What parent doesn’t want to raise a healthy, nutrition-loving child who will eat everything put in front of him or her, then place his or her napkin in their lap and say “thank you” with a big smile? Well, we can’t make any promises about the manners, but we will say that if offered early and often, these 11 foundational foods will guarantee healthy, veggie-loving, no-fuss kids.
Eggs are the perfect one-ingredient food. Easy to prepare, they are a convenient and healthy source of protein, fat, and other nutrients such as biotin and iron, which are important for growth and a healthy body. Eggs are a top source of protein for children, so introduce them early and frequently to your infant’s diet. Research shows that eating a protein-rich breakfast can help older children too. Kids who eat protein in the morning learn and behave better during the day. Yes, you can feed your infant a whole egg (or rather, some portion of an egg that contains yolk plus white) starting around six months. If you introduce eggs early and serve them often, your child will like them. Then you’ll always have a very healthy morning (or anytime) option. Involve your older child in the kitchen by letting her crack or whisk eggs in a big bowl.
2. Dried Plums/Prunes
Prunes are fun fiber fruits that help prevent and treat constipation. Prunes also have tons of important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—all this in a tiny, tasty, low-calorie package. An apple a day is important, but a prune a day works wonders to prevent constipation and keep young bodies healthy in the first place. Offer infants pureed prunes regularly on their own or mixed into oatmeal and other foods. Older toddlers and children can try whole prunes (also called dried plums), but cut them into small pieces. Teach older toddlers that prunes (or dried plums) are yummy giant raisins—kids love that! Look for the prunes sold in cute single-serve packages so fingers won’t get sticky.