Expert reveals the best foods that your baby needs for development

Pack a punch in the nutritional department...

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A toddler's dietary requirements are very different to an adult's. While your little one is developing and growing, they'll need a good mixture of starchy foods, fruit, veg, dairy and protein in their diet in order to get all of the necessary vitamins and minerals needed for development.

Ensure that you're feeding your child the correct type of food by having a read of the baby foods needed in an infant's diet, below.

Does my baby need iron?

Iron deficiency is becoming an increasing issue amongst babies and toddlers, and is particularly important for cognitive, neurological and motor development.

Dr Rana Conway, Registered Nutritionist and author of Weaning Made Easy told us: "A good intake of iron is needed for healthy red blood cells and optimal growth and development. Many toddlers don’t get enough, but you can boost their intake with meat, fish and fortified breakfast cereals."

Foods to try: Red meat, fish and leafy greens like kale. The Little Bistro Garden Pea & Kale meal is a good choice too, as it's a good source of iron! After all, who said eating greens has to be boring?

Should my baby eat more fruit or more vegetables?

While both fruit and vegetables are great for growing little ones, vegetables contain less sugar and more vitamins, so are better for babies.

When buying meals for your toddler, we recommend always reading the label on the back of food packs to check fruit or sugar content levels. Our go-to brand for nutritious baby food is Little Bistro, as these meals aren't sweetened with fruit sugars, but instead are packed with veggies to help development.

Is zinc important in a baby's diet?

You may not know this but zinc is a really important mineral for little ones. According to Rana, "Zinc is an underrated mineral but it’s vital for a healthy immune system, to fight off the many germs little ones are exposed to."

Foods to try: Beans, eggs, meat and milk.

Should I feed my baby foods with fibre?

Rana advised that: "A high fibre diet isn’t recommended for children under two years old, as it can reduce the amount of minerals that they absorb. A mixture of wholegrain carbs, such as brown rice, and refined ones, like white pasta are best. Along with plenty of fruit and vegetables, this will promote intestinal health and prevent constipation."

Foods to try: Wholemeal bread, brown rice, fruit and vegetables. Try your baby on the Little Bistro Chicken Tikka Masla with Brown Rice meal to introduce them to wholegrain carbs.

Does my baby need calcium?

As you probably know, calcium is important for strong, healthy bones and teeth. During the first six months of your baby's birth, they'll get enough calcium from breast or bottle feeding. But once you start the weaning process, you can begin to include dairy products into your baby's diet.

"Whole milk and full-fat versions are best for under twos as they provide the energy and vitamins they need," says Rana.

Foods to try: Yoghurt, cheese and milk.

Is potassium needed in an infant's diet?

"Potassium is important for proper functioning of the muscles, especially the heart muscle, and is found in many fruits and vegetables," states Rana.

Foods to try: Bananas, broccoli and parsnips.

Are fats good for my baby?

While your baby needs to eat foods with fat, try and avoid those that contain more trans-fat and saturated fat than naturally occurring fats.

Rana told us that: "Healthy fats are essential for babies and toddlers, especially long-chain omega 3s, which are found in oily fish and are needed for brain and eye development. The fats found in avocados, nuts and seeds are also good, but foods high in saturated fat, including sausages and coconut oil, are best avoided."

Foods to try: Avocado, oily fish, seeds and eggs.

Do infants need protein?

Protein is key to developing strong muscles, especially during infancy, when rapid growth takes place.

Rana advises that: "A mixture of different protein foods, including beans, lentils, meat, fish and eggs will provide babies and toddlers with a good balance of amino acids for healthy growth and development."

Foods to try: Chicken, cheese, turkey, boneless fish and beans. If your baby is over ten months old, try them on the Kiddylicious Little Bistro Beef & Vegetable Casserole meal, as this is a great source of protein.

You can buy the Kiddylicious Little Bistro range from all major supermarkets.

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