At six months, your baby should probably be ready to start weaning. Consulting a pediatrician if that is not the case is an excellent idea. It is vitally important that you feed your baby healthy and wholesome food. It is also a good idea to expose your baby to as many food flavors and textures as possible. When it comes to the baby’s first food, experts recommend that you begin with well-cooked vegetables. Some examples of baby food vegetables include sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, peas, beans and parsnips just to name a few.
These vegetables are packed with essential nutrients. Using the right preparation methods such as steaming, boiling, and baking means the vegetables will retain most of their nutrients. Always observe food safety by giving your baby food that is not too hot. Additionally, the food should not be a potential choking hazard. Moreover, it should be hygienically prepared and served. The vegetables should also be pureed after preparation to achieve the right texture and consistency. Doing so will prevent choking. Adding breast milk or formula will help you get the best consistency. Other suitable foods include fruits, which can also be given alongside the vegetables to provide great nutrition for your baby.
How to Prepare Baby Food Vegetables
Giving your baby vegetables early in life helps them when it comes to developing good eating habits. Your baby may not like the vegetables on the very first try and they may wrinkle their face on the first taste. This should not alarm you because it is a normal reaction to totally new and foreign taste. Be patient with your baby. Do not force-feed him. Just keep trying and eventually your little one will be eating every bit of the food.
You may be wondering which vegetables to begin with, as there are different kinds out there in all sizes and colors. Well, dark green vegetables usually have strong flavors and your baby may find it hard to enjoy their tastes, and perhaps it is better for you to begin with milder flavored orange vegetables such sweet potatoes and squash. You can add more flavors as you go by and eventually introduce finger foods when your baby is ready for them.
Vegetables are rich in nutrients and vitamins. They are included in the food pyramid as basic foods. Here is a list of vegetables that can your baby can handle. Also included is how to prepare them.
• Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes have a soft texture and an agreeable flavor, especially for babies. You can bake or steam them and when they are well done, peel and mash them or use a food processor. Adding water or breast milk will help you get the consistency that is right for your baby. Sweet potatoes contain vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene as well as vitamin C and manganese among other different nutrients. They are available in stores as jarred baby food and they are widely available if you wish to prepare them at home.
Peas have a vibrant green color. They are also sweet and your baby should have little or no trouble eating them. They can be boiled or steamed. You can also mash them with breast milk or formula to get the right texture. Some of the nutrients found in peas include calcium, iron copper zinc, and thiamin. They are a healthy choice but you should not give them to your baby when they are whole as there is a risk of choking.
Squash is rich in nutrients such as potassium and manganese as well as vitamins B and E alongside others. Different kinds of squash such as butternut squash, pumpkin, acorn squash, and yellow summer squash among others are all suitable for making baby food. Preparation is similar to that of sweet potatoes i.e. by steaming or baking then pureeing by mashing and adding breast milk or formula. Always pick the fresh and preferably organic varieties of squash when you are making a homemade puree. You should also note that squash baby food is also widely available at grocery stores.
• Green Beans
Green beans are also a healthy vegetable choice and have similar preparation methods to peas. They can be pureed using breast milk or formula. They contain nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and iron just to name a few. They make a great accompaniment to other vegetables such as the sweet potatoes.
The list would not be complete without carrots, which are brightly colored and are bound to appeal to your baby. They can be boiled or steamed. When they are well done, they can be pureed using healthy breast milk or formula. As you may already know, carrots are rich in vitamin C. They also contain other nutrients such as potassium and calcium among others.
A Balanced Diet
It is important to ensure that your baby gets a balanced diet. A simple and easy guide to use is the food pyramid, which outlines all the nutrients that should be included in your baby’s diet. The basic meals in the pyramid are as follows
• Vegetables and fruits for vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, and fiber
• Poultry, meat, and fish for protein, vitamin B, and iron
• Cereals and bread for energy, fiber, vitamin B, E and iron
• Milk and dairy products should provide calcium, proteins, vitamin A, and vitamin D
Vegetables and fruits make a great and incredibly healthy food for your baby. Always buy the freshest produce. You should also aim for organically grown food, as these are the healthiest choices for your baby. Strive to keep mealtimes interesting by giving your baby different foods at each mealtime, because babies are not different from adults and can get bored when meals are continuously the same. Moving from breast milk to solids is an important milestone for your baby. By feeding them wholesome and healthy meals, they are bound to stick to eating healthy as they grow. It is best to remember that you are what you eat no matter what your age.