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4 Unexpected Foods Your Baby Can Actually Eat

mom feeding baby

Does the idea of eating mashed peas and bananas for every meal all week long sound terribly boring to you? Chances are, your baby feels the same way. Babies love trying new foods. Here are four fun options to introduce to your baby that are tasty and packed with important nutrition. (Want to know more about what to feed your baby and when? We’ve got you covered.) 

1. Can babies eat meat?
Yes, they can. Iron is a key mineral necessary for healthy growth and brain development. If they have been exclusively breastfed (and haven’t been taking a supplement), your baby will go through the store of iron they were born with after four to six months. To make sure your baby’s iron levels remain in the healthy range, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends including meat in your baby’s diet since the iron in meat is more easily absorbed than the kind found in plants. 

Choice cuts: Beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, and pork. You can also feed baby low-mercury fish (like salmon, cod, tilapia, or shrimp), a great source of DHA and other Omega-3s.

Good eats: While it’s perfectly fine to simply purée a piece of meat for your baby’s dinner, they may enjoy the protein hit more if it’s blended with veggies or fruits like sweet potatoes, peas, apples, carrots, zucchini, or mangos (once they’re ready for combinations).

2. Can babies eat eggs?
Yes, they can. Eggs are a very high-quality source of protein and contain 14 essential vitamins and nutrients, including choline, which is critical for brain development. 

Until recently, it was thought that babies should not eat egg whites (a common allergen) before turning one year old, and the yolks only after eight months. But experts have now revised those recommendations, and there’s no evidence of any benefit to holding off on eggs after a baby reaches six months old. In fact, research suggests early exposure may actually help decrease allergic reactions. Just keep an eye out for signs of an allergic reaction, like swelling or a rash.

Get crackin’: Whether you’re going with the yolks, whites, or the whole egg, only serve them to your baby thoroughly cooked since raw or undercooked eggs may contain salmonella.

Good eats: For those first bites, simply hard-boil a whole egg, thoroughly mash it, and then serve it plain until you’re sure your little one doesn’t have any sensitivities to it. (If it’s too thick, you can thin the mash with a little breast milk, formula, or water.) 

3. Can babies eat yogurt?
Yes, they can. Because babies aren’t supposed to drink milk before their first birthday, many parents are surprised to discover that they have the green light to start giving their infant yogurt by the six-month mark. The live cultures (probiotics) that ferment milk into yogurt help break down the lactose and protein, making yogurt far easier for babies to digest.

Yogurt also provides a healthy dose of calcium (can you say strong bones?) and vitamin B12, which keeps nerve and blood cells healthy, and helps make DNA!

Super scoops: Whole-fat and plain is the name of the game when it comes to yogurt for baby (flavored versions are loaded with added sugar).

Good eats: Serve yogurt by itself or swirl it into a purée.

4. Can babies eat spices and herbs?

Yes, they can. There’s really no health-related rule that says baby cuisine has to be bland—just poll the young eaters in India, Latin America, and the Middle East. And, if your child was breastfed, they may already have a broader palate than you think: A mother’s milk takes on the flavor of whatever she eats.

In addition to offering a nice dose of antioxidants, spices and herbs can make your child’s food taste better, inspiring them to be a more balanced and adventurous diner throughout their life.

Smart sprinkles: Cinnamon, nutmeg, oregano, cumin, turmeric, rosemary, thyme, parsley, paprika, and more!

Good eats: Stir cinnamon and nutmeg into cereal, whip up garlic and dill with fish, or sprinkle a dash of cumin on carrots. Wait four to five days between introducing new spices or herbs just to be sure your tiny gourmand-in-training has no adverse reactions.

Why It’s Good for Babies to Explore New Foods
In our centers, we embrace family-style dining. Kids sit together at a communal table, serve themselves, make conversation, and observe their peers. This approach teaches kids important social skills like passing items, sharing, being patient, and saying “please” and “thank you.” Allowing the children to make their own food choices can also inspire them to get confident and try new foods when they’re ready. We even play with our food to help them explore food while having fun!

The KinderCare menu  is versatile enough that, when safe and appropriate, we serve the same dishes to older children and kids in the infant room (as long as infants are ready and willing). That might come as a surprise, but we believe that healthy habits start early, and with the appropriate supervision, babies can grow into confident culinary explorers.

Of course, before giving your baby any new foods, it’s always a good idea to consult with your pediatrician. They’ll help you sort out what’s best for your child’s health and well-being. 
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