Best Foods For Baby (and What To Avoid)

It’s an exciting milestone when baby is ready for solids. But what should you feed him or her in the first year? The options are almost endless, but you can’t go wrong with these healthy choices.

When it comes to feeding baby, there’s no “Top 10” list of super foods for moms to print out, stick on the fridge and stick to. (Sorry!) But experts agree that limiting your little one to a few “best” foods in her first year (or any year, for that matter) would actually do her a disservice.

Bananas

Bananas are full of carbohydrates, which provide sustained energy, as well as fiber to support a healthy digestive tract. They’re a perfectly portable baby food, as they come in their own easy-to-peel packaging. When serving bananas to young babies, make sure they are ripe and thoroughly mashed. Older babies can eat chopped bananas as finger food, but they should also be ripe so they’re easy for young eaters to mash and chew.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and fiber and an excellent source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that helps prevent certain types of cancer and mops up free radicals. Most babies prefer sweet potatoes over other vegetables because of their naturally sweet taste. When cooked and mashed, sweet potatoes make a smooth puree that’s easy to eat, even for babies who are just starting the to transition to solid foods.

Best Age for Sweet Potatoes: Six months and older

Avocados

Avocados are sometimes thought of as a vegetable, but they are actually a fruit! They also contain more nutrients than any of their food-group kin. Avocados have the highest protein content of any fruit and are rich in monounsaturated fat — the “good” type of fat that helps prevent heart disease. Make sure you only serve Baby ripe avocados. Wash the outside, then remove the peel and mash well. Since they’re high in fat, avocados can quickly make your baby feel full, so just serve a little on the side with other foods, such as meat or chicken purees.

Best Age for Sweet Potatoes: Six months and older

Meat

Meat—like chicken, lamb or beef—is an excellent source of protein, as well as iron, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and zinc. Just make sure it’s pureed to a smooth texture. Try mixing the pureed meat with breast milk and a favorite veggie puree if you’re preparing it yourself, or buy plain pureed jarred meats.

Best Age for Meat: 7 to 10 months and older

Yogurt

Plain (not vanilla) whole-milk yogurt is another protein-rich option for baby—plus, it contains calcium and beneficial live active cultures.

Best Age for Yogurt: Nine months and older

 

A FEW FIRST YEAR NO-NOS

Honey

Tempted to sweeten up baby’s bland pear sauce with a touch of honey? Don’t.  The tummies of babies under age one simply can’t deactivate the botulism spores that might be in honey. So avoid this food until baby has passed his or her first birthday.

Nuts and Peanuts

You can introduce small amounts of creamy—not chunky—peanut butter when your child is one year old (try spreading a thin layer on a cracker), but avoid nuts in whole form until he or she is 4 years old to prevent choking.

Cow’s Milk

Babies just can’t easily digest cow’s milk, which is one reason why experts recommend waiting until the one-year mark before offering it.

 

 

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