Starting solids with baby can be exciting…and intimidating, as we well know. Every parent wants to do everything right, keep baby safe, and start her out on the right foot, nutritionally speaking, which can create some anxiety. We get it!
Now that most of us at Cool Mom HQ are safely on the other side of toddler parenting, we’ve learned that the key is to keep things simple. Our guide to starting solids provides practical, real-life guidelines on how to approach feeding.
But what to feed them?
Well, we’re big fans of sticking with these so-called superfoods for babies and toddlers.
Superfoods make ideal ingredients for homemade baby food, but let’s get real: When we need convenience (and that’s a lot!), we look for all-natural, store-bought foods for babies and toddlers that contain our favorite superfoods. And that includes the excellent products from our partner, NurturMe.
We’ve been longtime fans of their all organic, easily digestible meals and snacks, which we first discovered back in 2010. They’re not just convenient, they’re also free from gluten, dairy, soy, and egg, as well as packed with an added serving of probiotics to keep babies’ tummies happy and healthy. So yeah, this is good stuff.
As with all of the foods on our list of top ten healthy superfoods for babies and toddlers, if you keep your favorite NurturMe products in rotation, you can rest assured that your baby is off to a great start.
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Our top superfoods for babies and toddlers:
Nutrient-dense avocados are packed with monounsaturated “good” fats, vitamin E, and fiber, which helps prevent constipation. They’re also incredibly easy, because no cooking.
Once your avocado is ripe, cut and slice, mash, blend…you name it. The possibilities are endless, as you can tell from these 12 unexpected ways to eat avocado that we’ve shared. Surely one of them will delight your beginner eater.
Blueberries are not just loaded with vitamins and minerals, they also serve up tons of antioxidants, which are said to help keep us healthy on a cellular level.
Sweet blueberries are easy to serve plain — just hand over the pint or cut in half for very little ones — blend into smoothies, or mash into oatmeal, which is something that even older kids like too.
Beans, beans the magical fruit…okay, so besides the whole tooting thing, they really are magical! Beans are a great source of protein, as well as fiber and calcium, two things that some say kids don’t get enough of. All beans are good for you, from lentils to chickpeas, black beans to kidney beans, but the rule of thumb is that the darker they are, the better they are for you.
When kids are little, you can just hand them over (my kids were obsessed with plain and roasted chickpeas). You can also mash beans into delicious dips or use them to amp up stews, chilis, and rice dishes.
4. Foods with Probiotics
Yogurt is the food that generally makes it on to lists of great superfoods for babies and toddlers, and that’s because it contains high levels of probiotics. These days, though, there are more ways than just yogurt to get probiotics and their immune-boosting benefits into your child’s diet.
For your toddlers, try Ancient Grain Cereals from NurturMe, which include a daily recommended dose of probiotics to help with digestive health. If you’re looking for healthy snacks that include probiotics, the NurturMe Ancient Grain Snacks offer similar benefits, and they’re lower in sugar than so many other snacks parents often reach for.
About our sponsor
NurturMe makes feeding babies and toddlers healthfully easy with their line of tummy-friendly products that are free of gluten, dairy, soy, and egg, and also have an added serving of probiotics.
From Infant Quinoa Cereal to Ancient Grain cookies (which contain only 6 grams of sugar per serving — yes!), Freeze Dried Fruit + Veggie Snacks to Power Blends squeeze pouches, their foods are only the good stuff and always organic.
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Broccoli may have a bad rep with older kids, but this green veg is truly a superfood — and worth getting the kids eating early and often! Packed with vitamin C and beta-carotene, broccoli also serves up folic acid, iron, potassium, and fiber. The key to ensuring that baby gets as much of this good stuff as possible is to steam or microwave florets; boiling broccoli in water can reduce it’s vitamin C content by as much as half!
When you start broccoli early, baby is likely to get used to the taste, so feel free to try serving up soft-cooked pieces all on their own. My kids still love it with nothing more than a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of salt, and squeeze of fresh lemon juice. You can also mix broccoli with other, more naturally sweet veggies like squash, rutabaga, or sweet potato.
