Macronutrients form an important part of your baby’s diet – supplying energy and many of the essential nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.
Food provides the energy and building blocks for a healthy body and mind – and understanding the nutrient content of baby’s first foods is important so they can get the right amounts of all the macro- and micronutrients they need.
It’s important to offer your baby a variety of foods from (and within) each of the five food groups as different types of foods provide different amounts of the key nutrients needed to meet baby’s nutritional and energy needs.
For more information on the five food groups see our Weaning Food Groups
What are nutrients?
Nutrients are substances that we need during our everyday life to help grow, repair and protect our bodies, as well as providing us with energy.
These nutrients are divided into two groups:
- Macronutrients – required by the body in relatively large amounts and include carbohydrates, proteins and fats (and oils). They provide the body with all the fuel required for healthy growth and development
- Micronutrients – are only needed in small amounts and include vitamins and minerals. Unlike macronutrients, micronutrients are not an energy source for our bodies.
For more information on micronutrients see our Vitamins and Minerals article
Carbohydrates are important as they are the body’s main source of energy and comes in different forms such as sugars, starch and fibre.
Foods that contain carbohydrates include bread, cereals, wholegrain rice, pasta and noodles.
Proteins are essential for growth as they provide the ‘building blocks’ (amino acids) for growing bodies.
Lean meat, fish, chicken, eggs, beans, lentils, chickpeas and tofu are all foods that contain protein.
Fats and Oils
Fats and oils provide vital energy for your baby to grow and are important in the development of a healthy brain and nervous system. Choose foods rich in unsaturated fats instead of those high in saturated fat.
Introducing solid foods to your baby will be an exciting and important phase in their overall development – and it’s important that they get all the nutrients and energy they need when they need it.
For more information on foods suitable for your child at the different stages of weaning see our articles: Stage 1: From 6 Months – First Tastes, Stage 2: 7-9 Months, Stage 3: 10-12 Months and Stage 4: 10-12 Months