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Shortly after the birth of my first child, I read the “The Baby and Toddler Cookbook,” and with each page I turned, I grew more excited to learn about the best superfoods for babies and discover healthy and delicious recipes.
Recipes like pea risotto, red lentil and rice soup and beet and potato swirl. I couldn’t wait for her to turn 6-months-old so I could start offering her fresh, homemade baby food so that she would know what real food tastes like.
When you’re ready to introduce solids to your baby what should you feed him and what should you avoid? Is it OK to start with the good ol’ standbys like carrots, peas and sweet potatoes, or should you start with something that’s way more adventurous?
Here are 10 of the best superfoods for babies you can start to introduce at 6-months. They’re all delicious, easy to prepare and packed with the nutrition your baby needs.
Eggs are an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, protein and choline, an essential nutrient that is beneficial for heart health, brain and liver function and metabolism. Egg yolks are an excellent source of iron, which is important if you’re breastfeeding because iron stores start to become depleted between 4 and 6 months old.
Eggs are delicious, have a delicate texture and are easy for babies to pick up or are easily mixed into purees or meals with chunkier textures. Since eggs are considered an allergenic food, be sure to speak to your baby’s pediatrician first before introducing them.
Carrots get their bright orange color from beta-carotene, a carotenoid, or a type of antioxidant. Carrots are a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamins A, B6, C and K, and are a perfect first food for babies because they’re easily steamed and pureed. Their mild, but slightly sweet taste is favorable to most babies too.
It may not be a food you’ve ever eaten yourself, but liver is surprisingly one of the best first foods for babies because it’s rich in protein, iron, vitamins A, B6 and B12 and minerals like zinc and selenium.
If you decide to try it, it’s a good idea to purchase liver that’s from pasture-raised, organic fed animals and from a butcher you trust.
Want your kids to grow up to eat green leafy vegetables? Then start now.
Broccoli is a great source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, iron and potassium. Broccoli purees and mixes well with other fruits and vegetables but it can also be a great food for baby to pick up if you’re doing baby-led weaning.
5. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great source of potassium, vitamin C and fiber—a good thing if your baby is constipated. Sweet potatoes are also a great food to feed your baby when you’re traveling because they’re soft enough that you don’t necessarily have to puree them but you’ll have to decide whether it’s a texture your baby can handle or not.
Salmon, and other types of low-mercury fish, is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids which are important for baby’s brain development and eye health.
Apples are a healthy, delicious and easy superfood for babies and they’re easily digested. Not only are apples a good source of vitamin C and fiber, they also have quercetin, a flavonoid that work as antioxidants and may improve brain function, a March 2017 study published in the Journal Behavioural Brain Research suggests.
Their bright color may not only be appealing, but beets are also one of the most nutritious superfoods you can feed your baby. Rich in antioxidants, beets are a good source of vitamin C, iron, magnesium, fiber, folate, potassium and manganese.
Studies show beets may also be beneficial for brain health. According to an October 2015 study published in the journal Physiology and Behavior, drinking beetroot juice can improve cognitive performance.
Bananas are a good source of fiber, vitamin B6 and C and potassium and babies will most likely enjoy their sweetness.
Avocado is one of the healthiest superfoods to feed your baby because it’s an excellent source of magnesium, potassium and essential fatty acids for brain health.
Just like sweet potatoes, ripe avocado is easy to puree, mash or cut up into small pieces.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and a good source of fiber, vitamins C and K and manganese. Let baby enjoy picking up blueberries with his tiny fingers or puree it into a vegetable and fruit smoothie.