Be sure to balance your baby’s diet

(NC) -- An important milestone for mother and baby is introducing solid foods and watching your little one become a “foodie.” But for little ones this transition is not about the latest gourmet trends, it's about making sure these new experiences are balanced and provide all the nutrients needed to grow up healthy and strong.

When it comes to growing baby's palate, parents often prepare home-made foods like puréed brown rice, vegetables and fruit like sweet potato and apples. These foods provide healthy nutrition, but are not rich in everything baby needs. So make sure you think about variety and a balanced diet as recommended by Canada's Food Guide when planning your little one's menu, and incorporate foods that are rich in essential nutrients like iron, calcium and DHA. Here's a brief guideline:

Iron – This nutrient is essential and critical to baby's growth and cognitive development, helping baby remember the new things learned each day. There are many easy and nutritious ways to incorporate iron into your little one's diet – through meat, meat alternatives and with iron-fortified infant cereals. Brands like Nestlé Gerber ensure one serving of infant cereal has 100 per cent of your baby's daily iron requirement.

Calcium – This mineral is important for strong bones and teeth, and it is needed throughout childhood. Introduce calcium-rich foods like yogurt, shredded cheese or small cheese cubes or leafy greens like puréed spinach around eight or nine months of age to help foster life-long food choices with this important nutrient.

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) – This is an important omega-3 fatty acid which contributes to your little one's normal brain and eye development. Incorporating fatty fish like salmon or scrambled eggs enriched with DHA into your baby's mealtime routine will ramp up his or her intake of DHA.


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