Weaning your baby onto solids is one thing, but doing it in a healthy way is another. Many seasoned parents know that introducing food can be a bit of a minefield, and choosing nutritious, varied options from the get-go is essential. But at the beginning, choosing to wean clean isn’t only about the wellbeing of your bubba in the present moment – it is also for their health and development down the line, and laying the groundwork for their potentially life-long palette too.
Until fairly recently, ‘baby rice’ has been one of the most common starter foods for weaning, but up-to-date information from international health bodies suggest that there is pretty much no nutritional value in this at all. Furthermore, some dietary experts believe that rice, and other grains, should not be introduced to a baby’s diet until much later when the appropriate digestive enzymes kick in (along with teeth popping through!). So if not baby rice or other seemingly baby-friendly cereals, what should you start with? We’ve put together a list of some of our favourite choices for parents who would love to wean clean.
It’s easy to believe that a baby wouldn’t want to start on strong, or slightly bitter, earthy flavours, but bringing these in right away will encourage them to enjoy and experiment with more later on. Babies do, naturally, love sweet creamy flavours similar to that of breast milk but they are also curious. The whole experience of eating is totally new to them, and trying a completely different flavour for the first time ever can really rock their world! You may find that they love pureed or roasted finger food root vegetables straight away, or it could take some perseverance. Don’t be put off or disheartened if they make faces or spit it out – this is all part of the fun! Keep offering the same thing for them to try so they can get used to this new world of food.
Carrot – a great source of vitamin K, vitamin B6 and fibre
Sweet Potato – packed with vitamin A, beta carotene, potassium, vitamin E, calcium and folate.
Parsnip – an excellent source of starch and fibre. They also contain the antioxidant vitamins C and E.
Weaning Superfoods for Babies
You’re probably already aware of superfoods for grownups, but did you know that superfoods are also a thing for babies? Some superfoods that we adults eat are great for us, but not so good for little tums (chia, for example, can be hard for babies to digest), so be sure to stock up on the superfoods that are right for them.
Avocados have the highest protein content of any fruit and are rich in the good, monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids that little ones need in their diets for good health. Because they are so high in good fat, they are also nice and easy for babies to digest.
Natural (or unsweetened Coconut) Yoghurt
Natural yoghurt provides a rich source of protein, calcium, B vitamins and minerals as well as a lovely dose of pro-biotics (perfect to boosts your little one’s tummy and colon health). Lots of babies struggle with dairy, so you may wish to avoid milk protein products and instead opt for an unsweetened coconut alternative which does the trick just as well.
Give your baby a big vitamin C boost with these super berries! Blueberries and strawberries are full of this too, plus immune boosting anti-oxidants.
Once your baby is 10 months old, spinach makes a super addition to their diet. Full of essential nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, folate, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, iron, selenium and manganese and tasty too!
Whizz it up!
All of these ingredients are delicious for babies to eat as they are, but to change things up a bit (and get all those lovely superfoods down in one!) why not make a smoothie or a buddha bowl? Add all the above ingredients into a blender, pop in a banana if you fancy it, and whizz! A yummy treat for your baby and mom and dad too!