Help your infant and toddler develop a taste for these great “grow” foods — nutrient-dense fresh or packaged foods that don’t contain too many artificial ingredients:
Avocados. One of my favorite first foods, avocados (cut into small pieces or mashed in guacamole) contain healthy monounsaturated fat, perfect for developing brains.
Beans. Different types of beans offer different health benefits, but all of them are a great source of fiber and protein.
Blueberries. One of the very best sources of antioxidants (compounds that fight aging, heart disease, and cancer) out there. Plus, babies love them! (For safety’s sake, give your infant only blueberries that are pea-size or smaller.)
Flaxseed meal. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help boost your baby’s brainpower and ward off high cholesterol. Sprinkle it on your baby’s cereal, yogurt, or soup (it has a slightly nutty flavor).
Eggs. An important source of protein. (Give only the egg yolk to infants under 1 year old.)
Oatmeal. Oats are one of the most nutrient-rich types of grains, and oatmeal is a wonderfully filling breakfast or snack.
Spinach. A real “power” vegetable, spinach is packed with folate, iron, and calcium.
Tofu. A great non-meat alternative to protein, without all the saturated fat some meats have. Soy (which tofu is made from) is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet — and takes on the flavor of whatever you pair it with.
Tomatoes. A terrific source of vitamins A and C, plus lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. So ladle on that pasta sauce!
Whole grains. Carbohydrates are an important part of a balanced diet; just make sure the ones your kids eat are made from whole grains and pack a nutritional punch, unlike processed white breads.
Yogurt. Besides yogurt’s being an excellent source of calcium and protein, the live healthy bacteria in it is great for kids’ digestive tracts.
Salmon. You’d be surprised how many infants love the taste of this fatty-acid-filled fish. Try to buy wild salmon; it contains fewer toxins than the farmed variety.