Carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes pack nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamin A, and potassium into every bite, says Jenna Helwig, author of Baby-Led Feeding and food director at Parents. Because these veggies are naturally sweet, they tend to get positive reviews from the under-1 set.
Once your baby has tried orange veggie purees plain, add a dash of cumin, cinnamon, or oregano to them to expand his palate. Or combine one with iron-rich ground-beef puree, which Helwig calls “the baby version of a hamburger and french fries!” Finally, add a swirl of his favorite orange food to his least-favorite green puree. Those sweet potatoes could turn him into a fan of green beans too!
If your baby loves pureed carrots and is ready for soft, chopped up finger food, try this: Cut the carrots into pinky-tip-size chunks. Then, steam or roast them so they’re just soft enough to mash with your thumb and forefinger. Says Helwig: “Most babies are curious enough that they’ll want to pick up the new food, taste it, and realize, ‘Oh! It’s a carrot! I like this.’”
Red lentils are high in iron and protein; orange bell peppers can be roasted and mixed with potatoes or shredded chicken; and a spoonful of canned pumpkin is an easy add to a smoothie or oatmeal. “Orange foods are a delicious addition to the family table for years to come,” says Helwig. “Even when your child begins to outgrow baby food, don’t stop serving these healthy foods.” Stick with them!