Okay. Simple question, complex answer.
However, we’re going to do our best to offer our motherly advice to you.
Numerous research studies and experiments have been made to decipher whether microwaves are safe for heating food or not. At times, the verdict was that it isn’t safe, and at other times, the verdict was that it’s totally safe. This has caused great confusion among consumers. Researchers have also tried to examine whether microwaved food has a direct link to certain cancers. We wish we could give a simple yes or no, but there’s more to it.
How do microwaves work?
Microwaves can be compared to the sun; they work in a similar way: using radiation (Woodford, 2019). Similar to the way the sun’s radiation hits our face, microwave radiation hits the food. It’s important to note that the radiation itself is not harmful and does not remain on the food. However, microwaves are able to heat the food so quickly because the heat energy hits straight into the molecules of the food (Woodford, 2019).
That, dear parents, is why we personally don’t favor the use of microwaves.
What does a microwave’s heat energy do to food?
When heat energy is directed straight into the molecules of food, the composition of the food is changed. We don’t see it or feel it, but the food is no longer in the same make-up as it was when we first cooked it. In simple terms, when we eat microwaved food, our body identifies it as something foreign because it does not recognize this new composition, meaning our body signals itself to reject what just entered into the body. Do we feel this rejection? Nope. At least not in the present moment.
As our body continually consumes microwaved food, our antibodies are continuously activated in order to reject the “foreign” substances. This means our body is always in attack mode. With time, this deteriorates the health of our cells and greatly affects our long-term health.
We will not go into the side-effects of microwaves, as it is outside the scope of this blog post and a debate among researchers. For now, our responsibility is to safeguard our parents regarding the best method of heating food, for themselves and for baby.
What is the best method to heat baby food?
As per food safety guidelines, reheating cooked food should be done only once and when reheating, the temperature of the food should reach 75 degrees Celsius. This guideline is set for your safety: so that any bad bacteria can be reduced to an acceptable level before consuming.
Bad bacteria is killed at high temperatures. When we cook our baby food at the Little Melly kitchen, we ensure that the contents reach a temperature of at least 75 degrees for around 5 minutes. This is a critical point in our process to ensure food safety. When packaging and storing food, whether at our premises or in your home, there is a chance for cross-contamination and multiplication, thereby increasing bad bacteria within the food once again. To combat that, we reheat at a high temperature before eating to kill anything that has grown.
How should you heat?
On a stove pan with low flame for a few minutes. A trick we like to use is to add some drinking water to the mix in order to facilitate the heating process and give the mixture a nice consistency to it. This is especially helpful when the meal was prepared a day in advance and stored in the fridge.
Using the bain-marie method, by placing hot water in a heat-resistant bowl and then placing the baby food jar in the bowl until the food has become hot. There are some cautions to watch out for when using this method, however. Firstly, placing a glass jar in hot water may cause the jar to crack (especially if the jar is coming straight out of the fridge). The drastic variation in temperature causes this. Second, the bain-marie technique often needs to be repeated at least twice for the food to become consistently hot.
*Caution: No matter the method you choose, make sure to slightly cool your baby’s food before serving it to them. Hot food can damage your baby’s tongue, gums, and mouth.
Does this mean I should throw out my microwave?
No. I would be lying if I said I didn’t ever microwave my own food. For little Melanie, I try to never ever use the microwave, but I can’t deny that I use it for my own food occasionally. It’s a practical and efficient way to heat food, and using it every now and then will not do harm to your body. Our motherly advice says: use a stove to heat food whenever possible.