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The Green Life: Feed Your Children Well

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December 19, 2012

Feed Your Children Well

The problem with baby food is that it tends to end up on the floor. Or on the wall. Or in your hair. So we asked experts to recommend earth-friendly meals that infants would rather eat than fling. 

Plum Cereal

PLUM ORGANICS is a favorite brand among parents and pediatric pros — and tots love it too. Melanie Potock, author of Happy Mealtimes With Happy Kids, recommends the company's Organic Brown Rice Cereal, which comes in a container that's free of the toxic bisphenol A (BPA) compound. Potock praises the soft cereal for being made from whole grains, enriched with probiotics and nutrients, and free of genetically modified ingredients (GMOs). Plum is one of only about 600 Certified B corporations, which means that it abides by strict, transparent environmental policies. For ages four months and older. About $4 for 7 ounces Sprout baby food

Celebrity chef Tyler Florence started SPROUT, whose organic offerings are inspired by recipes that his own kids would eat. Ingrid Kellaghan, the founder of Chicago's Cambridge Nanny Group and an expert in childcare issues like mealtime fussiness, says, "Infants go gaga over the Apples pouch. It's so lusciously simple and nutrient-rich." Most of Sprout's products are roasted or baked, she adds, "so you get this amazing flavor that's bright and vivid, with the ideal texture for babies." Sprout's lightweight pouches are made without BPA — and when they're empty, you can ship them (for free) to TerraCycle, a company that makes them into new things and pays the charity of your choice for your plastic donation. For ages four months and older. $1.20 for 3.17 ounces

Ella's Kitchen

The Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, Apples, and Blueberries flavor from ELLA'S KITCHEN is a best seller. Many experts recommend it, including Elena Mauer, deputy editor of TheBump.com, a website for new parents. "Pouches are fantastic to toss in the diaper bag," she says, "and Ella's are just organic fruit or veggies — nothing added." Pouches require only a tenth of the cargo space that glass jars do and take less energy and fewer materials to produce. Like Sprout, Ella's partners with TerraCycle to keep its containers from ending up in landfills. "We work closely with our suppliers to create a sustainable supply chain and have launched a farm-trips program to let inner-city kids experience nature and learn about fresh, healthy food," says founder Paul Lindley (Ella's dad). For ages four months and older. About $2 for 3.5 ounces Happypuffs

Jina Park, who founded the luxury baby-goods trade show Plush, is a fan of the organic Greens Puffs from HAPPY FAMILY. "Babies and toddlers just love these finger foods that melt in their mouth," she says of the Cheerios-like tidbits. "The Puffs teach tactility and self-feeding and are made with whole grains." Even though they're packed with kale, collard greens, and spinach, plus vitamins and minerals, the GMO- and gluten-free snacks taste sweet, thanks to their fruit juice flavoring. And the Puffs' recyclable canisters are BPA-free. For ages seven months and older. $3.49 for 2.1 ounces

CauliflowerAll of our experts recommended the aforementioned products with the caveat that the greenest, healthiest thing you can serve is DIY baby food made from local, seasonal, organic produce. So we asked Lisa Barnes, author of Cooking for Baby, to give us a favorite recipe. Her cauliflower puree is rich in potassium and vitamins B and C. "The taste is mild," she writes, "and can easily be mixed with other vegetables such as spinach or broccoli to mellow the flavor." To make three servings, cut half a head of organic cauliflower into florets and steam them for about 10 minutes, or until they're tender. Immediately cool the florets under running water, then puree them in a food processor. For a smoother consistency, add water. Dress up leftovers with milk, sauteed garlic, and Parmesan to make a creamy side dish for kids and adults.

--Avital Andrews / photos by Lori Eanes

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