Hip parent pick? Sweet Cheeks organic baby food


As a professional nanny for the last 24 years, Lori Karis would often make her own baby food. The parents who hired her raved about it, even sampling it themselves. One of the couples strongly urged her to market her baby food.

Karis took on the idea and created Sweet Cheeks. The baby food is made using only organic vegetables, fruits and grains. She uses local produce when in season and uses Minnesota-grown grains. Sweet Cheeks is made weekly and sold in frozen individual servings.

Want your child to eat healthy and organic, but not sure when to start? Sweet Cheeks may be able to help; there are three different categories of Sweet Cheeks, made to correlate with and help babies transition to solid foods. Newbies (for 6 months and older) are smooth and simple and come in three separate flavors: sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and apples. Combos (for 8 months and older) add a little bit of texture by mixing a fruit/vegetable combination with a grain. For instance, beets and carrots is combined with brown rice, or a mix of parsnips and pears is added to millet. The third category of Sweet Cheeks is called Baby 'roles (short for casseroles). These are designed for ages 12 months and up. Karis makes the 'roles by first simmering carrots and celery with small bits of garlic and onion, then pureeing the mixture and adding millet, green split peas, and hulled barley. Baby 'roles flavors include cauliflower, sweet potato, and butternut squash.

I sampled (no, I don't eat baby food regularly!) a Sweet Cheeks combo of sweet potatoes, apples, and millet. It didn't have much flavor (Karis is careful not to use seasoning that would upset a baby's stomach), but it did have an interesting texture. The pureed sweet potatoes and apples was a soothing spread and was studded with millet, a soft grain to chew.

Of course, the real test is how your baby will take to the food. Karis says one of the most fulfilling parts of her new endeavor is seeing the photos of her "favorite customers" - the babies who make or break her small business. Recently, she's gotten rave reviews - photos sent by parents of babies eating her beet-flavored combo.

Sweet Cheeks baby food can be found at a few local locations include The Wedge, and Local D'Lish, and the St. Paul's farmers' market. It's also on the menu at 128 café in St. Paul. That way, parents can order their meals and have their baby eat baby food alongside them. So no more crying, there's a way for both you and your baby to eat well.