Your baby lives only on breastmilk or formula milk for the first few months of their life. They usually start eating solid foods when they are around six-months-old. However, every baby is different and so is their growth. So if needed, you may have to start with solids earlier than expected.
When you are starting with solids, it’s important to include lots of vegetables in your baby’s diet, along with foods from other main food groups. This includes infant cereal, meat, fruits, pulses, yoghurt and more.
However, we know that vegetables are a powerhouse of nutrients but most parents will unanimously agree that it is a task to make kids eat them. If you are wondering about the best vegetables for babies, this is just the article for you.
Best Vegetables For Babies By Age
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You can start early to help prevent “picky eating” habits and also monitor food allergies in babies. In addition, introducing vegetables to your babies is vital not only for nutrition but it will also help your child get used to different flavours and textures.
There are several ways to introduce vegetables to your babies. Here’s a list of the best vegetables for babies depending on their age.
Best vegetables for babies (4 to 6-months-old)
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When your babies are just starting with solid foods, you should look for softer veggies. So, the best vegetables for babies who are as young as six-months-old include:
- Pumpkin: You can puree the pumpkins and feed your babies a smooth paste. They’re extremely nutritious and are filled with vitamin A and C that boost immunity and prevent iron deficiency.
- Carrots: They have a lot of fibre that aids digestion as well as beta carotene. The latter converts to Vitamin A, thus boosting vision and also the immune system.
- Spinach: They’re loaded with iron which your babies will need for energy and overall development.
- Avocados: Avocados help to develop the infant’s brain and nervous system. Also, every serving of a sizeable dose is high in folate and fibre. You can start with 1 tbsp of mashed avocado to start with.
- Peas: They are among the highest protein veggies which your baby can have. All you need to do is steam the peas and then blend them to form a puree. If you are looking for a thinner consistency, you can even mix them with a bit of breastmilk.
Note: Do not add any extra seasoning. Avoid adding salt to baby food at this stage. Also, all the food should be soft to minimise the risk of choking.
Vegetables that are good for older kids (8-12 months-old)
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By this time, your baby will have started taking solid foods better, you can then proceed to the next level of vegetables
- Broccoli: It’s loaded with micronutrients and even has cancer-fighting properties. Your baby can enjoy broccoli when it’s steamed or roasted by itself. Remember, if you are planning to introduce this food to your baby at around six months, make sure that it is blended smoothly.
- Cauliflower: It is usually recommended when your baby starts to chew at around eight months. The chunky texture of the vegetable in a puree form is the perfect challenge for a new chewer.
- Beets: They are filled with manganese, folate, and yes fibre. It is normal for babies to not like the taste of beets at first, because it is an acquired taste. So you may have be more innovative and puree this vegetable and try to make it appetising by adding some fruits as well.
- Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes are a favourite of many kids. They’re filled with vitamin C and they store water for hydration.
Note: Tomatoes are usually not recommended to be introduced to an infant until 10-12 months of age. That’s because the acidity of tomatoes may be harsh on their immature tummy.
Best vegetable for baby-led weaning stage
You can help your baby take a lead in the weaning process by allowing them self-feeding options. So try to incorporate bite-sized veggies that your baby can easily grasp in the Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) stage.
- Bell peppers: You will be amazed to know that bell peppers actually contain more vitamin C than oranges. They not only strengthen the immune system but also act as an anti-inflammatory substance. If you find that your baby does not like the strong flavour of bell pepper, then try serving it with some cheese.
- Butternut squash: Remember, when you first start with baby-led weaning, always opt for softer foods. Butternut squash is an excellent BLW food. You can season the cooked pieces of butter squash with a little cinnamon for a dash for extra flavour.
- Cucumbers: There’s nothing as refreshing as a crunchy cucumber. This vegetable provides a cooling sensation to the babies’ teething gums. Remember, to reduce the risk of choking, always peel the skin off of cucumbers and dice them into small pieces.
Note: Give your babies cucumber when they are around nine-months-old. In this stage as well, always give it in a pureed or mashed form. The reason being, cucumbers have a substance called cucurbitacins, and this compound makes it difficult for babies to digest it.
When To Consult A Doctor?
By the time, your child is 1-year-old, they will learn to eat on their own. Most of them can eat the same foods as the rest of the family. But do keep in mind that chunks of raw vegetables remain a choking hazard until your kid reaches the age of four years.
Also keep an eye on any allergies your child may develop after you have introduced them to a new food.
If your toddler shows symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea, or a rash after eating a particular vegetable, immediately stop the food and consult a paediatrician.
News source: Healthline
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