Mixing it up across the five food groups
Variety, balance, and multiple tries are keys to a healthy diet for your baby. Offer foods from each of the five groups every day and be sure they are getting the chance to experience different textures.
Sweet-tasting and easy to mash even with few, or no, teeth, bananas are an unsurprising favourite fruit. A great nutritional choice, they are full of potassium, which helps your baby’s muscles and nerve cells work properly.
Mix it up: Give your baby some more variety by swapping bananas for rockmelon, strawberries or oranges—all potassium-packed heroes.
Carrots are a firm favourite for tiny tummies for their flavour and versatility of texture. You can offer your baby cooked carrots in various ways, from mashed to finger-sized pieces. They are rich in vitamin A, which is essential for your little one’s healthy eyesight.
Mix it up: Serve sweet potatoes, red capsicum, or broccoli instead of carrots at mealtimes and you’ll still be giving your baby a source of essential vitamin A.
3. MEAT/FISH/PROTEIN FOODS
Poultry, such as chicken or turkey, is a popular food for many beginner eaters, and the rest of the family too. Easy to cook, it can be prepared in lots of different ways and served as part of a variety of meals. Poultry is a good source of protein, which is important for growth and development.
Mix it up: Next time you’re at the store, put salmon, beans, or eggs in your shopping cart instead of chicken. Beans and eggs are great non-meat sources of protein, while protein-rich salmon has the added benefit of containing omega 3 fats.
Soft to eat and easy for little fingers to grasp, pasta is a much-loved food for many babies. It’s quick to cook and can be enjoyed hot or cold, with or without sauces. Pasta is also a source of fibre (if you choose wholewheat varieties).
Mix it up: Before automatically putting pasta into your pan, consider whole grains, such as bulgur wheat, quinoa, or brown rice for a bit of variety. Your baby may enjoy these slightly different textures, and they’ll still be getting fibre from them.
Sliced for little fingers, cheese is a staple food for many babies. It provides your little one with lots of important nutrients, including calcium, which is very important for their bones and teeth.
Mix it up: Softer cheeses, such as feta or cottage cheese, are great alternatives to harder cheeses like cheddar as long as they are pasteurized. They give your baby the chance to try different textures without missing out on bone-building calcium. Baby yoghurt is another good source of calcium.
Australian Food Composition Database. Accessed 25/07/2022 at https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/science/monitoringnutrients/afcd/Pages/foodsearch.aspx
Australian Guide to Healthy Eating – Accessed 25/07/2022 at Serve sizes | Eat For Health - https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/serve-sizes
Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code - Standard 1.2.7 - Nutrition, Health and Related Claims. Accessed 25/07/2022 at https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2013L00054