Australian babies and toddlers eat better than their parents: report

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 Photo: Getty Images

Much of their dinner might end up on the floor or smeared all over their faces, but it seems what food Australian babies and toddlers do eat is of top quality.

A survey by consumer research company Canstar Blue found 61 per cent of parents mostly feed their children organic produce and 50 per cent feed their children a decent amount of "superfoods".

The survey of more than 1300 parents of young children found that 66 per cent of parents spend more time preparing their baby's food than their own and 61 per cent spend more money on food for their child than themselves. 

Survey: Canstar Blue
Survey: Canstar Blue Photo: Essential Baby

More than three-quarters of parents (78 per cent) prefer to make their own baby food however 81 per cent think the quality of packaged baby food is improving.

Head of Canstar Blue Megan Doyle said the results showed parents were concerned about their children's diet.

"With increasing concern about obesity in Australia, parents seem determined to get their children off to a healthy start in life, even if it means sacrificing quality food for themselves," she said.

"If they didn't enjoy the best of diets when they were young, they won't want their children to go down a similar path.

"Parents always want the best for their children and as we continue to become better-educated about food choices it's natural that we'll pass on that knowledge to our children. But it seems some parents don't practice what they preach and live their life through their children when it comes to food."

However despite their efforts to feed their baby healthy food most of the time 61 per cent of mums and dads think it's okay to feed children fast food from restaurants like McDonald's and KFC occasionally. 

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More half (58 per cent) of parents surveyed have fed their children fast food, however, 51 per cent who did so felt guilty about it.

"Some parents are set in their ways and wouldn't dream of feeding their child anything remotely unhealthy, but others don't see any harm in the occasional treat," said Mr Doyle.

"All food in moderation is perfectly fine, but some parents only want to feed their children healthy, organic options – and that's their right."

Parents who had bought packaged baby food in the last three months said their baby's enjoyment of the food was the biggest factor when it came to their satisfaction, however they also wanted value for money.

Rafferty's Garden is the brand most parents were satisfied with while, while ALDI baby food was considered good value for money and Heinz offered them most packaging variety.

"If your baby doesn't enjoy the food that's provided then all the other aspects of it become irrelevant," said Mrs Doyle.

"It's encouraging that many parents now see packaged baby food as a great alternative to making food from scratch, particularly for those busy families who can't find the time to spend hours in the kitchen.

"But quality baby food can often come at a high price, so parents are also determined not to pay more than they have to – particularly if much of it usually ends up on the floor, or in the bin!"