Did you know choosing the right foods for your baby can help ward off some diseases when they are adults?
Healthy baby food that is rich in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, like those found in fruits and veggies, can contribute to healthier immune systems for babies and their future selves.
That’s why it’s essential to choose healthy baby foods to give your little one the best head-start in life.
5 Steps for Choosing Healthy Baby Food
Here’s your simple breakdown of 5 basic ways to find the healthiest baby food options out there.
1. Pick Real Veggies
Before buying, make sure you’ve read the label on that little jar of green beans.
Are there added sugars or preservatives? If so, put it back on the shelf.
Babies don’t need any additives to their foods, so choose only vegetables that have one ingredient on their list: the actual vegetable.
Another pitfall when choosing vegetables for babies is the fruit-veggie combo. All this does is teach your little one that vegetables only taste good when blended with a sweet fruit.
By starting them off on veggie-only options, they learn to love the taste of vegetables – a trait that will carry them far health-wise.
2. Dump the Juice
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no fruit juice for babies less than a year old. Even then, juices do little in the way of providing nutritional value for babies, toddlers, or even adults.
Giving your baby fruit juice, even if labeled, “for babies,” can cause such things as:
- Gas and bloating
- Tooth decay
- Poor nutrition and unhealthy weight gain
- Exposure to bacteria through improper pasteurization
There are plenty of real fruits, vegetables, and other healthy snacks to give your baby that will provide all the nutrients they need, while still tasting delicious.
3. Don’t Let Labels Fool You
Some parents may be tempted by trendy baby food “blends” with popular health foods like kale and squash. While certain packages may tout a mix of “healthy” fruits and vegetables, once again, be sure to read that ingredient list.
You may be surprised to find that kale is actually listed fifth or sixth as an ingredient when it’s really the first three ingredients listed that make up the majority of a product.
Besides, anything with more than three ingredients is probably not best for your baby anyway. Again, simple, one ingredient foods are best.
4. Choose High Iron Foods
Your little cutie needs plenty of iron-rich foods to help their little brains develop. Some great sources of iron for babies include:
- Cereal – Choose iron-fortified, flavor free, single-grain cereals. Flavored cereals are just another way of saying, “packed with unneeded sugar.” You can add real fruit or veggie blends yourself if you want to add flavor for your baby.
- Meats – Choose single meats with no additional ingredients. Added water is alright.
5. Buy Glass Jars
The simplicity of squeeze pouches has tempted many a health-conscious parent. However, if you’re serious about choosing only the best foods for your little one, pick foods that come in glass jars.
Why? You can see what’s going into their mouth.
With glass food containers, there’s no risk of moldy or expired food going straight in your baby’s mouth.
Glass also enables your little babe to learn the skills of eating where simply slurping from a pouch inhibits that important skill.
Helping Baby with Solids
Now that you have the basics for choosing healthy baby food, check out our post on helping your sweetie make a smooth transition to solid foods.