Can I use tinned fruit (in natural juices of course) and tinned vegetables for my 7 month old daughter?
Absolutely – tinned fruit and vegetables are great store-cupboard staples, always there in an emergency. As you are aware, look for fruit tinned in natural juices, also vegetables tinned without added salt if possible. And if the product does contain added salt, be sure to rinse the vegetables and discard the liquid as some salt will be dissolved in it.
Many people are concerned that tinned foods are not as nutritious as fresh ones, however this is not necessarily the case. A 1997 study by the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Illinois in the USA found that tinned fruit and vegetables were nutritionally comparable to both fresh and frozen varieties. It also looked at recipes made using tinned foods and again found that they contained similar amounts of nutrients, such as vitamins and fibre, compared to those made from fresh ingredients. While small amounts of some vitamins such as vitamin C were lost in the tinning process, once the foods were in the tins their nutrient levels were found to stay stable for at least two years.
Apart from convenience, there are other advantages to using tinned foods. The softer texture of tinned fruits such as peaches and pears can be very appealing to young children learning to eat fruit as finger foods. They also mash well as a quick baby food if you run out of fresh-cooked mashed fruit, and they blend well into smoothies. Tinned vegetables are also easy to mash or puree. And I find them invaluable for tossing into a pasta sauce or salad at the last minute when I discover that all my fresh vegetables have gone mouldy at the bottom of the refrigerator.