair that with some sprouted grain bread with almond butter on the side (which will be similar in nutritional content as his typical oatmeal breakfast you described). Depending on how long your road trip is, you can also just make his breakfast and pack it in an air-tight container to bring with you and feed it to him on the road!

  6. Hi Anjali

    My baby is 14 months and would not eat enough homemade food (the food we eat). He’ll come and grab a couple of tiny bites and that’s it. So, I rely on the fruit, veggie and turkey/chicken pouches a lot. I give him Gerber’s turkey-rice tub and Sprout’s veggie power and power pak pouches. He loves them and gives me some satisfaction that he’s getting proper nutrients. He also accepts some lentil rice, parantha/roti etc., but again not sufficient enough to fill his tiny tummy. Is there anything else I can try? Are these good enough to feed my baby?
    Thanks !

    • Hi Ashima! Regarding the pouches you’re already using, I would just make sure they have less than 8g sugar per pouch. Most of the sprout’s veggie power and power pak pouches have MORE than 8g sugar per pouch – because even though they say “veggies” on the front, there are actually more fruits mixed into many of the pouches than there are veggies. For the Gerber’s turkey/rice tub – I would just make sure that it’s organic if possible! If you are looking for even more pouch options for him, all of the pouches on this list would be great for him (assuming he’s not allergic to any specific fruits/veggies). Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Thank you, Anjali. Yes, those food pouches definitely have >8g of sugar. But, so do every other brands have. I’ll try the ones on your list (on this page) and let you know. My other problem is – he’s not gaining enough weight (falls in lowest 10 percentile), so I have started to keep a track of his calorie intake. These days, his intake is somewhere from 700-850 calories a day, including formula, the pouches, snacks etc. I would really appreciate any help to make my baby eat. Thanks again for your help.

      • Got it! Yes all of the pouches on this list will have less than 8 grams of sugar so they are all good options. Regarding weight, how many calories does your pediatrician say he should be having each day? Based on that I can give you recommendations on what to give him and how to get more calories in him!

  7. Thanks so much, this is such a helpful list! Do you have a recommendation for a first-food? Our pediatrician recommended rice cereal, but based on your comments about arsenic, I wondered if you had a safe brand or alternative suggestion? Our son is almost five months… not sitting up independently yet, so not quite ready for solids. But he will be soon, and he’s definitely showing interest.

    • Hi Kristen! I’m so glad this post was helpful for you! To your question – if you’re making baby food at home I’d recommend either avocados, green beans, peas, or mild squashes (butternut squash, zucchini, etc.) for a first food. And if you need baby food recipes, I have a bunch here: If you’re buying a pouch I’d look for any pouch that has just one or two veggies (common ones are green beans or squashes!) I wouldn’t do rice cereal at all honestly – when you’re ready to introduce a grain, I’d introduce oats (and if you’re worried about allergies just choose gluten free oats!)

  8. Good Morning! I am looking at your array of information and wondering if these foods would be appropriate for people during chemotherapy. I have continuing mouth and tongue sores which make it difficult to eat solid food. Do you have any experience with adults using these foods?

    • Hi Patricia! I do know of adults who use these foods – mainly as a way to get extra veggies in their diet if they’re on the go too much and are having challenges with that. But I don’t see any reason why these wouldn’t be appropriate for people during chemo. I’m so sorry to hear about the side effects you’re experiencing! I hope these pouches provide you with some relief!

  9. Beech Nut breakfast pouch has 14g of sugar. They claim no added “refined sugar” but clearly this doesn’t mean no added other sugar. Too bad I like their products normally.

    • Hi Liz! Not all of the BeechNut pouches are healthy. Only the specific pouches I’ve listed in my post are healthy — I don’t list the breakfast pouch in my post for that exact reason 🙂 I’d recommend sticking to just the pouches on my list! Hope that helps!

  10. Hi, thanks for the great post! Do you know why the clean label project got rid of all their individual ratings for baby foods? I wanted to avoid certain ones that I saw on there, and found they had gotten rid of all their ratings. Doesn’t seem like they’re going to respond to my questions about it either. Also, do you think these contaminants are found as much in all of our food supply, or more so in baby food items?

