PERFECT FOODS FOR BABIES & TODDLERS

Every parent loves to see their children young, agile and healthy, but no matter how much we want them to stay small forever, they grow so quickly! In their early years of life, it is critical that they get the nourishment they need to grow and thrive. With that said here are some of the best foods for babies and toddlers

PERFECT FOOD CHOICES FOR BABIES
(full for reference article can be found on The Bump):

 Photo by  Simona Balint

Photo by  Simona Balint

For the first 6 months of life, the very best thing you can do for baby is breastfeed. If breastfeeding is not an option, then you can pick a formula that is gentle on baby’s stomach and doesn’t cause them to have any allergies. Furthermore, if your child happens to be dairy-intolerant, and then it is sure you will need specialized formula.

At 6 months old, a baby should start sitting up unassisted; this is the time you can begin to introduce solids. Many pediatricians as well as parenting experts will recommend giving some form of Iron-Fortified Cereal. I started with my children on whole foods instead, but this is just personal choice. Many myths say that babies will sleep through the night better if you give them cereal before bed, but for my children, this never seemed to improve the quality of their sleep. Every child and family is different!

Whole Foods include:

  • Avocado

  • Sweet Potatoes

  • Banana

  • Homemade Applesauce

  • Carrots

  • Pear

Also, some foods to NOT give baby before they turn 1.

  • Honey

  • Nuts

  • Cow’s Milk

Jinga Life - eat toodler baby 2.jpg

Professional Tip: You can use Jinga Life to help keep track of what foods baby has tried, what foods baby liked, what foods upset baby’s stomach, and what foods you still need to try! This will save your sanity as a parent. I absolutely had to write down everything when we were introducing foods to our kids. Ever since it was hand-written, I kept losing the most important pieces of information. A digital record is the best way, of this i am certain !

PERFECT FOOD CHOICES FOR TODDLERS:

Once you have an active eater that is a year older, you are open to more food options. You can now start trying to serve them full meals with a protein, fruit, & vegetables. My son was, and is to this day, very resistant to veggies. Therefore, I hide them in his foods.

 Photo by Peter Galbraith  

Photo by Peter Galbraith  

Here are some ideas:

  • Smoothies with Spinach

  • Yogurt with Crushed Fruit

  • Pasta cut into bite-size pieces

  • Peanut-butter/Nut-Butter finger sandwiches *Make sure you have introduced peanut butter to child first to prevent any allergy issues. If your child does have a peanut butter allergy, nut butters like Sunflower are a great alternative*

  • Chicken Noodle Soup

  • Soup Broth *My kids love to drink this through a straw*

  • Scrambled Eggs

  • Grapes *Cut in half long ways to prevent choking*

  • Raisins *These make a great car snack*

  • Fruit & Veggie Pouches (We love Happy Tot Super Foods & Happy Tot Fruit & Protein)

  • There are so many great options of what toddlers can eat once you know what their food palette is like. My daughter is an adventurous eater, but my son is not. For my daughter, she will eat a vegetable bone-broth soup, but my son won’t. He prefers to drink the broth and eat the noodles instead.  My daughter also loves rice and so we make Curry from scratch and I put that on top. However, one thing my son does love is smoothies, so I take that as an opportunity to hide spinach or carrots. It gives me peace of mind knowing he’s eating some vegetables.

Jinga Life - eat toodler trouble 2.jpg

Toddlers are not so different to adults and they will want to eat all their favorite foods repeatedly. This is totally fine because the important thing is that they’re eating, but if you can, try to expose them to a variety of foods. This helps them learn what they really like and don’t. We have the one-bite rule in our house, which is basically where and when we present them with a new food; they have to try just one bite. If they don’t like it, they can spit it out and they don’t have to eat anymore, but at least they tried it. Often, this one-bite rule works in our favor, and the kids will end up eating what they previously told us was “yucky.”

Another thing I would recommend is smaller portions. I wasted so much food as a first-time mom because I would put too much food on my son’s plate. He is more of a grazer and likes to eat slowly. Now, I know I’m supposed to serve him a small amount at first, and if he finishes that and is still hungry, I give him another serving. This method works very well and I have considerably less food wastage.

Most of all, remember it’s fun to eat together as a family and try new things! Happy eating!