10 Foods to Feed Your Baby Before Age 1

Whole Grains

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There's no reason to limit your baby's starches to old-fashioned rice cereal. Try cereals made from oats, quinoa, brown rice, or other whole grains. These choices generally have more fiber, and often more flavor.

Salmon

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Babies' growing brains crave DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that is essential to cognitive development. Happily, salmon is packed with the stuff. Aim to feed your baby salmon at least once a week. Mash some cooked, flaked fish into a puree, or bread it and bake it for salmon nuggets—a delicious finger food for older babies.

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Spinach and Other Leafy Greens

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Most babies are open to trying new foods. Sometimes they'll make a funny face, or even refuse a new food once or twice (or more!). But don't give up offering, especially when it comes to leafy greens, truly some of the healthiest foods on the planet. Let you baby become accustomed to the earthy taste of spinach, kale, and chard...

Onions and Garlic

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Think outside the baby-food box by including small amounts of onion, leeks, scallions, and garlic into your baby's diet. When cooked, these flavor-boosters add a mellow, savory quality to purees and chunkier baby meals. After all, if you want to raise an adventurous eater, feeding your baby food with flavor is a smart start.

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Eggs

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Eggs are one of those foods pediatricians used to recommend waiting to introduce, but no longer. With six grams of protein per egg, plus healthy fats and choline for eye health, they are an almost perfect food. And they're also perfectly easy to prepare. Just blend a scrambled egg with a vegetable puree, cut up an omelet as a finger food, or chop a hard-boiled egg for easy eating.

Beef

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If your family eats meat, don't shy away from beef. Full of protein and zinc, it's an ideal early food. Serve it pureed on its own or mixed with potato, sweet potato, or a green vegetable puree.

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Peanuts

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A recent landmark study showed that feeding peanuts to babies—even those at high risk of allergies—before age one can actually prevent peanut allergies. Never give your baby whole peanuts or a spoonful of peanut butter—both are choking hazards. Instead, spread a little peanut butter on toast sticks as finger food or stir a bit into a puree , and, as always, consult your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns.

Lentils

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When we think of good sources of iron, our minds often leap to meat, but did you know lentils are packed with the stuff? Unlike dried beans, they require no soaking, and they combine well with a variety of savory add-ins, such as veggies, mild curry powder, and fresh herbs. See how to make Red Lentil and Spinach Puree, an í¼ber-nutritious meal for baby.

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Berries

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Babies eat with their eyes, just as grown-ups do, and what's more beautiful than bright red or dusky blueberries? Serve small or chopped berries as finger foods, or blend them in the blender for a scrumptious puree that's as good spread on toast as it is off a spoon. If you're on-the-go, try a pouch with strawberries in the ingredients like Beech-Nut Strawberry, Apple & Yogurt Melties.

Squash

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Mashed butternut squash is a baby food classic for good reason. The flavor is sweet, so it's usually an instant hit with little ones, and it's packed with Vitamin A. And if you have any extra, you can eat it yourself with a little butter and a sprinkle of salt. Delish.