Look For Iron
Your baby needs iron for the development of their body and brain. So, ensure to give your little one iron-rich foods, such as meats and cereals, every day.
- Meat: Choose single meats (such as beef, turkey, chicken, and pork) with no additional ingredients. Added water is okay.
- Cereal: Choose plain, single-grain, iron-fortified baby cereal. Skip flavored cereals; they’re filled with sugar and other ingredients your baby doesn’t require. Instead, add a few real vegetables or fruits for flavor.
Pick Vegetables That Are Actually Vegetables
Your baby doesn’t need added sugar or preservatives. So, look for vegetable baby food that includes vegetables only (added water is OK). And skip the vegetable/fruit combos as they teach your baby that vegetables only taste good if they’ve been sweetened with fruit.
By exposing your baby to the taste of plain vegetables when he is young, you are setting him up to enjoy whole vegetables as he grows up.
Leave The Juice On The Shelf
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no juice until after a baby’s first birthday, and even after that, they don’t need it. According to the AAP, juice consumption in babies can lead to the following:
- Poor nutrition
- Increased risk of tooth decay
- Increased risk of diarrhea, gas and bloating
- Increased risk of exposure to bacteria in unpasteurized juices
Your baby can get all the vitamins and minerals she needs from vegetables and fruits.
Read Food Labels
Read the label to avoid these added ingredients:
- Extra sugar – You’ll find it on the label, listed as sugar, cane sugar, fruit juice or syrups, or sold as “baby desserts.”
- Salt – Salt is an acquired taste. So, exposing your baby to it now means they’ll want more later on, which isn’t healthy for them. Also, their kidneys are still developing and can’t handle too much salt.
- Thickening agents, like flours and starches – Not only are they tough on young stomachs, but they also replace the actual, healthy food you’re trying to buy.
Don’t Be Fooled By Marketing
Like other foods in the departmental store, most baby foods are labeled “all-natural” or “organic.” But their claims don’t always mean they’re the best choices.
Tip: Look at the first three ingredients listed on the nutrition label because that’s what the item for consumption is primarily made of. Are they the same as what’s marketed on the front?