Switching from “just milk” – whether it’s breast or bottle- to solids around the age of 6 months can sometimes be a daunting period for many parents, especially first-time ones, and weaning is often seen like a huge milestone filled with unknown factors, insecurities and questions. Mainly in regards to “what is best for my kid”, where to start, how to avoid unhealthy beginnings or food allergies, how to combine solids with breastfeeding, or whether to go with traditional or baby led weaning. So many questions and so many options. But here’s the good news in all this: there is no “perfect” way of doing it, so you might as well just relax and have some fun with it.
Solid foods are an opportunity to provide your baby with a strong, powerful nutrition to support their growth and development in addition to enriching their nourishment experience with new flavours and textures! But keep in mind: sometimes wisdom passed down from grandparents isn’t always the way to go. “First foods should be nutrient-focused whole foods including healthy fats, quality meats, and vegetables—not teething biscuits, cereal or sugary fruits. Refined foods and grains have less (sometimes much, much less) valuable nutrition and, contrary to popular belief, can irritate your baby’s digestive tract.”
That’s why choosing healthy, nutritious, yet delicious foods to introduce to your kids as young as 6 months old is so important for their overall health and development. Meet Texas-based Serenity Kids, an innovative brand introducing a fresh new take on baby food that is loaded with organic veggies and healthy fats – and low sugar. As the fastest growing baby food brand on the market, Serenity Kids offers two delicious, convenient, and nutrient-packed baby food lines including Ethically Sourced Meats and Organic Savory Veggies.
Studies show that babies shouldn’t have sugar (even from fruit) and need high fat for brain development – Serenity Kids is currently the only baby food brand delivering these on these recommendations! This Austin-based, family run company is committed to providing premium low sugar, high fat baby food pouches for babies ages six months and up that contain the most nutrition per bite for baby. These baby food varieties are 100% powered by organic vegetables from small family farms and ethically sourced meats from ranches that utilize regenerative agricultural techniques.
Founded by Serenity and Joe Carr, the brand was inspired to help their baby girl, Della, grow up strong and healthy. When looking for a premium baby food for Della, they could only find sugar laden and nutrient lacking options – so they decided to make their own that would mimic the nutrients of breast milk! This cleaned up line of baby food introduces savory flavors early and sets kids up for a lifetime of healthy eating without an early addiction to sugar.
The full lineup of Serenity Kids’ low sugar, great tasting purees are available in BPA-free, shelf-stable squeeze pouches, convenient for parents and baby. The Ethically Sourced Meats Line offers: Free Range Chicken with Organic Peas & Carrots, Grass Fed Beef with Organic Kale & Sweet Potatoes, Pasture Raised Turkey with Organic Pumpkin & Beets, Wild Caught Salmon with Organic Butternut Squash & Beet, Grass Fed Bison with Organic Kabocha Squash & Spinach, and Uncured Bacon with Organic Kale & Butternut Squash varieties. The four flavor options in the Organic Savory Veggies Line include: Organic Roots, Organic Squashes, Organic Sweet Potato & Spinach, and Organic Butternut Squash & Spinach. Serenity Kids only uses ingredients without any antibiotics, added hormones, pesticides, fillers, GMOs, or major allergens.
We wanted to dig deeper into some insights straight from founders Serenity and Joe, so we had an interview with them to find out more about how it all started, what they have encountered in the process and some tips and recommendations for new parents when it comes to introducing solid foods to their little ones.
- What are some of your most worthy to share insights into a healthy baby/ toddler’s diet, what are some of the most interesting facts you have learned while researching on what is best to feed your baby?
We did a lot of research and created a Baby Nutrition Quick-Start Guide! It goes into a deep dive of important nutrients for growth and development, macronutrient requirements, first foods to feed, and even shares some homemade recipes for you to try at home! Babies need so much fat! The calories from breastmilk are primarily fat and carbs. One of the most fascinating (and angering) things we discovered was that the average organic baby food pouch on the market contained 9g of sugar. This is insane when you think about the tiny little body that it goes into. Because of this, we made all our pouches to be low in sugar and contain a similar macronutrient ratio as breastmilk to get the right balance of fat, carbs, and protein.
- What would you say is the order in which certain ingredients should be introduced into a baby’s meal plan? What are some of the nastiest ingredients parents should avoid feeding their kids?
