We all want our kids to be veggie lovers, but getting there may seem like a challenge, from the labor of preparing vegetable purees, to finding commercial baby food without added fruits to mask any vegetably-ness. Stick with it, because veggies are worth the extra effort. They're full of complex carbs, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, essential nutrients that form the base of our modern diet. And vegetables are especially high in nutrients that babies need for proper growth and development like calcium, folate and iron, so it’s even more important that parents encourage babies to try an array of vegetables.
Not sure where to begin? Here’s a list of the best vegetables for babies just starting solids. All of these vegetables are loaded with important nutrients and are easy to mash or puree once cooked.
1. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are a great first food because they’re naturally sweet and very easy to mash. Sweet potatoes are one of the best sources of vitamin A to promote healthy vision development, immunity, and skin health. They also offer lots of vitamin C and antioxidants to further support immunity, and fiber for gut health. Try serving a variety of sweet potatoes, including orange, white, and purple to introduce new colours to your little one.
Carrots are high in vitamin A to promote healthy vision development and immunity, as well as carbohydrates to help restore babies’ rapid energy burn. Carrots are easy to mash once cooked, and have a mild sweet flavour. Carrots can be a great vehicle to introduce babies to mild spices like turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, or cumin.
Spinach is a baby superfood, rich in iron, an important nutrient for growth that babies start lacking around 4 months. It also has loads of potassium, folic acid, calcium, and vitamins B6, B9, E, C and K, which support bones, blood, skin and the nervous system. Once cooked, spinach is easily pureed and served alone or mixed with sweet vegetables, like carrot or sweet potato.
Pumpkin is high in vitamin A to promote healthy vision and immunity, as well as vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and zinc to support growth and immune function. Pumpkin is also a great source of fiber to help keep babies regular. Canned pumpkin works just fine for babies, and is a convenient food year round. Try it with a sprinkling of cinnamon or mixed with yogurt.
Peas are a great source of protein, with 4 grams per serving, helping babies grow, and maintain skin and muscles. Peas also have vitamin K, which promotes bone health, and antioxidants like vitamins A, Bs, and C to support the immune system. Frozen peas are a great option, and can be easily pureed once thawed. Try adding herbs like mint, parsley or thyme into pea puree to introduce new flavours.
Always avoid raw, hard vegetables for babies, as they are a choking hazard. Start slow when introducing new vegetables, as some babies will need to try them again and again before they willingly accept them. Mix things up once your little one moves further along with solids (6-8 months) by serving a few vegetables together at meal times.
And remember, Pureyay is here to help. Our meals are specially designed to support growing bodies, brains and taste buds, and offer a variety of vegetables in every jar.