‘Superfoods’ are so named, because they are some of the most highly nutritious foods around.
They should always be part of a healthy diet that is full of colourful, fresh food, for everyone in your family – and it is easy to include them in your baby’s diet from the age of about 6 months, as long as his or her doctor or paediatrician says that it is safe for you to do so.
Here are some wonderful ‘Superfoods’ – and some ideas about giving them to your baby…
- A good source of monounsaturated fats for healthy brain development, and a healthy heart.
- Soft texture for your baby.
- Mash ripe avocado with pureed cooked vegetables or apple, pureed mango, or mashed ripe banana.
- Puree cooked black beans for your young baby.
- When baby is older, mash cooked beans into cooked oatmeal (porridge) or warm quinoa.
- Add some cooked peas or squash for sweetness.
Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans):
- Rich in protein and calcium – a cup of chick peas contains the same amount of calcium as a cup of milk.
- An excellent source of folic acid, molybdenum, iron, zinc and magnesium.
- Fibre-rich chickpeas help maintain proper blood sugar levels.
- Consumed with a whole-grain food, chickpeas are a source of complete protein if your baby is vegetarian.
- Make houmous (hummus) for your vegetarian baby, as a good source of many nutrients.
- Higher in antioxidants than any other fruit.
- Contain a range of vitamins that are important for many of your baby’s systems – including the brain and central nervous system, the urinary system, the heart and the eyes.
- Organic frozen blueberries are available year-round, and are just as nutritious and delicious as fresh ones.
- Make a ‘Superfood Smoothie’ by cooking blueberries to a ‘mush’ and mixing with pureed greens (such as spinach).
- Mix cooked berries into cooked oatmeal (porridge) and quinoa for a highly nutritious breakfast.
- Add mashed blueberries to other fruit purees.
- Perfect finger food when your baby is old enough to have them.
- Oats are a good source of protein, as well as soluble and insoluble fibre, phytochemicals, vitamin E, zinc, iron, magnesium and selenium.
- Perfect for giving whole-grain goodness to your baby, cooked oatmeal (porridge) has an ideal texture, and is easy to digest.
- Cook oatmeal until very smooth, and add cooked, pureed fruits – and maybe some whole, plain yogurt.
- Avoid packaged ‘instant oatmeal’, which is often full of sugar and additives.
Squash and Sweet Potato:
- Colourful root vegetables and squash and are full of antioxidants.
- Sweet potato is one of the most nutritious vegetables available – rich in phytonutrients and high in vitamins A and C.
- Naturally sweet flavour and creamy texture – delicious when cooked and well mashed.
- Puree cooked squash (such as butternut) or sweet potato as a simple first food for your baby.
- Make a sauce by pureeing cooked squash and leafy greens together with a little water, and serve over well-cooked whole grains.
- Suitable for your baby from about the age of 6 months (check with your baby’s doctor or paediatrician first about any possible allergy or intolerance issues).
- Beneficial bacteria for your baby’s digestive system.
- Helps to develop the immune system.
- Choose whole-milk (and preferably organic) yogurt.
- Add pureed or mashed soft fruits for extra flavour and nutrition.
- One of the healthiest of foods, salmon is rich in Omega 3 essential fatty acids – building blocks for your baby’s developing brain and nervous system.
- Poach a small piece of boneless salmon in a little water or milk, and mash well with some cooked potato.
- When your baby is older, try pouring a mixture of honey, soy sauce and ground ginger over a piece of boneless salmon fish and grill (broil) until cooked through.
Spinach, kale, and other leafy green vegetables:
- Rich in antioxidants – such as lutein and zeazanthin – that help with the development and protection of the eyes.
- High in iron and folate.
- Contain high amounts of vitamin C and good amounts of calcium and vitamin K (calcium and vitamin K work together to build strong bones).
- Contain medium-chain fatty acids similar to those found in human breast milk that help to boost the immune system, improve digestion, and balance blood sugar levels.
- High-fibre, rich-flavoured coconut flour is gluten-free – use it in all recipes that require flour if your baby has gluten intolerance or Coeliac (Celiac) disease – you will also need less sugar because coconut flour has a natural sweetness.
- Coconut oil is a good ‘high heat’ cooking oil, as its high smoke point means that it raises HDL cholesterol – the ‘good’ cholesterol.
- Packed with protein and fibre.
- Include some lentils in your homemade soups for one of the healthiest foods you can give to your baby.
- Mix cooked lentils with cooked rice for a nutritional boost.
Quinoa (pronounced ‘keen wah’):
- A protein-rich seed that is a complete protein, as it contains all 8 essential amino acids.
- Contains good amounts of fibre.
- High levels of manganese, magnesium and iron.
- Gluten free, so is an excellent alternative to whole-grain rice and flour if your baby has gluten intolerance or Coeliac (Celiac) disease.
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.