We always recommend breastmilk first, but when starting solids, the best first foods for your baby are well-sourced animal products like pasture-raised egg yolk, bone broth, organic liver, and pasture-raised meats that have been pureed or pre-chewed. Babies 6 months and up have all the enzymes they need to digest animal products, however fibrous veggies, legumes and grains are harder to digest so introduce those later. The best veggies to start with are mashed avocado, sweet potato, and squash. We avoided processed foods, including those marketed to babies like teething biscuits or puffs, which are grain-based and often contain sugar. Limit all products containing added sugar and other sweet-tasting things (no sweet potato for every meal) so as not to taint their pallet to prefer sweet. And no french fries please! Sure, they taste great and are easy for babies, but they’re one of the least healthy foods made from a vegetable.
- Does “organic” food actually truly exist- and if so, how do we make the difference between ‘real’ organic and ‘fake’ organic’? This is sometimes a very confusing term and parents often fall into this trap…
It is true that the term “organic” has been watered down and it’s hard to know what to trust. Products can be organic certified and not actually be good for the planet, and conversely there are farmers using exquisite farming practices that don’t qualify for organic certification. So the best way is to somehow know the farmer, either by buying locally or looking for companies that disclose their sourcing.
We source our meats from small American family farmers that raise their animals exclusively on pasture in sustainable and regenerative ways which means they rotate the grazing constantly to avoid overgrazing any one area. This practice makes organic certification extremely costly because every inch of pasture on their entire farm would have to be certified. So we chose to forgo the organic certification for some of our products in order to support these farmers and use regeneratively raised meat, which is better for your baby and better for the planet. We share some history and fun facts about our farmers on our website!
Another way to make sure your baby food products aren’t contaminated with pesticides, plasticizers, and heavy metals is to look at brand recommendations of the Clean Label Project because they test for over 200 of these contaminants, including: lead, arsenic, cadmium, glyphosates, and more! The Clean Label Project is a non-profit consumer protection group that independently purchases and tests products, and compares them to benchmarked data to reveal which brands are taking the extra steps to minimize consumer exposure to known chemicals of concern. When we received the Clean Label Purity Award & Pesticide Free Award, they really just independently verified what we already knew – that our foods are among the cleanest on the market. So while organic food does exist, there are definitely other factors to take into consideration when making a purchase!
- What would you recommend parents should prepare for their toddler’s first steps into switching to solid foods – from ingredients, to produce? What have you found is the link between what kids eat and their behavior?
Our blog post on baby’s first bites contains all the dos and don’ts for introducing solids in a safe and stress free way! We recommend starting with foods that are mashed or large enough to hold, cutting small round foods in half or breaking them up a bit yourself first by crushing them. Since meat is so important but hard to chew, we used a lot of ground meats like 80% grass fed ground beef or pasture raised breakfast sausage. Also Applegate makes great lunch meats that are soft and easy to chew, and wild caught canned tuna is a great option.
With our baby Della, she sleeps through the night, is almost always cheerful and happy, hardly ever gets sick, and has healthy, consistent stools. We believe this is largely due to how we feed her. Our office nanny who has years of childcare experience says that the little ones who eat less sugar and more protein and fat have better temperament, and far less constipation and diaper blow outs than other babies. Studies have consistently linked diet to immunity, sleep, skin, growth, mood and brain function.
- Any recommendations for avoiding colic, tummy pains, constipation, sleepless nights, etc. in babies/ toddlers?
Diet matters a lot here! Avoid sugars and feed them plenty of breastmilk, fat, protein, and veggie carbs. For younger babies (6-8 months) limit the amount of fiber they get, as that’s harder to digest. Coconut oil is a great laxative, but start small – like ½ teaspoon. Bone broth or a high-fat pouch given at night helped our baby sleep. The 5 S’s from Happiest Baby on the Block were very effective for us, which are swaddling, side-laying, swinging, sushing, and sucking. We also followed the Babywise eat-play-sleep method starting when Della was around 10 months old because she was staying awake for hours in the middle of the night. Once she learned to put herself to sleep rather than nursing or taking a bottle to sleep, the whole family started feeling much more sane.
Discover the entire range of healthy puree pouches, as well as more advice, recipes, stories and recommendations by Serenity Kids on myserenitykids.com .