The 18 Best Foods for Babies and Toddlers

Give your child a nutritional boost by incorporating these superfoods into their diet.

baby eating food in high chair

Babies don't eat much because of their tiny tummies, so it's important that their diets contain plenty of nutrients. Check out this thorough superfood list for age-appropriate items, ones that are accessible, nourishing, and pack a big nutritional punch.

What Are Superfoods?

While the term is relatively new, superfoods are not. They are foods which offer maximum nutritional benefits for minimal calories. Superfoods are also packed with vitamins and rich in minerals and antioxidants.

When Can Babies Eat Superfoods?

In general, the items in this superfood list are appropriate for babies 6 months and older, when prepared according to your infant's eating skills. Certain items—such as meat, fruit, and vegetable purees—may be gradually introduced earlier than 6 months if your baby is ready for them. Just remember that solid foods of any kind should not be introduced before 4 months of age. Ask your pediatrician if you're not sure when to introduce certain foods or which foods are best for your baby.

From the age of 1, solid food will replace much of the milk in your baby's diet. Try introducing a wider variety of foods, presented in an appealing way, and encourage your baby to feed himself.

Best Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers

These 18 items provide your little one with essential vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. Incorporate them into their diet for optimal health benefits.

Bananas

Bananas are full of carbohydrates for sustained energy, as well as fiber to support a healthy digestive tract. They're a perfectly portable baby food, as they come in their own easy-to-peel packaging. When serving bananas to young kids, make sure they are ripe and thoroughly mashed. Older babies can eat chopped bananas as finger food.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes provide potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and beta-carotene—an antioxidant that prevents certain types of cancer and mops up free radicals. Most babies prefer sweet potatoes over other vegetables because of their naturally sweet taste. When cooked and mashed, sweet potatoes make a smooth puree that's easy to eat, even for babies who are just starting the to transition to solid foods.

Avocados

Avocados have the highest protein content of any fruit, and they're rich in monounsaturated fat—the "good" type of fat that helps prevent heart disease. Make sure you only serve baby ripe avocados. Wash the outside, then remove the peel and mash well.

Eggs

Egg whites provide protein, while the yolks contain zinc and vitamins A, D, E, and B12. The yolk also has choline, which research shows is crucial for brain development. Traditionally, pediatricians have advised parents to not serve eggs—especially egg whites—until after the first year because of the potential for allergic reactions. But that advice has changed, and some experts believe that eggs should be delayed only in families that have a history of allergies. Ask your doctor for more information.

Carrots

Carrots have large amounts of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that gives them their orange color. Beta-carotene converts into vitamin A and plays a role in growth and healthy vision. Cooking carrots brings out their natural sweetness, which makes them appealing to babies, who are born with a preference for sweet flavors. When making carrots for your little one, make sure they are cooked until very soft. Then puree them or serve well-cooked diced carrots.

Yogurt

Yogurt gives your baby calcium, protein, and phosphorus, which are important for healthy bones and teeth. It also has probiotics, a type of good bacteria that aids digestion and supports the immune system. Babies need fat in their diets, so choose whole-milk yogurt over low-fat or fat-free varieties. Also avoid flavored yogurts, which are high in sugar.

Cheese

Not only does cheese contain protein, it also boasts calcium and healthy dose of riboflavin (vitamin B2), which helps convert protein, fat, and carbohydrates into energy. Swiss cheese in particular has a slightly sweet taste that appeals to babies. Since cheese can be a choking hazard, cut it into small, diced pieces.

Baby cereal

Iron-fortified infant cereals give your baby the iron they need for proper growth and development. Babies are born with a supply of iron, but it starts to run out around 5 to 6 months. If your baby is just starting to eat solids, experts recommend iron-fortified rice cereal as their first food since it's less likely than other grains to cause an allergic reaction.

Chicken

Chicken is packed with protein and vitamin B6, which is used to help the body extract energy from food. It's important that babies start regularly eating foods containing adequate amounts of protein to support their rapid growth. If your baby doesn't like the taste of chicken on its own, mix it with their favorite fruit or vegetable.

Red meat

Red meat provides an easily absorbed form of iron, which helps red blood cells carry oxygen to cells and assists brain development. Younger babies can have meat purees, while older babies who are able to chew can have well-cooked, finely diced meats.

Butternut squash

Babies love the sweet taste of butternut squash—and it boasts healthy doses of the antioxidant beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, folate, B-vitamins, and even some omega-3 fatty acids. Simply steam or boil butternut squash until tender, then puree until smooth.

Fish

Fatty fish like salmon abounds with fat-soluble vitamins and essential fats that support brain development, eye health, and the immune system. Whats more, white fish like haddock and cod give a much-needed protein boost. Fish can cause an allergic reaction though, so talk to your pediatrician before introducing it to your baby.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, an antioxidant pigment that helps to prevent cancer and heart disease. However, research shows that lycopene in tomatoes can be absorbed more efficiently by the body if the tomatoes have been cooked with a little oil.

Peas

Peas are bursting with vitamin K, a nutrient that works alongside calcium to build healthy bones. They also have antioxidant vitamins A and C, as well as folic acid, fiber, and B vitamins.

Broccoli

Broccoli is a true superfood for babies, thanks to high amounts of vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid, iron, potassium, and fiber. Boiling broccoli in water cuts its vitamin C content in half, so it's best to steam or microwave it. If your baby isn't keen on the taste of broccoli, mix it with a sweet-tasting vegetable, such as sweet potato or butternut squash.

Pasta

Pasta is a good source of complex carbohydrates, which provide us with sustained energy. This is why it's so popular with athletes. Try mixing some whole-grain pasta with regular pasta to increase the fiber content of the meal. Make sure to choose small shapes and cook until very tender.

Raspberries

Raspberries contain ellagic acid, which can help protect us against cancer. Of all the fruits, raspberries pack the most fiber into the fewest calories.

Brown rice

Brown rice provides energy, some protein, B vitamins, and minerals. It's much more nutritious than white rice, since the latter loses most of its important minerals and vitamins during processing. The starch in rice is absorbed slowly, thereby providing a steady release of glucose for sustained energy.

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