In her book Superfoods for Babies and Children (Atria Books), bestselling author Annabel Karmel details which are the best foods for your 7- to 9-month-old baby, and why.
Vegetables and Fruits
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins C and E and beta-carotene, so sometimes it's a good idea to substitute them for ordinary potatoes.
Peas belong in the Super-Veggie league, being a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as folic acid and B vitamins.
Frozen vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh, since they are frozen within hours of being picked, thus locking in vital nutrients. So frozen peas are good even for the youngest member of the family.
Butternut squash is very appealing to babies, as they love its sweet taste and it is a very good source of the antioxidant beta-carotene.
Prunes are a good source of instant energy, fiber, and iron. They help with constipation, as they are a natural laxative.
Legumes and Grains
Lentils are a good source of protein and fiber. They are also a rich source of potassium, zinc, and folic acid. Both cheese and lentils are good nutrient-dense foods for growing babies.
Oats help stabilize blood sugar and help to give long-lasting energy. They are also rich in a form of soluble fiber that protects intestinal surfaces and helps to keep the body's cholesterol levels down.
Meats and Seafood
Lamb provides a good source of B vitamins, zinc, and iron. Babies are born with a store of iron that lasts for about six months, so after this time it is important to ensure that they get the iron they need from their diet.
Chicken is a growth food, as it is packed with protein and vitamin B12, which is not found in plant foods. Chicken also naturally contains fat, which is used for energy and growth. It is very important that children aged 6 to 9 months start to regularly eat foods containing adequate amounts of protein.
Red meat provides the best and most easily absorbed source of iron. A baby's iron requirements are particularly high between 6 and 12 months.
Fish is an excellent low-fat source of protein and it is important to encourage a liking for fish early on. I find that one of the best fish to introduce to young babies is flounder, as it purees to a smooth consistency. Here I have mixed it with a creamy cheese sauce and vegetables, so this recipe provides an excellent source of proteins, calcium, and vitamins.
Recipe: My First Fish Puree
4 1/2 ounces flounder fillet, skinned
1 bay leaf
Sprig of parsley
1/2 cup milk
Put the fillet into a saucepan together with the peppercorns, bay leaf, and parsley, and pour in the milk. Simmer until the fish is cooked (about 5 minutes). Strain and reserve the cooking liquid, but discard the peppercorns, bay leaf, and parsley. Flake the fish with a fork, checking to make sure there are no bones. Put the carrots into a saucepan and pour in the boiling water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, add the peas, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Drain, reserving the water.
To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour to make a roux, then gradually whisk in the reserved cooking liquid from the fish. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened (1 to 2 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese. Mix in the drained vegetables and the flaked fish. Blend to a smooth puree for young babies and, if necessary, you can add a little more milk or some of the cooking water from the carrots and peas to thin it out.
Originally published on AmericanBaby.com, October 2006.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.