The food that you offer your baby, and the ways you offer it, introduces eating patterns that can continue into later life. This can affect both health and weight as your child grows older. For this reason, it’s important not to think of the foods you offer your baby outside of traditional mealtimes as snacks or treats, but as essential mini meals or ‘in-betweeners’. Every bite counts toward good nutrition for your baby so always try to provide nutrient-rich food and avoid candy or high-salt ‘snack’ foods.
A healthy mini meal consists of nutritious foods in the appropriate texture for your eight to 10-month-old. It might include small pieces of foods that she can pick up and put in her mouth herself. A small serving of soft, diced fruits or vegetables, alongside a protein-rich food, such as cheese or yogurt, is a great combination. These mini meals include foods from any of the main food groups to give your baby a range of important nutrients throughout the day:
Grains are an important source of B vitamins and fiber. B vitamins play a key role in metabolism and are also essential for a healthy nervous system. Fiber helps
your baby’s digestion and may prevent her from becoming constipated. Iron-fortified cereals, soft crackers, and rice are grain foods that are perfect for your
eight to 10-month-old.
- Meat/fish/protein foods
Foods from this group are rich in protein, and also supply your baby with many other important nutrients, such as iron. Proteins work as ‘building blocks’ for bones, muscles, skin, and blood, and iron helps blood carry oxygen to your baby’s organs and muscles. Chicken is packed with protein and iron, as is red meat. Beans, such as chickpeas, are a good non-meat source of protein.
Dairy foods contain calcium, vitamin D, and potassium—all of which are
essential for keeping your baby’s body healthy. Calcium and vitamin D work together to build strong bones and teeth, and potassium helps with normal digestion and muscle function. Low-sugar yogurts, designed especially for babies, and cheese provide valuable sources of these nutrients,
Fruits contain many essential nutrients, such as vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, and fiber. Vitamin C helps body tissues grow and repair, and folic acid helps your baby’s body form red blood cells. Strawberries and kiwis are high in vitamin C. Oranges, grapefruit, and banana are good sources of folic acid, and vitamin C too!
As well as being high in many essential nutrients, vegetables (and fruits) are
naturally low in fat and calories and contain no cholesterol. Vegetables are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, potassium and folate. Vitamin A is an
important nutrient that helps keep eyes and skin healthy, and protects against infections. Sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach are all rich in this vital vitamin.
Duyff, RL (2017). Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Complete food and nutrition guide (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Shelov SP & Altmann TR (Eds.). (2009). American Academy of Pediatrics. The complete and authoritative guide Caring for your baby and young child birth to age 5 (5th ed.). USA: Bantam Books.