When it comes to starting your baby on solids, there’s one question we hear all the time: Where do I start? There are dozens of nutritious fruit and veggie options you can (and should!) introduce your little one to over time, but these ten ingredients top our dance card when it comes to first foods for baby. Here’s what to serve and how it helps benefit those growing brains and bodies.
This palate-pleasing root veggie is packed with vitamin A for your baby’s developing eyes (though we can’t promise it will help them find that missing sock any faster). It also contains beta-carotene, which helps vitamin A do its thing―because who doesn’t love a little nutrient efficiency?
Broccoli is a great source of everything from calcium (for growing bones) to choline (for better brain development) to fiber (for making sure things, er, go smoothly). Pair it with omega-3 from ground flaxseeds or avocado oil to really get their noodle going. (Incidentally, it’s also pretty great with actual noodles.)
Bananas make a great first food for babies because they’re already soft enough to mash between gums, no cooking required. (Score for busy parents!) Plus, they’re high in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and prevents bone loss later in life, and are naturally sweet―meaning more food might end up in that tiny belly than gets spit out on the floor. If you’re doing baby led weaning, bananas make an especially great first food because they are easy to pick up and naw on.
Healthy first foods for baby gets our heart pumping―and avocado oil is one of our favorite ingredients to keep your baby’s ticker beating at its best. That’s because the healthy fats in avocado oil lowers bad cholesterol while raising HDL (the good kind). Try drizzling it over veggies or blending into a puree prior to serving for an extra nutrient boost to your little one’s lunch.
Your baby can eat spices as soon as they eat solid food (the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting solids at 6 months of age). Turmeric’s health benefits are about as bright as it’s hue. That’s because it fights inflammation and boosts immunity. Add a cape and a quick change in a phone booth, and you’ve basically got a superhero in spice form.
Parents have long loved pears for their ability to mask the taste of more bitter ingredients until those tiny taste buds adjust to new flavors, but studies have shown they’re also nutritional powerhouses for babies. High in potassium, vitamin C, and fiber, pears have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer and help balance cholesterol levels. Plus, they’re one of our favorite home remedies to help constipated babies get things going again.
While it may not immediately come to mind when thinking of first foods for babies, there are plenty of reasons you should consider adding it to your baby’s menu. For one, coconut butter provides five percent of the recommended daily value of iron, which can have major health benefits on baby’s brain development and the strength of their hair, skin, and nails. (So get ready to schedule that first haircut!) If your tiny human has a peanut allergy this is a great sub for nut butter.
The stories are true: Beans might just be the magical “fruit.” That’s because they pack protein, fiber, a slew of vitamins and minerals (like vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and zinc, to name a few), and antioxidants into every serving. As for dealing with the “toots”…you’re on your own.
High in protein and fiber, quinoa is a great first food that can help strengthen developing bones and muscles as your baby grows. Which will really come in handy when you need help opening that stuck salsa jar. Blend into a puree for new eaters, then later serve as a finger food to help your baby or toddler practice their pincer grip.
By, Justine Lorelle LoMonaco