What’s A Healthy Food For My Baby?
Healthy foods are those containing nutrients which support growth and development, whilst providing energy. Although other factors such as genetics, environment, gender and individual characteristics can influence growth, food provides a major contributing element to health and wellbeing.
Eating the right foods from the start is more important than at any other time of your baby’s life. The food they eat can provide the building blocks for a healthy body and mind. What they learn to eat as a baby will also be the foundation of their eating habits for later life. The type of foods chosen should be suitable to your baby’s age and stage of development.
Below are examples of foods rich in the macronutrients your baby needs:
Protein is essential for growth as it provides the ‘building blocks’ for growing bodies.
Ideal sources are from animal products such as:
Plant foods also provide protein, including legumes such as chickpeas, lentils and tofu.
Carbohydrates are important to provide your baby’s body with energy. Whole grain food are an excellent source. They are not so processed or refined so they help to keep hunger at bay.
Ideal sources of carbohydrates include:
- Bread and cereals
- Wholegrain rice, pasta and noodles
Fats and Oils
Fats and oils provide vital energy for your baby to grow. They also require fat for brain function. Choose foods rich in unsaturated fats instead of those high in saturated fat. Some sources include:
- Vegetable oil
- Olive oil
In addition to these macronutrients, it’s also important to consider vitamins & minerals. For more on this, see Nutrition – Vitamins and Minerals.
Variety Is The Spice Of Life
Introducing solid foods to your baby will be an exciting and important phase in their overall development. Different tastes and textures, colours and flavours all help your baby learn about food. Learning what’s involved in eating from a spoon and chewing can take time and lots of practice. Just as importantly, learning to pick up food and transfer it into their mouth is a skill that improves with practice over time.
Eating should be an enjoyable pastime for all of us. Helping your baby towards independent eating and to learn the process involved in choosing, eating and sharing food can present some challenges though. However, every day your positive role modelling will be invaluable in helping them adopt a positive attitude towards food.
For more information on foods suitable for your child, see our Stages of Weaning pages: