Baby’s first foods don’t have to consist of baby rice and stewed fruits. There are lots of delicious ‘super’ foods that you can introduce to your baby early on, that are packed full of nutrients. The nutrients that are often left behind when weaning are protein, zinc, iron and B-vitamins. Supplementing breast milk with a variety of nutrient-rich superfoods while baby is weaning will give your baby the very best start to life.
Go with organic, fresh foods that you prepare at home and introduce new foods one at a time to make sure that your baby doesn’t have any issues. If you have any doubts, speak to your doctor or child health nurse.
So easy to prepare, you can just take a whole avocado when you’re going out for the day and mash and feed baby on the go! Avocados are full of monounsaturated fats for healthy brain development and can be sweetened with a little mashed banana if your little one needs encouragement. Don’t be afraid of fats as your baby’s first food – after all, mother’s milk is largely fats, most of which is saturated fat. Fats give energy; help to build muscle and bone.
Speaking of fats, animal fats provide vitamins A and D necessary for protein and mineral assimilation, normal growth and hormone production. Including meat in your baby’s diet will help them to get valuable iron and zinc, which aren’t available through breast milk alone.
Sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritious vegetables available, high in vitamins A and C, able to be pureed into a creamy texture with a sweet flavour that appeals to babies.
Don’t be afraid of eggs from 6 months onwards, unless you have a family history of allergies. Eggs are packed with protein, zinc, vitamins A, D, E, B12 and choline, crucial for brain health and development.
Carrots cooked well and mashed are high in the antioxidant beta-carotene, converting to vitamin A and supporting healthy vision.
Fish such as salmon and fish oils like cod liver oil is a valuable source of omega-3 fatty acids for brain development.
Blueberries are extremely high in antioxidants, more than any other fruit, making them a true superfood. They’re full of fibre, and vitamins A and C. And they taste delicious!
Peas have lots of Vitamin K, which helps to build strong bones. They’re also chock full of vitamins A and C, folic acid and B vitamins. They’re high in fibre, too. But the best thing about peas is that they make everything a gorgeous shade of green!
Beans and lentils
Packed with protein, fibre and B vitamins, they’re a cheap, nutritious and filling addition to soups and stews. Use dried beans and cook them yourself to ensure they’re not too high in salt for baby.
Broccoli is a great source of vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, folate and fibre. No wonder your parents told you to eat your broccoli! Steaming, rather than boiling, broccoli helps retain more of it’s nutritional benefits.
Rich in iron and folate, spinach and other leafy greens are great for babies, especially as their iron levels start to diminish around 4-6 months. Spinach can have high levels of nitrites, so this is an important one to buy organic.
Foods with stronger flavours, like broccoli and spinach, can be cooked and pureed or mashed with other foods such as carrots or sweet potato to get baby used to the flavours.
Image credit: Carrie Stephens via Flickr