Congrats! Your baby (and you) are finally ready to try out solid foods!
It’s a time for funny faces, flying food and frustrations. It’s also an important time for you as parents to understand your babies nutritional needs.
To make this stressful time a bit easier on you, we’ve compiled a list of the best baby food for optimal nutrition. We’ve broken down the best baby food into categories to ensure you have the top picks for a well-balanced diet.
Think of it as your one-stop-shopping list for baby food!
Delicious and nutritious on their own, vegetables are often the base of many combined purees. Especially when making home-made baby foods, try some of the super-vegetables listed below.
The superstar of vegetables, broccoli packs a punch. An excellent source of beta-carotene and vitamin c, broccoli also contains a fair amount of phytochemicals and glucosinolate, with enzymes that help the body ward off many types of cancer.
However, when steamed to make a puree, broccoli loses almost half of its vitamin C content, so it’s suggested you serve your baby broccoli three times a week to reap the most benefits.
Known to be full of beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A, this food helps support your child’s’ immune system.
A fan favorite with the little ones for its sweet taste, sweet potatoes are also chock-full of vitamin C, potassium, and beta-carotene. It’s high fiber content also aids digestion.
Served pureed to younger ones and as finger food to older children, carrots are a nutritionally sound choice. Unlike most other vegetables, carrots become MORE nutritious when cooked as they absorb antioxidants and beneficial plant chemicals in the process.
Babies are born with a preference for sweet foods, so fruit becomes a fast favorite when trying new foods. Read on for the best baby food in the fruit category.
This superfood helps with brain development. The fat in avocados is also most similar to those found in breast milk.
This nutritionally dense superfood is also a fast favorite among parents as it’s super easy to prepare. Simply mash with a fork or even make an easy baby guacamole.
Bursting with antioxidants, blueberries are another great fruit choice when looking for the best baby food available. The flavonoids benefit your child’s eyes, brain development, and urinary tract.
Blueberries should always be pureed, as they can pose a choking hazard.
Packed with fiber to help with digestion and carbohydrates to provide energy for playtime, bananas make the best baby food list time and time again. What’s even better? They come in their own portable container, making it a great on-the-go food.
Be sure to choose a ripe banana and thoroughly mash all pieces with a fork before serving to your little one.
Dairy and Cheese
While research suggests babies under 12 months should not have milk, some processed dairy products such as cheese and yogurt are tolerated. Consult with your pediatrician before trying these foods.
Due to its sweet taste, babies may prefer this type of cheese. Swiss cheese also packs the best protein punch for its calories. Cheese is full of riboflavin which is responsible for turning carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into fuel for the body.
Cheese should always be cut into small pieces to avoid a choking hazard but is a good choice for older babies who are accustomed to different textures.
Once upon a time, experts would suggest delaying introducing eggs until the 12-month mark. The research has since changed, stating that it doesn’t need to be delayed unless there is a history or concern for an allergic reaction.
Made up of mostly proteins, eggs are a great superfood. They also have large quantities of vitamin A, D and E as well as B12.
Traditionally babies’ first food, cereal has plenty of benefits. At birth, babies are born with a supply of iron, which begins to deplete around six months of age. Baby cereal is packed with iron, making it a great substitute.
When first transitioning to solids, mix baby cereal with either water, breast milk or formula. As your child acclimates, you may choose to use less liquid to make the mixture thicker.
A very small pasta variety, such as stars or pastina is a safe way to introduce pasta to your babies diet. It’s also a good base for a mixed meal of grated swiss cheese, breast milk or formula and butter.
The proteins in meats and poultry are great for healthy growth and development. However, unless pureed (think beef-and-carrot) it may be best to hold off until around the 12-month mark.
Full of iron, which helps with healthy brain development, red meat is an excellent addition to a balanced diet. Be sure any meat is well cooked and finely diced for safe consumption.
Boasting high amounts of protein and vitamin B6, chicken is an excellent option for growing babies.
Some little ones have an aversion to the taste, but that’s easily remedied by mixing veggies.
Best Baby Food Choices For Allergy-Cautious Parents
While it’s hard to tell if your child will develop an allergy, there may be some factors that give you pause such as a sibling with a food allergy or perhaps the result of blood testing.
Always be cautious and keep an eye out for allergic reaction or sensitivity symptoms when trying out new foods for the first time.
Some foods are more prone to cause reactions than others so here’s a short list of foods that are nutritionally dense and thought to be least-allergenic. As always, consult your pediatrician if you have concerns.
- Sweet Potato
While having this complete list should help you provide your little angel with the best baby food for proper nutrition, it also takes into account the dreaded picky eater problem. Even if your child refuses one or more of the above superfoods, you have plenty of options to fall back on.
With tiny tummies, it’s important to fill them with foods that even in small amounts, pack a punch. It’s a safe bet your child will be getting a well-balanced diet with any combinations of these super foods.