There are so many healthy, baby-friendly foods out there, but some stand out from all the rest. Superfoods are foods found in nature that are in a category of their own. A superfood is defined as kilojoule sparse and nutrient dense. In other words, they pack a lot of punch in terms of how good they are for us and our kids.
These culinary superfoods are loaded with essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals and are easy to prepare and incorporate into your baby’s daily diet. If you’re looking for a boost of nutrition for baby, not to mention flavour and variety, these are the best superfoods for baby, and should be must-haves on your grocery list!
NOTE: Since babies develop at different rates, ALWAYS consult your doctor prior to beginning any new food for your infant.
1. Avocados (6+ months)
Avocados are a rich source of unsaturated fats, which play a key role in maintaining a healthy heart. This versatile fruit is known for its high nutrient value and can be added to all sorts of dishes, savoury or sweet, due to its mild flavour and rich, creamy texture.
2. Bananas (6+ months)
Bananas are naturally fat and cholesterol free and provide sustained energy for baby since they are loaded with carbohydrates. They are known to contain high levels of potassium and also help maintain blood pressure.
3. Beans and lentils (8+ months)
Beans and lentils are a great source of plant-based protein, iron, folate, fibre, zinc, and manganese. They’re one of the healthiest, and also one of the cheapest, foods you can buy. To make beans and lentils baby friendly, soak them overnight, drain, rinse, and cook until very soft.
4. Blueberries (6+ months)
Blueberries contain antioxidants, which work to neutralise free radicals linked to the development of cancer and cardiovascular disease. They are loaded with vitamin C and are an excellent source of manganese, which plays an important part in bone development and converting carbohydrates and fats into energy.
5. Broccoli (8+ months)
Of all the cruciferous vegetables, broccoli stands out as the most concentrated source of vitamin C and contains high levels of calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health, as well as anticancer phytonutrients. Broccoli is also high in fibre, which aids in digestion, helping prevent constipation.
6. Dark leafy greens (6+ months)
Leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, are major sources of iron and vitamin C. They are low in fat and contain high levels of vitamin K, dietary fibre, potassium, and magnesium. Dark leafy greens are rich in phytochemicals, such as lutein and beta-carotene, which help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses.
7. Eggs (organic: at pediatrician’s discretion)
Eggs are easily digestible and are high in iron, folate, and vitamins A and E and are a great source of protein. They’re one of the few foods that naturally contains vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium.
8. Greek yoghurt (6+ months)
Greek yoghurt has two to three times the amount of protein and less sugar than regular yoghurt. Yoghurt is a great food to introduce to baby at six months since it boosts the immune system and supports brain and heart health. It’s a good source of calcium and vitamin D and is known to boost immunity and aid digestion.
9. Oats (6+ months)
Oats provide high levels of fibre and protein, and low levels of fat. Fibre-rich whole grains, like oats, digest slowly, providing kids with a steady stream of energy. The high fibre content and the complex carbohydrates slow down the conversion of this whole food to simple sugars, while the high levels of magnesium encourage the body’s proper use of glucose and insulin secretion.
10. Quinoa (8+ months)
Quinoa is naturally gluten free and incredibly nutritious, containing iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and fibre. It is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat and is one of only a few plant-based foods that is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids.
11. Root vegetables (6+ months)
Root vegetables make the perfect weaning food because they are naturally sweet and have a smooth, creamy texture when pureed. Their delicate flavour makes it easy to combine them with a variety of different fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Root vegetables, depending on the specific veggie, are loaded with calcium, potassium, vitamin C and more.
12. Salmon (6+ months)
Salmon is an outstanding source of heart-healthy omega-3 fats, which play a crucial role in retinal and brain development and is especially important for children in the first two years of life. (Be sure to pick wild salmon, which is lower in mercury and higher in omega-3 fatty acids.)
Featured image: Getty/Picture Press
More Ideas for baby-led weaning:
- Introducing Solids – A Month by Month Schedule
- Superfoods for Baby: 8 Uber-Healthy Ingredients to Add Now
- How to Introduce Meat & Protein to Baby’s Diet