Since babies’ stomachs are tiny, it is even more important that everything we feed them is packed full of nutrients. So which infant and toddler-friendly foods fit the bill? Below, we've listed out some of the top superfoods for babies.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” – who hasn’t heard it before? This old saying has in fact some truth to it:
Apples are not only rich in vitamins and minerals, but also in substances called phytonutrients, which are specific to each plant. The ones found in apples are believed to have antibacterial properties and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Pectin, the soluble fiber found in apples helps with Baby’s digestion, regulates insulin levels and a promotes a healthy gut flora. Grated or mashed apples have been used for generations as a remedy for upset stomachs.
Pears have one of the lowest glycemic indexes of all fruits. This means they cause a very slow and steady rise in blood sugar levels, which helps to avoid a “sugar high” and provides lasting energy for an active toddler. It also keeps the stomach feeling full and satisfied for a longer period of time than other fruits. Allergic reactions against pears are extremely rare, which makes it an ideal fruit for children with a family history of allergies or eczema.
The trace minerals found in pears are thought to improve brain function, a very important part of Baby’s development!
These deliciously sweet fruits are a great quick and filling source of energy. They are well-known for their high content of potassium, which regulates blood pressure, and magnesium, which is needed to support the function of the brain, nervous system and healthy cell production. Bananas are extremely gentle on the stomach and can be used to help with both diarrhea and constipation.
Once a baby has been introduced to a bland food and tolerates it well, adding small amounts of spices and herbs can be a great way to enhance the taste without adding any sugar or salt. Exposing babies to a variety of flavors will encourage their interest in different foods and may reduce pickiness later on. One of the oldest known spices, the warm and sweet tasting cinnamon is thought to have healing properties for the stomach, as well as a positive effect on blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Kiwis are one of the best sources of vitamin C in the world of fruits, they contain twice as much vitamin C as oranges. Most children love the sweet taste of ripe Kiwis! They also contain calcium and magnesium, essential for growing those little bones, and small amounts of iron and B-vitamins. The vitamin C also helps the body absorb the iron most efficiently.
Mangoes are juicy, soft and sweet, and a favorite fruit for many children. Originally from the foothills of the Himalayas, the traditional eastern medicine credits mangoes with many healing properties for both the body and the spirit.
Mangoes have antiviral qualities, they are rich in vitamin C, D and beta carotene, boost the immune system and may help to reduce the risk of many viral infections and certain tumors.
In many countries, carrots are the first “solid” food that babies get introduced to. They protect the stomach and contain an abundance of carotenoids, including beta carotene. These play a vital role for healthy bones, teeth, eyes and the immune system. They improve the absorption of iron into the body and can even reduce the risk for heart disease and cancer. Gently cooking or steaming breaks down the cell walls of carrots, giving them a slightly sweeter taste and making the beta carotene and other nutrients more easily absorbed by the body.
Despite their name, sweet potatoes are not actually potatoes, but belong to the yam family. They are loaded with potassium, which is needed to regulate blood pressure, improve muscle function and support the nervous system. They are also an excellent source of beta carotene, great for the development of the eyes and the immune system. Eaten regularly, they can reduce the risk of infections and inflammations of the muscles and bones.
The tiny green peas are surprisingly rich in phytonutrients and vitamin C. Their sweet taste and versatility make it a great legume for kids! They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which has many benefits for maintaining colon health and regulating blood sugar levels.
Peas are also a good source of minerals like iron and zinc, two minerals that are vital for brain and body growth and often lacking in a plant-based diet, as well as magnesium and folate.
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