When you think of baby food, does your mind wander to bland rice cereal or boring puréed peas and carrots? New recommendations suggest starting babies with a menu that you might even want to eat. Turns out, exposing your baby to real, flavorful foods will help them become adventurous eaters for life. Try all the ingredients on this list and get more information at the Plum Organics Resource Center.
This guacamole staple is loaded with healthy fats and has an easy-to-like, mild taste. Creating a baby-friendly version is a snap: Simply mash a ripe avocado with a little breastmilk or formula until it reaches your desired consistency.
Sweet potatoes are rich in nutrients like beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A and is important for good vision and healthy skin. Bake, steam, mash or purée them, and mix them with other sweet or savory ingredients (apples, peaches or squash!) for an extra nutritional kick.
Many babies find the new taste of bananas appealing, while the nutritional value tends to appeal to parents. Bananas are rich in potassium—a key for good health and development. One important note: Too many bananas may cause constipation, so feed them to your baby in moderation.
Oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, and whole grains in general are healthful choices that introduce different textures and flavors to your baby. Opt for these and stay away from boxed cereals or white rice, which have little flavor and even less nutritional value.
Starting at six months old, babies need to have good sources of iron. Enter: chicken and turkey. Boil pieces of organic meat in a small amount of water and add a dash of dried herbs or spices (like basil or garlic powder). Just make sure the pieces are tender, so they’re easy for your baby to gum.
Whole Milk Yogurt
Yogurt is rich in protein and a decent source of calcium and vitamin D, for healthy bones and teeth. Plus, it contains probiotics, which help regulate the good bacteria in your baby's digestive tract. Why is yogurt made with cow’s milk okay for babies, but actual cow’s milk isn’t? The lactose is already somewhat broken down, and milk proteins are either removed or limited, so it’s easier for babies to digest. Reach for plain organic yogurt and mix in your own mashed fruit to avoid unnecessary added sugars.
Green beans, sweet peas, broccoli, spinach—they’re all packed with tons of nutrients. Try roasting these veggies to bring out a sweet, caramelized flavor and your baby may be more likely to go for them. You can even try adding a little oregano, garlic, or mint for extra flavor.
Blueberries are packed with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. Smash them with a fork or blend them into a baby smoothie with a banana and whole-milk organic yogurt until it reaches a consistency that your baby will be able to swallow. Hint: You’ll need to use a spoon—not a straw.
Beans and Lentils
Add beans or lentils to veggie soups and stews or serve ‘em up by themselves. Legumes (a fancy-sounding class of vegetables that includes beans and lentils) are great sources of protein, iron, folate, zinc, and manganese.
Sure, red beets can be super messy and cause stains, but they’re worth it because they’re full of calcium, potassium, and vitamin A. Not convinced? You can always opt for the less-messy, yellow variety. Just peel, roast, and mash them up before serving.