There are lots of healthy, baby-friendly foods out there, but the 10 listed here are recommended by both doctors and nutritionists. From vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables to meats and beans loaded with protein, these “superfoods” are;
- full of essential nutrients
- reasonably priced
- easy to prepare
1 – Avocados
Avocado is a great “first food” – this buttery fruit-vegetable is rich in healthy unsaturated fats that help boost brain development. In fact, the fat composition of avocados is somewhat similar to that of breast milk.
Serving Suggestions: Try making baby guacamole, or scramble eggs with avocado and tomatoes.
Blueberries are bursting with antioxidants. The deep, brilliant blue of these berries comes from flavonoids that benefit your baby’s eyes, brain, and even urinary tract.
Serving Suggestions: Blend or mash them into a deep purple puree and swirl a spoonful into yogurt, or top silky coconut milk rice pudding with blueberry compote.
3 – Broccoli
This cruciferous vegetable contains fiber, folate, and calcium, and may even help ward off cancer. Introduce your baby to broccoli’s bold flavor early, and you’ll be expanding his tastes and encouraging a lifelong love of green vegetables.
Serving Suggestions: Steam until soft, cut into pieces small enough for your child to eat safely, and then chill. Steaming takes the bite out of broccoli, and some babies prefer the texture and taste when it’s cold. For a hot side dish the whole family will enjoy, combine broccoli, cauliflower, and cheese.
4 – Dark leafy greens
Packed full of antioxidants, cooking greens – kale, spinach, chard, and collard – are rich in vitamins A, C, E, K, and folate, a B vitamin that promotes heart health. They’re also an outstanding source of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber.
Serving Suggestions: Pasta with spinach and ricotta combines the vitamins and minerals in spinach with protein and calcium from fresh ricotta cheese.
5 – Lentils / Beans
Lentils and other legumes pack lots of lean protein and fiber. But unlike larger beans, little lentils simmer into a pleasing mush just right for baby bites. They’re also one of the cheapest healthy foods you can buy.
Serving Suggestions: Double up on nutrient-rich foods by making lentil and spinach stew.
6 – Meat
You don’t have to shy away from feeding your baby red meat – its full of zinc and iron. Simmer stew meat until succulent and tender, then with a fork pull it into easy-to-eat shreds small enough for your baby to eat safely.
Serving Suggestions: If your baby is new to solids, try our easy turkey or chicken puree recipe. As she gets older, introduce new flavors with chicken curry with green beans and zucchini or shepherd’s pie.
5 – Mandarin oranges
Mandarins – a group that includes clementines and satsumas – may be little, but they’re big in vitamin C and antioxidants.
Serving Suggestios: Cut the orange segments into pieces small enough for your baby to eat safely to create an excellent finger food. You can buy mandarin oranges fresh (be sure to remove any seeds) or canned, but make sure the canned version is packed in water – not syrup, which contains added sugar.
8 – Prunes
Whether you call them “prunes” or “dried plums,” these humble fruits don’t sound glamorous – but they are full of fiber. Your baby may suffer from constipation when switching to solids, as it’s a big change for her system. Add pureed prunes to her diet to aid digestion and keep things moving.
Serving Suggestions: Puree prunes and serve them alone or mixed with other foods, such as oatmeal, cereal, or applesauce, for a naturally sweet treat. If your baby is badly constipated, add a teaspoon or two of prune juice to formula or expressed breast milk.
9 – Winter squash
Orange-fleshed hard winter squashes such as butternut, acorn, and pumpkin boast many benefits, one of which is they’re exceptionally rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A), recognized for being great for eyes. Squash is also an excellent source of vitamin C. Natural sweetness and a creamy texture add to the appeal of winter varieties.
Serving Suggestions: Roast a winter squash like butternut and puree it for an easy introductory food when your baby is starting solids. As your baby gets older, introduce new flavors and textures with dishes like smashed chickpea and butternut chili.
10 – Yogurt
Yogurt is rich in calcium and vitamin D, necessary for healthy bones and teeth. Your baby can have it at 6 months, long before he’ll be ready for cow’s milk.
Opt for plain yogurt with no added sugar. Also look for a brand with the most live cultures, which help regulate the good bacteria in your baby’s digestive tract. Make sure you pick up whole-milk yogurt – babies need the calories from fat.
Serving Suggestions: Yogurt is fine on its own, or swirl in pureed berries or other fresh fruit, applesauce, or mashed avocado.
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