For me, it wasn’t that many years ago that my pantry was lined with itty, bitty jars of baby food. In truth, I still keep jars of it in my home to use in recipes because it’s just such an easy way to add fruits and veggies to the meals of my very picky eater. I’ll be honest and admit that I tried my hand a time or two at making my own baby food when my children were little but quickly tired of the process and went for the convenience of pre-made jars of baby food from the store. Looking back, I can’t change what I did back then but I as I move my family towards a healthier lifestyle, I’ve become a label reader that wants to know more about all the ingredients that go into my family’s bodies. So, when I recently learned about the Clean Label Project and their baby food study which is the most comprehensive scientific investigation ever completed on baby foods that impact our nation’s children at the most critical stage in their development, I was really intrigued and wanted to check it out. This study convinced me to purge many of the baby food jars that I had in my pantry after discovering some shocking results but instead of just throwing them out, I decided to upcycle the jars and created a beautiful Upcycled Thankful Table Centerpiece! Keep reading to find out the results of this survey and discover a fun way that you can use any baby food jars that you may want to get out of your home!
So, before we get to my fun craft that I know you’ll all want to make, let’s take a little deeper look at the Clean Label Project and exactly what they found out about baby foods and formulas that are on the market. Now, you already know that this comprehensive baby food study is unlike any study ever done before but in addition to that, it goes well beyond evaluating the ingredients posted on nutritional fact panels and ingredients lists to examine the impact of 130+ industrial and environmental contaminants on nearly 500 infant formulas and baby food products! I don’t know about you but that tells me way more than reading the back of a container can! And since the Clean Label Project benchmarked more than 100,000 data points and found that over 25 percent of products tested exceeded at least one state or federal guideline for contaminants, I was more than a little concerned! So, I began to ask myself where were these products purchased and the answer was that they were purchased in grocery stores across American within the last six months. That meant that it could be the products I myself have been purchasing and that made me shudder. As I dug deeper into the Clean Label Project’s results, I was truly shocked at what I found.
So what was the Clean Label Project testing for in baby foods and formulas? The answer is that they tested for contaminants that are truly concerning like heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead), BPA/BPS, antibiotic residues, pesticide residues, melamine and acrylamide! While I know what some of these were, other just sounded scary and when I found out the presence have been linked to cancer, memory loss, brain damage and reproductive harm, I was beyond concerned! Worse, there’s even clean scientific evidence to substantiate that even trace amounts of mercury and lead can have LASTING effect on the long-term health of developing brains! Not convinced yet that you may have some bad baby food or formula in your home? Let’s take a look at things by the numbers!
- Over 50% of infant formulas contained some arsenic
- Soy-based infant formula contained on average seven times more cadmium than other formulas
- Over 25% of baby food samples had detectable levels of lead
- Over 50% of the products labeled “BPA free” tested positive for BPA
- Some product labeled “certified organic” actually had higher amounts of mercury and lead than conventional baby foods (organic foods did however have fewer pesticides
- Rice-based “puff” snacks had on average over five times as much arsenic as other baby snacks
- The five worth performing baby foods had 70% more acrylamide that is in the average fast food french fry and nearly double the average acrylamide in dark roast coffee
Now, I don’t know about you, but those are numbers that I just can’t ignore! It convinced me that the FDA-mandated nutrition labels that are on the baby food and formulas that you and I purchase every day in the stores does little to tell us as parents the true ingredients that are in the foods we’re feeding our children.
So, what should we as parents who are concerned about what we’re feeding our children do? Well, I’m not going to tell you to stop buying the products you’ve been buying because just like me, you have the make the right decision for your family! However, I do want you to have access to all the facts when making your baby food and formula purchasing decisions and that’s why I’m thrilled with the Clean Label Project’s helpful resources to make it easy to make the best choices! To make the findings as accessible and understandable as possible, the Clean Label Project website features a 5-star rating system that names each product tested and shows how contaminated it is compared to the other products in the study. Consumers can easily
see for themselves which products are the highest and lowest rated — there is also a report card rating each brand, based on their products as a whole.
Once you’ve found the rating for the baby food and formula you’ve been purchasing for your family, you’ll be able to make the best decision on the products that you purchased and those that you should toss. Me? I tossed quite a few jars of baby food but instead of simply throwing them in the trash, I decided to turn mine into a fun Upcycled Thankful Table Centerpiece (after all, I am thankful that I discovered what was in them before feeding them to my kiddo). This fun craft was easy to do and made me feel so-much-better about what I was tossing out! Here’s how to make it!
What You Will Need
8 Medium-Sized Baby Food Jars
1 Can of Frosted White Spray Paint
Black Large Tipped Marker
A Long Piece of Wood
A Hot Glue Gun
How to Make It
Using my discarded baby food jars, I was able to quickly and easily whip up the cutest ever Upcycled Thankful Table Centerpiece you’ve ever seen! With the Thanksgiving holiday quickly approaching, it was perfect for adding a little decor to my kitchen table. To start, I washed all of my baby food jars and allowed them to dry completely. Then I took them outside and sprayed them with my frosted white spray paint.
After allowing the paint to dry, I measured out the width and length that I would need of jute ribbon to wrap around my jars. Once I had cut the ribbon to the right length, I used my large tipped marker to write the letters T-H-A-N-K-F-U-L in the middle of each of my ribbon pieces.
After allowing the marker to dry completely, I wrapped my prepared jute ribbon around my painted baby food jars and secured it in the back with a little hot glue.
With my jute ribbon spelling out the word THANKFUL, I secured my prepared jars in the right order to my piece of wood using hot glue and added a few addition leaves.
Once everything had dried, I dropped in my tea lights and my Upcycled Thankful Table Centerpiece was complete!
I have to say, it was super cute and a perfect way to add a little cheer to my my holiday table. But the best part is, it gave me a use for the baby food jars that I would have simple thrown out thanks to the findings of the Clean Label Project!
Now it’s your turn! Whether you toss your baby food, turn the jars into a craft or decided to keep them, make sure you as a mom (or dad) are making the best decision on the foods you are feeding your family! Head over to the Clean Label Project website today and find out how your brand of baby food or formula measures up!
Tell me, will you make any changes in what you feed your family based on the Clean Label Project’s findings?