Superfoods for Babies
Posted by Mandy Sacher on October 30, 2014
Posted by Mandy Sacher on October 30, 2014
“Superfoods” has become such a buzzword that it can be hard to know what is fact and what is fiction. When it comes to making the most nutritious choices for the youngest members of our family, the following ten foods are truly super – they are all nutrient-dense, rich in a variety of vitamins, minerals, proteins and/or essential fatty oils. Introducing your little ones to some, or all of these foods at an early age can help create the best possible eating habits and food choices in later life.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is an excellent addition to a baby’s diet as it contains lauric acid, also found in human breast milk, which can boost the immune system, improve digestion and balance the blood sugar. Coconut oil raises HDL good cholesterol and because of its high smoke point, makes for a great “high heat” cooking oil. Fresh coconut meat is an excellent addition to any smoothie, puree or it can be eaten as a finger food. The flour can be used to create delicious grain-free and gluten- free breads and muffins.
2. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds contain a higher ratio of antioxidants than blueberries and have more calcium than whole milk. They are very high in Omega-3s, magnesium, fibre, iron, potassium, and protein. Introduce them to babies from around 7- 8 months onwards. Perfect when added to porridge, soups, muffins, rissoles, chia pudding and smoothies.
Quinoa, unlike other grains, is a complete protein making it a true superfood. It’s high in lysine (an amino acid important for tissue growth and repair), manganese, magnesium and iron. Quinoa is a gluten-free grain and is a great alternative to rice and oat porridge.
4. Bone Broth
Bone broth is a nutrient dense food which acts like a multivitamin for babies, high in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus – making it excellent for their growing bones, immune and digestive systems. Add to vegetable purees and casseroles. Introduce to baby at around six months.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. They are especially great for babies, as they help oxygenate the blood and promote a healthy immune system. Choose fresh or frozen organic and locally grown where possible. Always wash berries before serving. Introduce at approximately six months.
6. Grass Fed Beef or Lamb
Grass fed beef and lamb are a rich source of iron and immune boosting zinc. Iron rich foods are especially important for breastfed babies from six months onwards. Grass fed meat also contains higher amounts of vitamin A, vitamin E, (CLA) and Omega 3’s, important for immune health and cognitive development. Offer as purees from approximately six months onwards.
Salmon is rich in Omega-3’s, a powerful anti-inflammatory and brain boosting oil for babies. Babies whose diets are rich in these oils suffer from fewer infections, can display enhanced brain function and improved vision. Another benefit is that most salmon (especially wild and organic salmon) have lower levels of mercury than many other oily fish. Serve from six months onwards.
8. Green Vegetables
Vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts and spinach are packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre and calcium. These essential micronutrients are needed to fight infections and boost baby’s immune system. Introduce spinach and kale, mixed with other vegetables as a second stage solid. Serve with healthy fats such as coconut oil, ghee or olive oil to enhance the absorption of fat soluble vitamins.
9. Sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are perfect first foods as they contain vitamins, minerals and are high in fibre. They help to stabilise blood sugar levels and keep little stomachs feeling fuller for longer periods of time. Encourage your baby to enjoy sweet potatoes rather than white potatoes. Serve from four months.
Eggs are a great source of high quality protein. They provide growing bodies with essential amino acids and are one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium and supports proper bone growth and development. Eggs also contain choline (for brain function and heart health), selenium (for thyroid function), vitamin A (for healthy eyes, bones and teeth) and they are also a rich supply of B vitamins. Introduce the yolk as early as six months and the white later on.