What is good food for a baby?
- Nicolas Belisle
Knowing what food is good for your baby’s physical and mental development and his or her health is important. However, it can be confusing to address this topic for many reasons and one of them is that there’s too much information and it sometimes contradicts.
Why information about good food for baby might be tricky?
But why would information about baby healthy food would contradict? That’s a difficult question to answer but marketing can be one of the culprits. It’s true that the government has laws for nutritional information but they are very limited in regards to claims.
Another reason is the principle of individuality. Each baby is different and might react differently to food so even if a food is considered like healthy by nutritionists and pediatricians, you as the parent should observe and take notes on how your baby reacts to different food.
Some health workers will acknowledge that educated parents are the best to know what is good for their baby because they know them better but some will prefer to be dogmatic and use universal recommendations by having a tendency to protect or promote their professional knowledge as if they were superior. Of course, as parents, you want to surround your family with the first category of health workers!
If the concept of good food for a baby is tricky then what’s the solution?
At the early stage of life, milk is the foundation of the baby’s diet and it’s simple but when the baby grows and has more nutritional needs, that’s when parents start to think about what good food they should give to their baby to optimize development and health.
Like stated earlier, because food choices should take individuality into consideration, a better approach could be to give principles to follow. It’s less sexy than choices and it implies more responsibilities but it’s a much better approach. So here are a few principles for actions and choices.
Make sure that your baby has no allergy or food intolerance
Make sure that your baby is ok with the food you give him or her by making sure that there’s no allergy of food intolerances. This seems obvious but it’s sometimes difficult to spot. For example, a baby that was only breast milk fed had recurring colitis problems. After doing many tests, they found out that the baby had many food intolerances and the mother was eating the foods which was partially in the milk…
Make sure that the food is safely served
Again, this seems obvious and it is but it’s always good to remind that the food must be easy to eat for a teethless baby, it must be safe to avoid choking risks and it must be at a temperature that will be safe. It’s great to eat warm and we even have a safe warming plate for babies to do so and the temperature must be safe.
Serve good fats to your baby
A lot of people avoid eating fat because it’s more caloric than other macronutrients. That’s a good point because:
- 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4Kcal
- 1 gram of proteins = 4Kcal
- 1 gram of fat = 9Kcal
However, good fats are great for cellular health, hormonal health and for brain development. The challenge is to know what good fats are and what bad fats are.
Quality omega-3 fats (from fish) are great and contain essential fatty acids. For other fats, you will have to dig a little bit more but a good trick to have a good overview is that you want your baby to eat liquid vegetable fat like olive oil, avocado oil and others and you want your baby to eat solid healthy animal fat like butter and others.
Of course, you need to feed your baby with other macronutrients (carbohydrates and proteins) in healthy forms.
Give natural food and avoid as much as possible processed food
We could write a whole article or a whole book on that topic. If you are really interested about that topic which is of utmost importance for your baby’s development, the old and classical book: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration is a must-read.
Remember that family food gatherings should be joyous and appreciated and that they are also a pillar of your baby and family’s health!