What are some healthy meal ideas for baby? Solids

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Assorted baby food puree
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There are lots of healthy choices for your newly minted eater's meals. Here's how experts and moms recommend you give baby good nutrition.

Fruits, Veggies & Iron-Rich Foods

"When starting solid foods it is important to introduce variety and let your little one experiment with different tastes. (Of course you should also remember to introduce one ingredient at a time to look for signs of allergies.) You will want to make sure to choose foods that are rich in iron. Meats such as turkey, chicken, and beef are good choices for babies. Your little one can experiment with different tastes, and it is okay to incorporate spices and herbs. Avoid adding salt or sugar to...

"When starting solid foods it is important to introduce variety and let your little one experiment with different tastes. (Of course you should also remember to introduce one ingredient at a time to look for signs of allergies.) You will want to make sure to choose foods that are rich in iron. Meats such as turkey, chicken, and beef are good choices for babies. Your little one can experiment with different tastes, and it is okay to incorporate spices and herbs. Avoid adding salt or sugar to your child's foods. It is important to introduce fruits and vegetables into your baby's diet and as they get older continue to offer them." -- Deena Blanchard, MD, MPH, Premier Pediatrics, New York, NY

Offer Four Food Groups

"I always recommend feeding your baby what the rest of the family is eating! That way your baby is exposed to many different foods. Make sure you are only offering one new food at a time, so you can monitor for allergies or adverse reactions. If your baby is just starting out (at 6 months of age), begin with purees and slowly progress to tiny bits of food. The entire family can benefit from using the USDA's MyPlate method, offering a starch, protein, vegetable, and fruit at each meal. That...

"I always recommend feeding your baby what the rest of the family is eating! That way your baby is exposed to many different foods. Make sure you are only offering one new food at a time, so you can monitor for allergies or adverse reactions. If your baby is just starting out (at 6 months of age), begin with purees and slowly progress to tiny bits of food. The entire family can benefit from using the USDA's MyPlate method, offering a starch, protein, vegetable, and fruit at each meal. That way you know you and your baby are getting the nutrients you need." -- Lindsey Carter, MS, RDN, LDN, Back 2 Basics Nutrition LLC, Middletown, MD

Don't Be Afraid of Flavor

"Babies who are exposed to monotonous flavors will learn to eat that way, as opposed to babies around the world who are exposed to all sorts of spices and seasonings from a young age. Start with a pinch of cinnamon in applesauce or basil in pureed carrots. Work your way up to flavored soups and pastas with different sauces or grains. Eat diverse foods." -- Leena Saini, author of Around the World in 80 Purees: Easy Recipes for Global Baby Food

Don't Forget Healthy Fats & Carbs

"I offered my baby a wide variety of colors and textures. I believe healthy options can really alter their eating habits going forward. Bananas sliced up are great, but don't overlook the avocado, which is a great healthy fat. Peas are a fun starch but sweet potatoes also make a super healthy complex carb and the natural sweetness needs no additional additives!"

They Don't Like It? Keep Trying

"I swear baby's taste buds change daily as they grow. Just because they don't like it the first time doesn't mean you shouldn't try again later. I expose my kids to as many new food options as I can, hoping that they become toddlers -- and one day children and then adults -- who have broad palates!"

Puree Healthy Foods

"I'm not big on cooking but I liked making my baby's food! In the beginning, I steamed or roasted fruits and veggies and then pureed them. I would make a big batch of one or two new foods each week and then feed them to him with some cereal. I would freeze the leftovers and before I knew it, I had a variety of different healthy foods to choose from to defrost for each meal."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.