Babies and toddlers are growing at a remarkable rate but they do not eat much food because their tummies are so small. That is why it is important to feed them foods that are packed with nutrients. All foods have health properties and you should aim to feed your babies with a variety of different foods to develop their taste buds. However, some foods are particularly high in nutrients and antioxidants packed with health giving properties. They are easily digestible and keep the body and mind healthy and working well.
Some ‘superfoods’ to feed your young children with include:
Avocados are the best first food for your baby. They are a perfect consistency and they contain an abundance of nutrients including high levels of Omega-3s. You can simply slice open an avocado and feed it straight into your little one’s mouth. If you would like a smoother consistency, add a little breast milk or substitute, and mash.
Blueberries are super nutritious. They are higher in antioxidants than any other fresh fruit and very beneficial to your baby’s brain, urinary and nervous systems as well as their heart and eyes. They are also high in fibre and vitamins A and C.
Coconuts contain medium chain fatty acids which have significant health benefits and are similar to the ones found in human breast milk. They help boost the immune system, improve digestion, and balance the blood sugar.
Dark leafy greens
These leafy greens are rich in antioxidants and high in iron and folate. They are a top superfood because they contain large amounts of vitamins C, and K as well as calcium. Vitamin K and calcium are great bone-builders.
Eggs are full of high quality nutrients for your baby. They contain choline, a B-vitamin that plays an important role in the development and function of the baby’s brain. Eggs are full of protein and Omega-3s as well as vitamin D, folate, the antioxidant lutein and many minerals such as zinc, iron, and selenium, a great immune booster.
Oats are a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber and they are also rich in phytochemicals, vitamin E, zinc, iron, magnesium and selenium. Oats are a good source of protein and a great way to start the morning. Use plain oats and add your own toppings such as nuts, fruit or a drizzle of natural sweetener.
Quinoa is a complete protein making it perfect for vegetarian babies, it is high in lysine, an amino acid important for tissue growth and repair. Quinoa has a good amount of fiber and is high in nutrients such as manganese, magnesium and has a very high iron content. Quinoa is a gluten free grain and is an alternative to whole grain rice in many baby food recipes.
Sweet potatoes are among the most nutritious vegetables available. They are rich in phyto-nutrients and high in vitamins A and C. They have a naturally sweet flavor and creamy texture making these vegetables appealing to babies and toddlers.
Some final tips:
- When preparing vegetables for your baby, they should always be cooked (steamed preferably), mashed and mixed with a liberal amount of fat, such as butter or coconut oil, to provide nutrients to aid in digestion. Carrots, sweet potatoes and beetroot are good first choices.
- Pureed meat is an excellent choice for baby’s first foods, because cholesterol is vitally important to brain development in the first five years.