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12 October 2017 12:00 am

Family Finds Qatar: Healthy options for your little ones

Welcome to our newest series where we help families who are new to Qatar settle in and find those items and services that make the adjustment to family life in a new country all-the-more smooth! Click here read on!
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By Lynsey Riach

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Oh baby! When it’s time to feed your little ones a fresh, healthy variety of rich, nutritious food, where in Qatar can we find the best-of-the-best…conveniently?

Any parent will tell you, there’s a time in a baby’s life when teaching them to eat real, proper food is, quite frankly, messy. Not only does half of it end up on their clothes (or in their hair), but it can also be quite a waste if your little one doesn’t even like what’s on today’s specials. Often, first-time mothers feel the need to buy, prep, and sprinkle love on their very own take on meals for baby, which although such a wonderful concept, is often just not always realistic.

Step forward to the clever entrepreneurial folk who invented a variety of fruit, veg, and meal ‘pouches’ that have popped up in the market over recent years. These shiny, bright, and squeezy portable meals swap the hassle factor out and convenience factor in. But…at a price. At QR 13 for the tiniest fruit pouch, once you fill your trolley with them you’ll soon wince at the cashier when it’s time to hand your well-earned riyals over.

For those parents who are weaning their little ones for the first time, or for those who have been there and done that, you’ll probably be familiar with several brand leaders who dominate in not just choice, but taste. (I should know, I’ve temperature tasted both my babies’ food for long enough!) The great thing with these pouches are that they really deliver on getting nutrients in.

Take Ella’s Kitchen for example. This UK brand is found here in Qatar in Spinneys, Carrefour, and Monprix and offers a rainbow of colourful fruit pouches, veg, and meals suitable for 4 month-olds to 1 year-olds. My boys began their first taste of food with the very easy sweet potato or carrot option (which of course you can do far cheaper at home if you boil and then mush yourself).

I started off trying to make my own baby food at home and then quickly realized I just couldn’t compete with Thai coconut curry or salmon risotto that was on offer – all from a squeezy pouch that took seconds to heat! Not to mention it’s highly convenient when out and about, and even easier once your child learns to suck from them all alone – hands free Mama! 

I’ve already weaned one small child onto real, proper food and, now at the age of two, he’s just a breeze to feed (himself). But with another baby in tow (and an embargo on the go) I’ve found myself of late hunting high and low for some decent snacks to tempt my littlest one with. My checklist involves the following: healthy, tasty, affordable, and will I ever find this item again?! I, the Queen of stockpiling, am the one to blame if you can’t find some of those most-loved baby products ever again in Qatar.

So, my homework complete, I’ve compiled here some little favourites for your little ones – and where to find them!

Marks & Spencer

(Villaggio Mall, Landmark Mall, Doha Festival City)

Offers a small range of baby and kids foods from vegetable pots to meals, frozen pizzas and handy snacks for on the go.

M&S Packs of Rice Cakes

Available in plain or with a very thin layer of milk or dark chocolate, this convenient multipack of 10 bags makes lunchtime a whole lot easier. Just don’t give the chocolate version in the car unless you want a sticky mess all over your upholstery!

M&S Banana Porridge Pouch

It ain’t cheap, but it’s wonderful for little ones – especially if travelling.

Monoprix

(Palm Tower, West Bay & Doha Festival City)

A great selection of organic baby food is on offer here, so take your time to enjoy trawling the selection! My current favourites include:

Little Bellies Baby Puffs

A perfect companion for puffy little hands, these melt in the mouth puffs teach baby hand-eye coordination and get them used to sucking and chewing all safely. Available in carrot, apple cinnamon, and blueberry flavours. Recommended for infants 9 months and older.

Heavenly Tasty Organics Yummy Wafer Wisps

A great teether! These surfboard-shaped wafers are a tasty, airy snack if your baby’s a little grumpy between meals. Again, it also teaches them eating technique and skill. Flavours include pumpkin and banana, spinach, and apple and kale. Recommended for infants 6 months and onward.

Heavenly Happy Halo Bites

These crunchy, yet airy, apple-flavoured bites are great for on-the-go snacking. Recommended for infants 10 months and older. 

Organix Soft Oaty Bars & Fruit Bars

These are a huge hit in my home country of Scotland (unfortunately double the price here) and offer a great on-the-go healthy snack for older babies and toddlers. Let them take their time to chomp on raspberry and apple, carrot cake, apple and orange, and blackcurrant. They also have a dinky apple and date, and banana and date fruit bar option. Recommended for infants 1 year and above.

Spinney's

(Medina Centrale & Porto Arabia, The Pearl-Qatar)

Always a handy option for those living on The Pear, Spinney’s offers a small selection of baby treats including:

Gerber Graduate Puffs

Banana-flavoured tiny bites that are excellent as a first-time crunch for babies ages 6 months and older. 

Peter Rabbit brand products

Pretty pouches made with fruit and vegetables.

  

Carrefour

(Villaggio Mall, Landmark Mall, City Center Mall, Lagoona Mall, Mall Of Qatar, Ezdan Mall, Dar Al Salam Mall)

It’s of no surprise that our largest supermarket chain offers the most choice for baby food – but at times it isn’t always consistent. Favourite brands include:

Ella’s Kitchen

Fruit, vegetable, and meal pouch options. Greek yoghurt pouches are also available in mango, blueberry, and strawberry.

Humana

Strawberry, pear and apple, apple and banana pouches.

Quinola Mothergrain Baby

This is a fantastic find! Available in both the Baby Collection and Kids Meals, you can let your little one try swede and parsnip, carrot and quinoa, butternut squash, red lentil, Tex-Mex, and Mediterranean flavours.

100% Mini-Me Juice Boxes

Consider this the kids’ version of fruit and veg smoothies. Their Juicy Fruit (apple, banana, strawberry, beetroot), Do The Hokey-Pokey (apple, orange, banana, carrot), and Sweet About Me (apple, banana, carrot, beetroot) varieties are packed full of antioxidants and essential vitamins for your kiddos.

And, let’s not forget, simple fruit, vegetables, and proteins from supermarkets can all go towards making a healthy meal for the whole family. Simple cheese portions such as Babybel and fresh mozzarella, as well as Greek yoghurts are great for kids to keep them feeling fuller for longer. 

Did we miss anything off this list? Drop us a line in the comments below and tell us where your favourite affordable food finds are for your little ones. Also, don’t forget to like and share this article!