    • Hi! Honestly I have no idea why the clean label project did that. But I can say that none of the baby food pouches on the clean label project’s list of pouches to avoid appear on my list — I scrubbed their list before I made mine! So as far as I know, none of the pouches on this list should have any of the heavy metals issues that other pouches do have. As for the contaminants – they can be an issue with any pre-made foods that come from sweet potatoes, certain grains like oats/rice, and plant based protein powders. Hope that helps!

  11. I bought my baby serenity kids when she was 4 months. And she loved it. I have tried them and they taste super healthy. Thank you for your post. She is now 6 months and I am happy to check new healthy flavors. 🙂

  12. Hi Anjali
    Awesome post… so knowledgeable… But my baby doesn’t like to salt… He’s in his 8th month and throws up when I give him any veggie or lentil soup with a very little salt. He likes to eat only sweet stuff. Any suggestions what should I do?

    • Hi! It’s totally ok if your baby doesn’t like salt! They really don’t need salt at this age, so my suggestion would be to just give him baby food without any salt in it and see how he does. The good news is none of these baby food pouches have salt in them, so they should be pretty palatable for your little one!

      • Great article
        What are your recommendations on baby food in jar?
        I don’t need the pouches.

      • Hi Kay! A few of the brands on my list – Beechnut and Earth’s Best make jarred baby food. I would just follow the same guidance in my post when you’re buying jarred baby food: mostly veggies, organic, low in sugar (less than 6g per jar), high in fiber, avoid sweet potato. Hope that helps!

  13. I ordered the Amara peas, corn and carrots using your link. I tried some of the other links, but they were sold out. These are not pouches!!! They are “pouches” with dried baby food you have to mix with water or milk. I’m very dissapointed because I trusted your article to give me pouch options. My son won’t eat baby food from a jar or bowl, he will only eat pouches. Beware what you are promoting. I have organic peas, corn and carrots that I can actually feed him since he’s 11 months. I was looking for pouches for on the go. I’m going to try to return it.

    • Thanks for the feedback Amanda! I’m sorry that wasn’t clear in my post – I have added a note to make it super clear now. I added Amara as an option because like you said, many of the baby food pouches have been sold out due to the covid crisis! Sorry your son will not eat from a bowl and will only eat pouches, I know how hard/restricting that can be!

  14. I like to use a veggie pouch every 1-2 days . I buy the Plum/Happy Family pouches that are peas & green beans (and list lots of both ingredients on the back…one of them has 6 green beans!). I’ve had people tell me that because these veggies have been boiled and “processed” they don’t have nutrition and are just sugar water. Is that true? Is my kid not gaining the same nutritional value as eating 6 whole green beans (minus fiber)?

    • Hi Caroline! It depends on the pouch honestly but with plum organics and happy family, where they list all of the ingredients very clearly on the back and don’t add anything other than the veggies/water – that’s not really true. All they have done to the veggies is cooked them and pureed them, the same as you would at home. The difference is that they might strain the veggies after pureeing and before packaging to get an even smoother consistency – which might remove some of the fiber (but certainly not the bulk of the fiber). If the green beans pouch you’re referring to is this one — it is the same as eating the 9 green beans listed on the package (because as you can see the fiber content in the pouch is good – 3g for the pouch). So the short answer is, if you’re choosing pouches like the green beans pouch, your child is getting the same nutritional value. The main difference is with taste/texture: since most pouches have combinations of veggies — if you only stick to pouches your child won’t know what a green bean looks like whole, or tastes like on it’s own – which might cause picky eating in the future. So I always recommend mixing in whole steamed veggies (tossed with butter/coconut oil/olive oil and a pinch of salt) along with pouches into your child’s diet. Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Hi Anjali,
        With life being so busy I had hoped my toddler was getting all those peas, spinach, kale and green beans I thought I was sneaking into his diet … thank you for taking the time to reply to my question! Much appreciated!

      • Totally makes sense! Yup you should be good – I’d just stick to the veggie forward pouches like the green beans one and others I’ve listed in my post! 🙂

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