It's so easy to whip up healthy meals for your little one using fresh vegetables. Pediatricians generally advise that you start with green veggies first, because they're less sweet than yellow veggies and fruits. (If Baby has the sweet stuff first, she might be less willing to eat foods that aren't sweet later.) Rather than buying baby food at the store, why not make your baby's veggie purees at home? If you do, you'll know exactly what's in your baby's food, and you'll also save money, since store-bought baby foods tend to be more expensive than homemade.
Click on the following slides to learn how to make 12 popular vegetable purees. Be sure to wait three to four days between new foods in case your child has an allergic reaction.
Rich in beta-carotene, carrots are a nutritious addition to Baby's diet. The high amounts of vitamin A they contain promote healthy eyesight and help the body resist infection. Plus, carrots are versatile: You can mix them with a variety of fruits, meat, and other veggies -- or easily chop, mash, or puree them.
Wholesome, beta-carotene-rich sweet potatoes are a classic baby favorite, thanks to their sweet but mild flavor. They are also very versatile and can be mixed with a variety of other veggies, fruits, and meat. Sweet potatoes are available all year round, but their peak growing season is in the fall, so be sure to take advantage.
Rich in vitamin A and fiber, green beans are a wonderfully healthy way to introduce Baby to veggies.
Fiber-filled peas are an ideal first veggie. Your baby is ready for vegetable purees after she has mastered single-grain cereal. Mild peas are delicious alone, but they also work well mixed with other veggies or even yogurt.
Filled with vitamin A and potassium, butternut squash is a nutritious addition to Baby's first foods. This winter veggie is sure to be a big hit with your infant, thanks to its sweet, nutty flavor and velvety texture.
Loaded with vitamin C, iron, and other nutrients, pumpkin is a nutritious seasonal addition to Baby's diet. Similar in flavor to squash, it is a perfect companion to less-sweet veggies such as zucchini and green beans. It also mixes well with fruits and meats. Plus, pumpkins are low in fat and calories, but high in fiber.
Calcium-rich and antioxidant-filled spinach is ideal for older babies. This leafy green vegetable packs a lot of nutrients, including vitamin A, iron, and selenium. It also contains high levels of nitrates, though, so be sure to serve in moderation.
Potassium-filled potato puree mixes in wonderfully with a variety of vegetables. Due to its high amount of starchy carbohydrates, though, it's best to keep white potatoes out of your infant's meals until about 8 to 10 months of age.
Add variety to your baby's diet with antioxidant-rich beets. Once she's tried a variety of green and yellow veggies (and once she's at least 8 months old), it's a great time to add beets to the mix. They contain high amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin A, and fiber, so they're a nutritious and colorful treat for Baby.
Broccoli is healthy and filling, and high in vitamins A and K. But, like asparagus, this fiber-filled veggie can be rough on a young baby's digestive system, so wait until your infant is a little older before introducing it to her diet. Broccoli is available year-round, but its peak season is October through April.
Cauliflower packs a powerful punch of vitamin C and fiber. Be careful, though, because the fiber can be challenging for a young baby's digestive system and may cause gas. Fresh cauliflower is best from fall through the early spring.
Bright and delicious, asparagus is high in several vitamins and nutrients, including iron, calcium, and vitamin A. But, like broccoli and cauliflower, this fiber-rich veggie can be difficult for tiny tummies to digest, and it may cause gas. Wait until your baby is a little older before you introduce it to her. Asparagus is delicious alone or mixed with other veggies.
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