Another clever way to get some broccoli in? NurturMe Banana, Apple, and Broccoli Yum-a-Roo’s. These perfectly sized bites of dried fruit and veg are made with 100% organic produce and perfect for taking on the go.
Spinach is an excellent source of calcium, vitamins A and C, iron, and folic acid, all of which are said to be great for growing bones and developing brains. And bonus: It’s the quickest cooking and most mild tasting of all the dark, leafy super greens.
Chop it well and add to tomato sauce, soups, or pasta — one of our favorite picky eater tips. Or for a sure-thing kid favorite, tuck some into a quesadilla with plenty of melty cheese. For grab-and-go spinach goodness for little eaters, NurturMe offers a Power Blend Puree made from organic spinach, peas, and pears.
A lot of us think of quinoa as a grain, but it’s a protein-rich seed that’s high in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as potassium, calcium, and magnesium. It contains eight essential amino acids, too, which makes it a rare food that your body can digest in a way that makes use of 90% of the good stuff it offers. Talk about a superfood!
When quinoa is cooked correctly (it’s easy if you follow our tips, I promise!), it turns out mild tasting, soft, and fluffy, which makes it easy to eat at any age, but especially for beginner eaters.
You can mix whole cooked quinoa with nearly any puree or yogurt or keep things super easy with the Quinoa Infant Cereals from NurturMe.
Salmon is a fatty fish in the best way, packed with heart-healthy, brain-boosting omega-3 fats. The only thing to watch out for here is mercury: Buying wild salmon helps ensure lower levels and, by some accounts, may offer up more omega-3’s.
The easiest way to serve this nutritious fish is to cook some for yourself. Go low on the salt and fatty sauces, then just flake some salmon off for baby. It’s that simple!
You can also mix flaked salmon with veggie purees, rice or grains, whether whole or in cereal form. And of course, fish fingers make plenty of toddlers very happy.
If you ask me, beets are an unsung vegetable hero. Despite being a nutritional powerhouse, they are underused by many family cooks who are missing out on this great source of folic acid, potassium, and beta-carotene. Plus, they’re naturally sweet, which babies and toddlers appreciate!
These root veggies are easy to cook: just steam or roast. Roasting is my preferred method since it enhances the vegetable’s natural sweetness. Plus, it’s so easy to do: Trim the leaves, wrap the unwashed bulbs in aluminum foil, and nestle in a roasting pan to bake until tender all the way through. Once out of the oven, allow the beets to cool completely before unwrapping and peeling off the skin, which will slip right off.
Puree cooked beets alone or with other veggies or grains. Or, if you cook them soft enough, cut into bite-size pieces that baby can manage. My boys love when I toss roasted beets with a dressing made with white wine vinegar and/or lemon juice, olive oil, a dollop of protein-rich Greek-style yogurt, salt, and fresh dill.
10. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins B, C, and E, as well as iron, calcium, and potassium, all important for healthy growth. Thanks to complex carbohydrates and lots of fiber, they’re also very filling and give a boost of even energy without the crash you get from white, simple carbs. Plus, they’re sweet. Mmmm.
My favorite way to serve sweet potatoes — to this day — is to simply roast them. The slow cooking process helps caramelize the sugars, enhancing their natural sweetness. Then they mash in an instant, especially with a little sprinkle of cinnamon and dollop of butter or, even better, coconut oil.
And if your little eater is a fan, you can also check out the NurturMe Quinoa Cereal with sweet potatoes and raisins. Sounds good to us adults too!
Thank you to NurturMe for making it easy to feed our wee ones healthfully and keep their little tummies happy too. NurturMe is available in Target stores nationwide where you can get Infant Cereals, Yum-A-Roo’s Freeze Dried Fruit + Veggie Snacks, 100% Quinoa Squares, and Ancient Grain Cookies for 20% off now through August 19, 2017 . You can also find Power Blends squeeze pouches at 5 for $5.