With a variety of healthy, baby-friendly foods available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So in order to help you give your baby the best, we wanted to share which foods stand out from the pack. From vitamin-rich fruits and veggies to beans loaded with protein, these superfoods are full of essential nutrients, reasonably priced, easy to prepare, and amazingly delicious.
BabyCenter moms are all about avocado as a 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 ideas: Mash avocado with a fork, or make baby guacamole.
Known as a good source of potassium, this grab-and-go fruit also contains vitamins B6 and C, calcium, and iron.
Serving ideas: Make banana and mango puree. Or, for your little one’s first smoothie, puree banana and peach chunks with whole-milk yogurt.
Blueberries are bursting with antioxidants. The deep blue of these berries comes from flavonoids that benefit your baby’s eyes, brain, and even urinary tract.
Serving ideas: Blend or mash blueberries well and swirl a spoonful of the juicy purple puree on top silky coconut rice pudding.
This veg is packed with fiber, folate, and calcium. We suggest you introduce your baby to broccoli’s distinct taste early to expand his/her tastes and encouraging a lifelong love of green vegetables.
Serving idea: 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.
Beans and other legumes are packed with tons of lean protein and fiber. But unlike larger beans, little lentils easily form a pleasing mush just right for baby bites. They’re also one of the cheapest healthy foods you can buy.
Serving ideas: Cook finely diced carrots along with the lentils.
Whether you call them “prunes” or “dried plums,” these humble fruits don’t sound or look too glamorous – but they’re soft, sweet, and full of fiber.
Serving ideas: Serve pureed prunes alone or mixed with other foods, such as oatmeal or cereal.
Sweet potatoes are one of the more popular first foods for babies, who tend to like both their sweetness and texture. These colorful root vegetables are packed with beta-carotene, vitamin C, and minerals, including iron and copper.
Serving ideas: Sweet potato puree
Orange- or yellow-fleshed hard winter squashes such as butternut and pumpkin are exceptionally rich in beta-carotene, 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 ideas: Roast a winter squash like butternut, scoop out the flesh, and puree it for an easy first food.
AAP. 2012. Starting solid foods. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Switching-To-Solid-Foods.aspx [Accessed December 2016]
Baker RD, Greer, FR, American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. 2010. Diagnosis and prevention of iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia in infants and young children (0-3 years of age). Pediatrics 104(1):119. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/ [Accessed December 2016]
Fleischer DM, et al. 2013. Primary prevention of allergic disease through nutritional interventions. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice 1(1):29-36. http://www.jaci-inpractice.org/article/S2213-2198(12)00014-1/fulltext [Accessed December 2016]
Harvard School of Public Health. 2015. Health benefits of taking probiotics. Harvard Health Publications. http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/update0905c.shtml [Accessed December 2016]
Krebs NF et al. 2006. Meat as a first complementary food for breastfed infants: Feasibility and impact on zinc intake and status. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 42(2):207-214. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16456417 [Accessed December 2016]