Learn how to choose the best baby food for your child with safe, organic, and convenient options for pouches, jars, finger foods, and more. Here are homemade and store-bought options from the best baby food brands.
Best Baby Food
Every parent wants to choose the “best” foods for their baby, and there can be so much pressure to feed a child perfectly. So let’s start with something really crucial: There is no one “best” way to feed a baby, but there sure are a lot of wonderful options to choose from.
I love to share my picks for what to feed babies and toddlers since there are so many options on the market to choose from. The baby foods below are tested at the highest standards with transparency by the companies, made with easy-to-understand ingredients, available in an accessible way—whether in a store or through direct mail—and taste great.
Some of these may work better for your family than others, whether for your specific food budget, time and energy levels, or preferences. My goal is to offer fully vetted options to help you feel a little less overwhelmed when choosing a baby food.
Best Baby Food Stage 1 (6 months)
There are two ways to start this first phase of solids—either with very thin single-ingredient purees, or with baby-led weaning. With either, choosing nutrient-dense whole foods is a great plan so baby can experience those flavors and have exposure to a range of nutrients.
TIP: Find my favorite foods to start solids with in this first foods guide.
Top 10 Baby Food Brands
These are the brands I turn to when buying baby food at the store:
- Amara Organic Baby Food: This company offers packets of dehydrated baby food that simply get stirred with liquid to prepare. They are easy to travel with, have a texture more similar to baby food you’d make at home, and the flavors are really delicious.
- Little Spoon: This baby food company is delivered to your door. They make pouches that are similar to what you’d make at home (only you don’t have to make them!) that need to be stored in the fridge or freezer. We love their smoothies.
- Yumi Baby Food: Yumi is another mail-order company that has a broad range of textures and flavors, as well as fun partnerships with chefs.
- Cerebelly: This company was founded by a neurosurgeon and focuses on including nutrients that support baby’s brain development and growth. Their flavors are just yummy, too.
- Happy Family Organics Clearly Crafted Line: The multi-grain cereals in this line are nice options, and they’re fortified with iron (which babies need).
- Beech-Nut: This classic company makes jars of single-ingredient baby foods as well as pouches, melts, and snack bars for older babies.
- Earth’s Best Organics: This organic baby food company is a staple in the baby food aisle. We like their multi-grain cereal and savory pouches.
- Sprout: We like the flavor blends from this organic baby food brand.
- Serenity Kids: This is an option if you’re looking for grain-free baby foods, as they have many savory options that are nutrient-dense—and include flavors and ingredients that are less common in baby food (such as bison!).
- Gerber: A widely-available classic, I prefer their multi-grain cereals to the rice based ones, as they naturally tend to have lower risk for heavy metals. (They make organic and conventional versions, which are nutritionally similar but may differ in price.)
TIP: See each individual brand’s website for more information.
Amara Baby Food
Take the guesswork out of feeding baby with these flavorful, easy-to-use meals. They’re plant-forward and so YUM.
Heavy Metals in Baby Food—What to Know
The wide-spread issue of heavy metals in baby foods was shared in 2021 in a report from the US House Committee on Oversight and Reform. It said that commercial baby foods are tainted with dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. Many brands families rely on were found to have potentially unsafe levels of heavy metals—but the report was limited in that it looked at only a few companies.
This is a very, very complex issue and goes far beyond baby food standards into farming and manufacturing practices.
How to Lower Heavy Metals in Baby Food
Nothing in the findings indicated that anyone needs to fully stop buying baby foods at the store, but you can do two things to help feel less panicked about the situation and mitigate potential risks.
- Mix up the types of foods you serve baby, including the flavors, ingredients, and brands—so, just avoid buying the same options every single week. Variety alone is an easy way to help this situation.
- Serve some foods from scratch that you have more control over—which is not to say you need to spend hours cooking for baby. My 10 No-Cook Baby Foods and Favorite Early Finger Foods are all super fast to make—and include foods the rest of the family is probably already eating.
- Serve grains other than rice, or in addition to rice. Rice is the grain with the highest potential for arsenic, so simply using oats, quinoa, or other grains for baby cereal can be helpful. You can also make your own rice cereal and take a few simple steps to mitigate the arsenic levels. Find that full explanation in my Homemade Rice Cereal post.
TIP: The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends checking your water for heavy metals (ask your water department for the yearly water quality report, which is usually posted on their website), mitigate lead risks in the home (including testing your water, replacing old pipes as needed, and knowing if you have lead paint and taking steps to mitigate the risk), avoid juice (such as apple) which can be high in arsenic), and choose low-mercury fish.
Safest Baby Food Brands
You can consider incorporating some options from these companies, which have more rigorous testing standards. (Go to each company’s website for more information.)
Again, you do not need to exclusively buy these brands, but they are options to use at times when they fit in your budget.
TIP: I want to emphasize that you do not have to buy these brands only. You can use the tips above to lower risk and incorporate any store bought options as you like.
Best Baby Cereals
These are some favorite baby cereals to try:
- Homemade Quinoa Cereal
- Homemade Baby Oatmeal
- Baby Rice Cereal
- Amara Organics Oats n’ Berries
- Happy Family Organics Oats and Quinoa
- Gerber Multi-Grain Cereal
- Earth’s Best Organic Oatmeal
- Gerber Whole Wheat Cereal
TIP: You certainly don’t have to do baby cereal, but one benefit from purchased baby cereals is that they contain iron, which babies need to be eating soon after 6 months, as the iron stores they are born with start to run out.
Frequently Asked Questions
There really is no such thing as the “healthiest” food in any category. There are many options for baby foods, and the healthiest choice is likely to include a variety of types of foods, brands, and preparations to ensure baby gets a mix of nutrients and exposure to many flavors—and you easily limit concerns with any one single food (or brand).
The best baby food brand is the one that fits into your budget and has the flavors and ingredients you are interested in. I personally prefer Amara Organic Baby Food (I find their style of dehydrated packages to be very convenient and their flavors taste good to me as an adult, which is not something I can say about all baby foods), Happy Family Clearly Crafted line, and making a mix of foods at home.
Best Baby Food Recipes
These are some of my favorite easy baby food recipes that you can easily make at home when you have time in your schedule and energy to do so.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this post, so please comment below!