Vanilla Banana Berry Risotto. Vegetable Lentil Dahl. Menu options from a classy fusion restaurant? Not quite! They're actually two of the many scrumptious, organic meal varieties for babies and toddlers offered by Baby Gourmet, a company which believes parents should never have to compromise taste nor nutrition for the sake of convenience when it comes to feeding our little ones.
A little more about the company, from their website:
Founder Jennifer Carlson wanted to feed her babies food that was healthy and tasty, but was disappointed by grocery store options. With a little ingenuity, she started making her own - whipping up baby-friendly batches of tested and much-loved family recipes. The results were so yummy, she enlisted the help of her sister, Jill Vos, and Baby Gourmet was born.
As VP Product Development, Jill makes sure our recipes are filled with only the best, freshest, organic, kosher ingredients from around the world.
Jen oversees every aspect of Baby Gourmet with the passionate and watchful eye of a mother and a business person.
Founded on a mother's love and fueled by an unwavering commitment to quality, we make great tasting healthy, organic baby food.
Every package of Baby Gourmet passes strict nutritional and food safety guidelines. We pass all USDA and organic certifications. But, as moms, we go a step further. We actually taste every single batch ourselves. If we don't absolutely love it, we pour it out and start from scratch. It's true! Because our bottom line is not 'the bottom line'. It's our commitment to making great tasting, nutritious food - the only kind we would feed our own children.
Baby Gourmet has Canadian roots (it was initially made in Canada - in Jen's own kitchen! - and sold at the Calgary Farmers Market) but is now produced in the United States.
The BG product line includes both purees (available in numerous flavour combinations and different consistencies) and rice and oat-based "Great Grains" cereals. Their website allows you to browse by age group to determine appropriate options for your child(ren) at any given point.
We've tried various Baby Gourmet purees and Squoosh for our daughter (now 32-months-old) and, aside from one staunch refusal during a period when she was boycotting pear, she gobbled 'em all up like they were going out of style! So far, we've made all our own purees for CJ (now 7 1/2 months) but I'm sure there'll be times when we grab some Baby Gourmet for convenience. BG is definitely the commercial brand I trust the most to provide healthy, minimally processed purees for my little ones when we're in a time crunch.
Today, however, I'll be switching gears and reviewing Baby Gourmet's Creamy Brown Rice cereal, one of three products within their Great Grains line. I'd experimented a bit early on with making rice cereal for our daughter, but ultimately wasn't a fan of the process nor (more importantly) convinced we were providing baby with superior nutrition, so we went with a commercial product. We decided to do the same for CJ, so when I learned that Baby Gourmet had recently introduced its own version and that it was made with brown rice (widely considered more nutritious than white), I was eager to give it a try!
One of the simplest foods to start baby on - rice cereal. It is gluten free and easy to digest. Creamy Brown Rice cereal is an excellent source of iron & B vitamins. It is simply delicious.
- Excellent source of iron & B vitamins
- Easy to digest
- No added sugar or salt
- Dairy free
- Gluten free
- No artificial colours or flavours
- BPA-free package
- Enriched with niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine
- Easy pour spout
- Resealable pouch locks in freshness
Complete Recipe List:
- Organic brown rice flour
- Electrolytic iron
- Thiamine Mononitrate
- Soy Lecithin
I was sent a 6-pack of Baby Gourmet Creamy Brown Rice cereal (227g each) to review.
First of all, I have to say the resealable spout format (carried forward from their puree packaging) is awesome - a marked improvement over the infuriating cardboard punch-out spouts that are unfortunately the norm for baby cereals. The recyclable spout makes it much easier to pour the cereal and is also a great solution for keeping the product fresh. Long gone are the days of wiping up powdery spills from the counter and fiddling with awkward plastic wrap / elastic band combos!
The consistency of the dry cereal is "heartier" than the white rice variety we used to buy. It definitely has the appearance of a wholer grain.
That said, it's still an instant cereal like the others; it's ready to serve immediately once combined with a liquid or puree.
We first introduced the cereal when CJ was a week shy of 7 months. Upon the advice of professionals we've seen (due to his low weight gain), we introduced vegetables and meat first to ensure he started with some "bulkier" nutrients. So he was pretty much an old hat at solids when he had his first taste of his Baby Gourmet brown rice (prepared with breast milk). We captured the occasion on video; no jury required to deduce that he enjoyed the experience! And big sister even wanted in on the action too!
For the first few days, we continued to prepare his cereal with breast milk. After that, however, we started to prefer adding it to purees for two reasons - to thicken them up, and because his bowel movements are on the infrequent side (once every two days or so) so we want to ensure that when he's eating rice (which can trigger constipation) he's also getting other foods which promote movements. Here we've mixed about a tablespoon into a pear puree to make it nice & bulky!
Overall, it's clear that CJ enjoys eating this cereal. We do have a non-picky eater so far in general, so it's hard to "speak" for all babies, however I've tasted it myself and it's certainly pleasant - it has a smooth texture and even a hint of sweetness, despite the fact that it contains no sugar.
In terms of nutrition and health, first of all I appreciate that the cereal is made with brown rice. Although opinions are still divided on white vs. brown as an early food for babies (with proponents of white stating mainly that it's easier to digest), I feel that white is basically empty calories, and I'd rather give my baby a wholer grain - especially since he's on the small side. Second, obviously the USDA organic certification is a Good Thing - this means that the cereal is made with 95%+ organic ingredients.
Third, the ingredients themselves. I'm fine with the addition of iron and various B vitamins to ensure baby's maintaining an adequate store of these important nutrients. However I wasn't as thrilled to see soy lecithin on list as the choice of emulsifier. We try to steer clear of GMOs in our household, and soy is one of the most genetically modified crops. The cereal package doesn't explicitly say non-GMO, so I checked with my PR contact at Baby Gourmet who confirmed that although many of the cereal's ingredients are GMO-free, the full product hasn't been certified. Which means the soy lecithin may, indeed, be from a GM crop. :( But - here's the good thing! My contact also mentioned that moving forward, the company will replace soy lecithin with an organic sunflower lecithin in its production, which should eliminate the GMO threat. Am I concerned enough about the current batch to stop feeding it to my baby? No - I still think it's a healthier option overall than most, if not all, other commercial baby cereals available today. However once the sunflower version becomes available (depending on where CJ is at with foods) I may purchase some new packs and donate any that are remaining from my review package.
Overall, out of all the commercial baby food companies operating today, I trust Baby Gourmet to go above and beyond when it comes to taste, convenience, nutrition and health, and also to strive for ongoing product improvement. Their Creamy Brown Rice cereal is no exception; it's yummy, made with nutritious whole grains, and soon will be completely soy-free. Overall, I think it's a great option to consider incorporating into a baby's early diet.
Visit the store locator to find a store which sells Creamy Brown Rice cereal and other Baby Gourmet Products near you!
One lucky Manager to Mom reader will win a 6-pack of Baby Gourmet Creamy Brown Rice cereal of their own! Open to CANADA ONLY.
To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Please follow all instructions within each entry option to ensure your entries are valid.
Disclosure: The prize is being provided and shipped to the winner by Baby Gourmet. I received no financial compensation for writing my review or offering this giveaway, although I did receive the sample items free of charge. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.