How to Give Your Baby a Balanced Diet
8 min read
Eating with variety is the key to maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
This is especially true for budding foodies who are just beginning to explore the world of food!
Introducing various flavours, textures and combinations from the start can help encourage a love of lots of different types of foods, including loads of great vegetables!
Our veggie-packed baby food pouches make brilliant, no-hassle additions to your little one’s balanced diet!
The Importance of a Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet means eating a range of foods in appropriate portions to maintain good general health.
Balance comes from eating a combination of:
- Vegetables and fruit
- Dairy (or dairy alternative)
Ensuring that you eat a balanced diet is important no matter your age, but it is especially key for your little one. They will need various nutrients from all the food groups as they grow and develop; making sure they are eating with variety in mind is one of the best ways to fulfil their nutritional needs.
Check out our blog on the nutritional needs of weaning babies to find out more about key nutrients for your baby.
Your little one’s taste development can also be supported through a balanced diet. Introducing a wide variety of flavours, including bitter and savoury tastes in the early stages, can help your baby to accept more foods later in life.
Eating and Enjoying Veg
Veggies are a big part of a balanced diet, and taking a veg-led weaning approach can be beneficial for a number of reasons.
Vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and introducing a wide variety from the start can help your little on to get off to a great start nutritionally.
Starting weaning with more bitter veggies is a great way to get budding foodies experiencing and enjoying a variety of vegetables, making them more likely to enjoy veggies later in life.
All vegetables make great weaning foods but the more bitter-tasting veggies that contain lots of nutritional goodness and make excellent options for those first tastes include:
- Green beans
To find out more about why we think starting weaning with vegetables is one of the best ways to encourage a healthy, balanced diet, check out our nutritionist’s blog!
Offering starchy carbohydrates is also an important part of a balanced diet for your little one. These kinds of foods can give the body energy and will provide plenty of opportunity for the introduction of new textures and combinations.
It’s a good idea to include new ingredients one at a time for your baby. This makes it easier to identify any reactions your baby might have to the food. When looking to include this food group in your baby’s diet, you can start offering the following in your weaning recipes:
- Sweet potatoes
- Foods containing wheat, rye, barley
Including protein rich foods in your baby’s weaning diet is also important for achieving a balanced diet. Proteins help our body’s grow and repair. They are also a good source of vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and B vitamins.
Valuable sources of protein include:
Including meat, fish, beans and pulses in weaning stews or hotpots is a simple and tasty way to include proteins in your little one’s diet!
Dairy During Weaning
Milk feeds, whether this is breast milk or formula, will still be an important part of your little one’s diet even as they start enjoying more solids, but you can offer other sources of dairy to include variety and new experiences with flavour or texture.
Babies should not be given cow’s milk to drink until at least 12 months as it does not contain the same levels of nutrients as breast milk or formula that your baby will need.
However you can start to include full fat cow’s milk as an ingredient in your baby’s food or offer other dairy foods such as cheese and yoghurt from 6 months. Again, it’s a good idea to introduce these foods one at a time to help you spot any reactions to the foods.
Ultimately, giving your little one a balanced diet comes down to offering plenty of variety. This means including loads of tasty veggies that are cooked in various different ways, along with a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, dairy and fruit.
The important thing to remember is that every weaning journey will be different. Don’t worry about creating the perfect weaning diet; this is a time for fun and exploration, so take the pressure off and focus on creating enjoyable mealtime experiences with your little one!
For more recipes that help ensure your little one is getting a delicious, balanced diet, head over to our recipes section!