Contrary to popular belief, those little jars of fruits and veggie baby food are not "the best start" for your baby! Most pre-packaged baby food has been cooked at very high temperatures for a long amount of time, leaving it void of important nutrients. The meat varieties are often made with low-quality meat sources and are also nutritional duds.
So, how can you ensure that baby is recieving proper nutrition? The most logical step would be to make your own baby food! Yes, it is VERY time consuming to peel, chop and puree--I know, I've done that! However, you do have other options. Did you know that not everything your baby eats has to be pureed? If you would have told me this when my oldest was starting solids, I would have thought you crazy! However, through the years, I have been fortunate enough to have met some very wise, seasoned mothers (one a pediatrician!) who showed me that it's ok to just give baby whatever you are eating. Small, mashed-up bites of course! This is the approach I have taken with Henry, and I feel very confident knowing that he has be recieving adequate nutrition from a very young age. He is 10 months old, and so far, he's not been sick even once--no cold, nothing! I chalk this up to a strong immune system, but also to our family's whole-foods diet, rich in fruits, veggies and lots of protein. And since he's accustomed to eating what we eat, he is not picky and will eat things like onion and garlic (great immunity boosters this time of year!) and ethnic foods (good since his paternal side of the family is Peruvian.)
So, what are some of the highly-nutritious foods that I feed my baby? Here is a list:
Beans and Lentils--full of fiber. Yeah, they do make him gassy, but not too much since I soak them first.
Brown Rice--I often use this as a base to a breakfast porridge, an alternative to oatmeal.
Eggs--protein powerhouses, and easier for baby to digest than meat.
Avacado--I cut it into little chunks and season with sea salt and lime--he loves it!
Broths--full of important nutrients, like magnesium and zinc. Excellent protein source.
High-quality Fats--I cook with butter, olive oil and coconut oil, and I make sure that Henry consumes these fats daily.
In addition to these foods listed above, my baby's diet consists of lots of fresh veggies and fruits and high-quality dairy. He doesn't like meat very well, but occasionaly will eat fish, especially salmon. That's why I try to increase his protein through other sources, like eggs and bone broth. One thing I do not allow him to have is sugar in excess! All the sweeteners we use in our home are natural, like rapadura, honey (not recomended for babies under 1 year of age!) and stevia. I cannot, however, control what he eats at mamaw and papaw's house! That is where he gets the occasional sweet treat.
These are some of the nutritious, whole-food items I feed my children--I'd love to hear what you do with your little ones!