Superfoods for Babies

The onset of a baby marks a new chapter in the lives of all. He becomes the centre of attraction for all and all efforts are made to keep him healthy, happy and protected. The babies undoubtedly grow very fast during the initial years of their life. They show major physical, emotional, mental as well as social development. Breast milk or mothers feed is considered the best for all babies as it has the right amount of nutrients required for the child and it also helps in building the immunity, but after a while, as the appetite increases the milk alone is not sufficient and babies are required to be given all types of food.

Superfoods For Babies:

Once your baby starts to eat solid food, which is around 6 months of age, comes the significance of ‘superfood’. Superfood is nothing but a nutrient-rich food beneficial for the health and well-being of the growing baby. When it comes to selecting superfood for your little one, you should think fresh and introduce new flavours and different textures at age-appropriate stages. This will train your little ones’ taste buds very well and you can bring down the chances of your little one becoming a picky eater in future.

What Is The Significance Of Superfood For Babies?

Babies need nutrient-rich food. They are in need of special nourishment which boosts their progressing growth and physical development. Superfoods that contain complex carbohydrates that are rarely found or less found in normal foods, lots of vitamins, minerals, and protein will ensure the nutrients necessary for the major physical, emotional, mental as well as social development of the baby.

Here are five foods which are listed as superfoods for babies due to their nutritional intake and health benefits:

1. Avocado

This is the best choice as a first food for the baby and is also referred to as the “Natures Perfect food choice”. This becomes smooth and creamy when mashed and can be easily digested by the baby as soon as solids are introduced. It is an ideal choice for babies at the age of 4-6 months.

How to give:

Avocados can be mashed and given with bananas or yoghurt as a snack.

Health benefits:

  • It helps in building up a better brain.
  • Since its anti-inflammatory, it helps in keeping all allergies and diseases away from the child.
  • It offers nutrients like vitamin, mineral, fats and overall adequate nourishment.

2. Coconut

Even though named coconut, it is not a nut but a fruit. However, if your baby is allergic to nuts, or you have a family history of nut allergy, introduce coconut only after asking your paediatrician. However, coconut allergy is very very rare and it is considered safe to give coconut to the baby in case there is no history of nut or food allergies.

How to give:

Coconut can be consumed in different ways, it could be coconut water, coconut milk, tender coconut flesh or coconut oil. Each form has its own health benefits. Coconut can be given to babies of six months and above. However, initially, it is recommended to use in cooking rather than feeding him or her directly.

Health benefits:

  • They are loaded with vitamin B, phosphorus, protein, zinc and iron.
  • It has a healthy variation of fat and is also a good source of lauric acid that is one of the main fatty acids present in the breast milk.
  • They can help in enhancing the immunity and fight out diseases and infection.
  • These are loaded with antioxidants that help in the protection of the body against free radicals.
  • Intake of coconut helps with digestive issues like constipation, indigestion, and dysentery.

 3. Chia Seeds

These are one of the edible seeds that come from a desert plant. They are tiny black and white seeds and are used for boosting the energy. It has a mild yet nutty flavour which makes them easy to be added to foods or even beverages. It is rich in antioxidants, omega 3s, calcium, and manganese. It is easily absorbed by the body.  It is great for babies who are eight months and older.

How to give:

You can add chia seeds to yogurt, fruit purees, and rice. You can add it to smoothies or drinks as it thickens its consistency. You can add it while baking muffins or bread.

Health benefits:

  • They are packed with Omega three fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants.
  • They help in digestion.
  • Helps in regulating bowel movements and prevents constipation.
  • It is an energy booster
  • Improves stamina and immunity

4. Eggs

These are considered as the best form of protein and even referred to as a superfood. It is undoubtedly loaded with proteins but the interesting part is that one egg comprises of thirteen important vitamins as well which are crucial for the growth and development of the child.

Egg white or Albumen: Both the egg yolk and egg whites are rich in nutrients. However, the calorie intake of egg whites is low and contains zero carbohydrates or fat. Apart from this most of the other nutrients are found in the egg whites. This is also prone to allergies so it is advisable to introduce egg yolks to the baby initially. Whereas, the egg yolks comprise of fat and cholesterol, vitamins, iron, and calcium.

You can safely add egg yolk in the diet of babies from eight months of age.  However, it is recommended to wait for your baby turns one year to introduce egg white.

How to give:

Babies can be given scrambled, boiled, or fried eggs once they are one year old. One egg per day is fine. For the eight-month olds, you can make egg yolk mash. To make it, just cut hard boiled egg, remove the yolk and mash it with little milk.

It is recommended a child under one year should be fed only one egg yolk per day.

Health benefits:

  • Helps with Immunity and Digestion
  • Helps in stronger bone formation
  • Egg white is rich in protein and hence it provides vital energy
  • Good for eyes and brain development
  • Helps in keeping the heart healthy and for the proper functioning of the liver.

5. Sweet Potatoes

These have a higher nutritional value with a yummy taste and thus they are a good choice for a first food for the baby. They have a higher vitamin content, calcium as well as folate. They can be given to the babies in form of a puree. They are an excellent nutritional source, these are even loaded with carbohydrates, antioxidants, potassium, folate as well as vitamins A and C. The side effects caused by sweet potatoes are very rare and that’s why this vegetable is recommended as one of the first solid food to introduce to babies.

How to give:

You can give sweet potato puree for your baby. Baking is the proper method to cook sweet potato as it will retain its flavour and sweetness. However, you can boil or steam the peeled and cubed sweet potato as well.  Sweet potato-apple mash is another excellent option.

Health benefits:

  • It helps with constipation issues.
  • It is rich in Vitamin A and thus, improves the eyesight of baby
  • It enhances the immunity level
  • It is loaded with iron and hence helps to prevent anaemia in babies.
  • It is loaded with vitamins and minerals that help with strong teeth and bones.
  • Since they have a higher calorific content, they help in weight gain for the babies.

Thus, it can be seen that it is of utmost importance to offer healthy and nutritious choices for a healthy and balanced development of the child. Adding the superfoods makes this work easier as most of them have a great taste and texture which is easy in digesting, and is needed by the baby to get a complete dose which is nutrient packed. It is commonly believed that “It is the mother’s duty to get creative in order to provide healthy and attractive options for the babies to eat”.