the benefits of veggies in your baby’s diet
Here at Rafferty’s Garden, we know how important it is to establish healthy habits early in life! Our Dietitian has summarised some useful pieces of information to help introduce you and your baby to the flavoursome world of vegetables.
The first 1000 days of life are essential to shaping lifelong healthy eating habits!1
Your baby will be getting all the nutrients they need from breast or formula milk during their first 4-6 months, though they’ll need to start eating solid foods at around 6 months of age to help support their growth and development.1
Pureed vegetables are a great way to introduce your baby to solid foods, as they’re soft, come in a variety of flavours and textures and provide fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Babies between 7 and 12 months require 1 ½ to 2 serves of vegetables every day, where 20g (about one tablespoon) of vegetables counts as one serve.2 As our babies grow, the number of serves of vegetables they need everyday increases, to help provide their growing bodies with nutrients.
Exposing babies as young as 6 months old to vegetables is a great way to get kids to eat more vegetables when they are older. Taste preferences are formed very early on in life, so it’s important to expose your little one to veggies as soon as they’re ready for solid foods3 which could help prevent fussy eaters. Only 6% of kids aged 2-17 are eating enough serves of veggies, which really shows the impact that early exposure can have as they age.4
Vegetables also provide important vitamins and minerals to support the wellbeing of your baby. They provide:
- Vitamin C, which is important for baby’s immune system.
- Folic acid, which helps support their growing bodies.
- Vitamin A, which is essential for eyesight.5
Providing your baby with a variety of textures and flavours can also help shape their future eating habits, as well as their independent eating skills! Whilst they still need to be supervised when eating, babies around 8 months old may start to feed themselves. Encouraging them to explore foods on their own can help build their skills in controlling their own intake, which can help solidify healthy eating habits for adulthood.
Veggies provide so many benefits for your growing baby and can help mould their taste preferences as an adult. Focus on variety, small serves and patience as your baby learns and explores the world of veg!
- Mameli C, Mazzantin S, Vincenzo Zuccotti G. Nutrition in the First 1000 Days: The Origin of Childhood Obesity. Int J Environ Res Public Health [Internet]. 2016 Sep [cited 2021 Apr 22];13(9):838-47. doi: 3390/ijerph13090838
- National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Dietary Guidelines Summary [Internet]. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council. 2013 [cited 2021 Apr 15]. Available from: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/content/The%20Guidelines/n55a_australian_dietary_guidelines_summary_131014_1.pdf
- Drewnowski A. Taste preferences and food intake. Annu Rev Nutr [Internet]. 1997 [cited 2021 Apr 22];17:237-53. doi: 1146/annurev.nutr.17.1.237
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Children’s risk factors [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2021 Apr 15]. Available from: https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/childrens-risk-factors/latest-release
- National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Government. Department of Health and Ageing, New Zealand Ministry of Health. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council; 2006 [cited 2021 Apr 15]. Available from: https://www.nrv.gov.au