IMPORTANT NUTRIENTS WHEN INTRODUCING SOLIDS
There are many important nutrients to think about when introducing solids to your baby. Because of this, it’s important to offer your baby a variety of foods when introducing solids. This allows you to provide the nutrients needed for healthy growth and development. Read on to learn about the important nutrients when introducing solids to your baby.
Important Nutrients When Introducing Solids
Important nutrients when introducing solids to your baby (2):
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin D
Important Nutrients for Your Baby
When introducing solids, it’s important to start with iron-rich foods. This is because your baby’s iron stores are used up by the time they are about 6 months old (3). Iron helps to move oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. It is also an essential part of red blood cells and helps with proper brain development (4). For more information about meeting your baby’s iron needs, check-out our blog post: Meeting Your Baby’s Iron Needs.
Zinc is an important nutrient for immune function. It is also important for proper growth and development (5). Luckily, zinc is found in many iron-rich foods. Therefore, you don’t have to search for sources of zinc if you are already offering iron-rich foods.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
DHA is an Omega-3 fatty acid that is an essential part of the cell membrane. It also assists in eye and brain development (6). Therefore, it is a very important nutrient for your baby’s development.
Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption and immunity (7). However, there are not many dietary sources of vitamin D. It is sometimes recommended to give your baby a vitamin D supplement. For more information on your baby’s vitamin D needs, check-out our blog post: Baby’s Vitamin D Needs.
Fat is very important for your baby’s development. Unlike adults, your baby’s fat needs are much higher (2). Fat is important for fullness, vitamin absorption, and brain development (3).
Introducing Solids – Foods to Start With
Choosing what foods to start with when introducing solids to your baby can be overwhelming. Here is a list of foods to help ensure that you’re giving your baby key nutrients when introducing solids (6,8):
- Iron-fortified baby cereal (wheat or multigrain based mixed with breastmilk or formula)
- Beans/legumes (overcooked)
- Tofu (firm/extra firm – pinky sized sticks)
- Seeds (hemp hearts, chia, flax)
- Poultry (moist – pinky sized pieces)
- Beef (steak, ground beef – tender strips)
- Fish (low mercury – salmon, trout, pollock)
- Sunflower seeds
- Eggs (fully cooked – bite sized pieces)
- Avocado (mashed or 3cm pieces)
- Cottage cheese
- Yogurt (full-fat)
- Nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew – thinned with water)
Final Notes from The Nest
There are many important nutrients needed when introducing solids to your baby. Focus on providing your baby with sources of iron, zinc, omega 3’s, vitamin D, and fat. For additional recommendations for introducing solids to your baby, join the waitlist for our next introducing solids to your baby virtual group class.
Looking for individualized support?
Book a free consultation call to connect with us and see if we’re the right fit for what you’re looking for!
Satter, E. (2007). Eating Competence: Definition and Evidence for the Satter Eating Competence Model. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 39(5), S142–S153. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2007.01.006
- Health Canada. (2006, June 29). Dietary Reference Intakes – Canada.ca. Government of Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/dietary-reference-intakes/tables/reference-values-macronutrients-dietary-reference-intakes-tables-2005.html
- Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). What, when, and how to introduce solid foods [Internet]. Atlanta; Centre of Disease Control and Prevention; 2021 [cited 2021 Oct 2]. 1 p. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/foods-and-drinks/when-to-introduce-solid-foods.html
- UnlockFood [Internet]. Canada: Dietitians of Canada; c2021 [updated 2019 Feb 14; cited 2021 Oct 2]. What you need to know about iron; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Vitamins-and-Minerals/What-You-Need-To-Know-About-Iron.aspx
- UnlockFood [Internet]. Canada: Dietitians of Canada; c2021 [updated 2021 Jan 7; cited 2021 Oct 2]. What you need to know about zinc and immunity; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Vitamins-and-Minerals/-What-You-Need-to-Know-about-Zinc.aspx
- UnlockFood [Internet]. Canada: Dietitians of Canada; c2021 [updated 2019 Jan 29; cited 2021 Oct 2]. Omega-3 fats deliver oh mega benefits; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Heart-Health/Omega-3-Fats-Deliver-Oh-Mega-Benefits.aspx
- UnlockFood [Internet]. Canada: Dietitians of Canada; c2021 [updated 2019 Sept 8; cited 2021 Oct 2]. What you need to know about vitamin D; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Vitamins-and-Minerals/What-you-need-to-know-about-Vitamin-D.aspx
- Eat Right: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics [Internet]. Washington; Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics; 2021 [updated 2021 March; cited 2021 Oct 2] Dos and don’ts for baby’s first foods; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/eating-as-a-family/dos-and-donts-for-babys-first-foods
- Solid Starts. (2021). 30 Foods You Should Never Feed Your Baby Before Age 1. Solid Starts LLC.
~Article Written by Hailey Belaire