Is your toddler turning one and already a picky eater? Thousands of parents across the world face this problem every day – what to feed a growing baby? Here are a few ideas for baby foods that are packed with nutrition and flavorsome as well.
12 Months Baby Food:
The 12 month baby food is considered as very important food as the baby will be getting all the nutrition that they need. The following 10 foods should be included in your 12 months baby food menu.
These little pulses are chock full of nutrition and also an inexpensive source of protein. To get your loved one to eat lentils, you can toss some vegetables and rice with the lentils and seasonings. Herbs like oregano and basil add flavour and nutrients to the meal. You can also cook the lentil with a bay leaf and remove it before serving.
At this age, your toddler is probably bobbing around the house, curiously discovering everything they can. So they burn and have to be refilled with lots of energy! Banana, a super food and a great source of carbohydrates, is exactly the food they need. You can mash ripe bananas into a smooth paste and feed your baby. You can also introduce little pieces of bananas as finger food to your toddler.
Although these are fruits, they are filled with protein and also monounsaturated fat, i.e., fat that helps in brain development. Remove skin of very avocados and mash it. You can mix some apple or cream cheese in the mash too, if your baby doesn’t like the taste of avocados. Serve a small helping of the mash and test your toddler’s reaction, because avocados are very filling.
4. Butternut Squash:
With a multitude of nutrients like Vitamin C and B complex, potassium, beta-carotene, fibers and even some omega 3 fatty acids, butternut squash is a super food. Due to its sweet taste, it is popular among babies too. You can steam or boil them or sprinkle a little cheese on top and roast it. It can also be cooked with cilantro and mild chillies (which need to be taken out after cooking, of course) and puree it.
5. Leafy Vegetables:
This is could be a turn off for babies because they have never had green “stuff” to eat before! But the large quantities of iron and folate offered by green leafy vegetables like collard greens, spinach, kale and chard are undeniably good for babies. A good idea would be to mix it with other components like the slightly sweet Swiss cheese (which adds Vitamin B2 to the mix) or fruits like plums or peaches.
The beta carotene present in carrots is extremely nutritious and also makes for the vibrant color of the vegetable. Beta carotene essentially converts into vitamin A which is important for growth and good vision. On cooking, carrots become sweeter, which makes them popular among babies because they have a liking for sweet flavors. You can puree carrots or dice the cooked carrots to eat as finger food.
While the sight of broccoli on their plate can start a hunger strike among older kids, babies often develop a liking towards its unique taste. Broccoli has anti-cancer properties that can set your toddler off to a good start towards a healthy lifestyle.
Although boiling broccoli for babies is a common cooking method, it discolors the vegetable and also significantly cuts down on its vitamin C content. So do opt to steam or bake the broccoli to make it a little soft.
You will be surprised to know that many babies actually like cold broccoli, and the green veggie can also be soothing during teething. Chill the cooked broccoli before serving a few pieces to your toddler. If your baby doesn’t like the taste, you can mix it with some sweet tasting puree like that of squash or sweet potato.
8. Citrus Fruits:
These fruits are high in vitamin C and antioxidant content. This helps in strengthening collagen that is found in bones, muscle and other tissues. It helps in healing cuts and wounds faster. They are also packed with potassium that assists in muscle contraction and fluid balance maintenance in the body.
Citrus fruits are often too acidic to feed younger babies, but once your baby crosses her first birthday, it is quite safe. It is important to feed them in small amounts at first and be careful about any signs of acidity. You can cut the fruits into small pieces and serve them as finger food.
Eggs provide a lot of nutrition to growing babies. While the whites are good sources of proteins, the yolk contains zinc and vitamins A, B12, D and E. It also has a compound called choline, which is crucial for development of the brain. Eggs, especially the whites, are usually advised to be held off until the babies’ first year due to fear of allergic reaction, however, this preventive measure only applies to babies who have a family history of allergic reactions.
[ Read:Egg Recipes for Kids ]
Fish is a lean source of protein that helps in baby’s healthy growth and development. Fishes like salmon and mackerel provide fat soluble vitamins and essential fats like DHA that help in the development of brain, eye and the immune system.
Remember to check with your pediatrician before introducing fish to the baby because fish often triggers allergic reactions in babies. If approved by your pediatrician, it is safe to give the baby two servings of fish per week. Ensure the fish has low mercury content (or better, none at all).
Meat is also a healthy albeit a less conventional choice of baby food. Although most parents hold off on meat for until the child is 18 months old, a light stew of lean meat and vegetables is a perfect baby food. But the meat has to be cooked long enough so that it turns very soft.
Apart from trying out these foods, it is best to encourage your toddler to sample everything. If they don’t like a particular food group, you can always try to add some herbs to alter the taste a little. Happy feeding!