When diversifying your diet, compote is a safe bet for introducing your baby to fruit. But often, parents wonder which compote to choose given the wide choice offered on supermarket shelves. Should you buy a special baby compote? What information should you pay attention to? What are the tips for a good homemade compote? A pediatrician takes stock of this subject.
From 4 months, you can start giving compotes to your baby, in agreement with your pediatrician as part of dietary diversification during snack time or for dessert. But it’s not easy to make the right choice, if you opt for ready-made compotes, from the supermarket or organic store.
A compote without added sugars: the essential mention
The first reflex when purchasing in a supermarket or specialized store is to ensure that there is the words “no added sugars”. Ideally, also check the absence of additives in the ingredients.
And good news, these food products can be found in the compote section. No need to go specifically to the baby section.
“Compotes without added sugars and without any additives can in fact be given to a baby even if they are not products qualified as “suitable for the diet of children under 3 years of age”confirms Sandra Brancato, pediatrician, before adding, “only the texture will perhaps be less smooth and sometimes with small pieces, which may not be suitable for the little ones when starting to diversify their diet.”.
Obviously, a compote does not contain milk, otherwise it is a dairy preparation or dessert. And no vegetables either, because otherwise we’re talking about puree.
Classic, organic, for babies… explanations on the different compotes
It’s not easy to fully understand the differences between these products, often popular for dessert. Our expert enlightens us.
What is the difference between a classic compote and a baby compote?
According to our expert, “Products qualified as “suitable for feeding children under 3 years of age” also guarantee mandatory quality controls: no pesticides, nitrate control, prohibited dyes, prohibited sweeteners. So in this case it is better to opt for a “special baby” compote, if you do not want to buy a classic organic compote.
And between an organic compote and a baby-branded compote, which one should you choose?
A question that often comes up among young parents. According to Sandra Brancato, “if it is a “baby product” compote, the very strict controls on pesticides make it an “almost” organic product”.
If you have more confidence in organic products, buy your organic compotes in the compote section and not in the baby section.. In fact, the cost per kg could double or even triple compared to a “classic” organic compote.
Please note that “classic” compotes made from apples from conventional agriculture undergo numerous phytosanitary treatments.
Compote, fruit puree, fruit desserts, low sugar… pay attention to the names!
There may be different names which may mislead you. Most often, you will not see the name “compote”. Explanation: lcompote corresponds to crushed fruit to which sugar has been added (the final product then contains 24 g of sugar/100g). However, today, the vast majority of brands have decided to offer mixed fruits “without added sugar”, written in large letters on the packaging.. What is actually the definition of fruit puree : crushed fruits which contain only the natural sugar of the fruits.
Besides this, there is the words “low sugar compote”, so understand that the sugar level is 30% lower than the compote standard (around 16g of sugar/100g). However, there is definitely added sugar.
As for fruit desserts, be careful, read the labels carefully. Some contain added sugar and some do not…
If necessary, use applications such as Yuka to check if the chosen compote has received a good rating or to discover the ratings of other equivalent products.
The origin of the fruit
If it does not say French apples or Europe, it is therefore a blend of apples from the European Union, or even further afield. Some brands do not specify the exact origin. It’s up to you to judge whether this is an important criterion for you or not.
Apple, peach, pear, apricot… which flavor of compote should you start with?
For our expert, “there is no order in which to start with fruits, you can integrate whatever you want when diversifying your diet. Classically, the apple will often be queen and started first, but nothing prevents starting with peach, pear, banana or strawberries..
And exotic fruits?
In the absence of allergic conditions, from 4 months, all fruits can be introduced including exotic fruits (mango, pineapple, kiwi) and red fruits (raspberries, blackcurrants, strawberries, etc.). If in doubt, do not hesitate to seek advice from your pediatrician.
Compote in a jar, in a bottle or fresh fruit: which form should you prefer?
Generally speaking, conservation in pots (glass, metal or plastic) will be the same as that of water bottles. But from a taste point of view, the observation is not the same. “It’s certain that in compotes in gourds, you can barely distinguish the true taste of the fruit. It is often unfortunately tasteless. Not to mention the ecological impact of these disposable plastic products. And from a nutritional point of view, eating a fresh fruit will provide more vitamins and provide dietary fiber.assures the pediatrician.
Large glass jar: the right reflex
For ecological and economic reasons, it is better to opt for family glass formats in the “classic” section, organic or not, cheaper per kg than their individual equivalents in plastic pots. A good reflex for the whole family and not just for babies.
Applesauce, how much does it cost?
It’s worth comparing when you’re shopping. Indeed, for the same applesauce, prices can vary considerably and cost ten times more, depending on the brand chosen!
For example, a family-size glass jar of applesauce from a private label without added sugar costs €1.82 per kg, compared to €3.50 for the organic version. The same compote, distributor brand, without added sugar “non-organic” costs €2.62 in individual form (plastic pots). As for compotes from major “non-organic” brands, without added sugar, in plastic pots, count on between €3 and €3.96 per kg. In organic, count between €4.90 and €5.95 per kg, for small pots.
As for special baby compotes, prices vary between €4.80 per kg and €8.70. For gourds, those without added sugar, start around €2.60 per kg and can soar to more than €10 per kg for specialized organic brands.
Finally, the most expensive compotes are the organic brands from specialized stores. 8.27€ per kg (for individual glass jars) and around 6€ for the plastic version. Note that recipes with other fruits (pears, raspberries, apricots, vanilla, etc.) are more expensive.
I make my own compotes: professional advice
The recipe is simple and takes no more than a few minutes. For fresh, seasonal fruits, rinse them with water. Afterwards, simply mix them without cooking if they are very ripe and given unprocessed to the child (for example a nice peeled pear, very ripe crushed or mixed). For hard fruits, peel them, cook them (steam without sugar with a little water if necessary) then blend them smooth or crushed or simply in pieces, depending on age. To find your way, from 6 months, the texture can be more grainy and less smooth, the pieces can be introduced gradually from 6 – 8 months and before 10 – 12 months.
It is preferable to opt, if your budget allows, for fruits from organic farming.
Finally, in cooking, it is possible to add sweet spices such as cinnamon or vanilla to flavor and vary the menus when preparing compotes.
Freezing your homemade compote, a good idea?
Yes. But often, when defrosting, there are crystals and it is less smooth, the texture is not always very pleasant. But it’s a way to organize your week, keep prepared meals and cook on weekends for your children. On the other hand, be careful not to keep the compotes frozen for several months.
How much compote to give to baby?
A serving of fruit is approximately 80g. In general, a child can eat 2 to 3 servings of fruit per day, during different meals, whatever their age.
In practice, from 6 months, a young child can eat 130 g at lunchtime and at snack time (around 3 servings). After 10-12 months, it is important to offer mainly pieces of fruit and to try to avoid compotes as much as possible during meals, because the child needs to chew.
The necessarily essential compote?
No ! Fruit must be given every day but compote is not obligatory. As long as the child is eating normally, the fruit will be offered raw in pieces.