If you live with little ones, you know that no food is safe from curious eyes (and mouths). When your one-year-old daughter comes running from the other end of the house at the sound of a crinkling chocolate wrapper, you don’t need “research” to tell you this simple truth: kids are more likely to eat what they see their parents eating.
Let’s start with the most basic of childhood foods—the first venture into the world of flavor and texture for many: baby food purees.
Which Foods Should Come First?
Though many pediatricians recommend starting babies on iron-fortified rice or oat cereal, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that there is no research or evidence to support a specific order for food introduction.1
However, research does indicate the importance of gut health in the prevention of viruses and allergies.2 This presents a strong case for making babies first foods things that foster good gut bacterial growth.
That means prebiotic fibers, of course.
Solid foods will not be your baby’s first exposure to prebiotics, especially if they are breastfed. Breastmilk has particular prebiotic nutrients designed to feed certain strains of infant-friendly bacteria in the gut. Studies suggest that these bacteria play an important role in the development of the immune system.3
But when you introduce solid food to your child, this type of bacteria decreases… and the number (and variety) adult-type microbes and bacteria increase.
This means that your child’s first solid foods are solely responsible for populating and diversifying his gut flora. Let’s give them a feast, shall we?
Fruits and Vegetables Containing Prebiotic Fiber
Most babies and toddlers need exposure to a new food multiple times before accepting it, so don’t overthink this. Just pick one — ideally one you’re cooking for dinner anyway — and go with it! The following prebiotic-containing fruits and vegetables would all make good first choices for lectin-light baby food purees:
- Green Plantains
- Brussels sprouts
- Cabbage (red or green)
- Sweet potatoes
Start by introducing one new food at a time. That way, if your child reacts poorly to a particular food, you’ll know exactly which one caused a reaction. This isn’t just for allergies — some foods may cause constipation, loose stool, or other issues. If that’s the case, you’ll want to wait a bit before trying them again!
Also, try to vary the flavors, textures, and colors you introduce — this ensures that baby is eating a wide variety of nutrients for optimal health.
And remember — it sounds like an old wives’ tale, but foods rich in beta-carotene (orange foods like sweet potatoes and apricots) can actually turn your baby’s skin orange. But don’t worry, it will fade with more variety!
How to Make It
- Choose one fruit or vegetable from the list.
- Prepare it for softening—remove stems and seeds, peel if necessary, and slice into quarters or even-sized chunks.
- Place in a medium-sized saucepan and fill with filtered water to 1 inch above the contents.
- Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, and cover. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until very tender (test with a fork).
- Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
- Place solids in a blender along with half the cooking water, and puree until smooth. Add more water, as necessary, until it reaches a very thin consistency (remember your baby has, until now, only swallowed liquid!)
- Check that it’s cool enough for baby to eat.
Now, the fun part—offer the delicious new fruit or vegetable to your baby for tasting. Don’t be discouraged if he or she doesn’t like it or won’t swallow it the first time.
Remember, it’s brand new.
If your baby doesn’t eat it, store it in the fridge, and try again the next day. Homemade puree will keep for three days in the fridge or up to a month in the freezer.
Taking it to the Next Level
Once you’ve introduced several new foods, you can start to mix things up and add other fruits, vegetables, and meats from the Yes list as your lectin-light baby foods! Follow the same instructions for cooking, softening, and pureeing as above (meat and sorghum may take up to three times as long to soften).
Be creative! Here are some combination lectin-light baby food ideas to get you started:
Pasture-raised lamb, sweet potato, and plums
Pasture-raised bison, kale, parsnips, and pears
Boiled omega-3 egg yolk, broccoli, and carrots
Millet or sorghum, cauliflower, and apples
The Joy of Educating Your Baby’s Palate for a Lifetime of Good Health!
It is such a joy watching your little one experience good food for the first time. If she or he doesn’t like it, keep offering. More importantly, keep eating it yourself.
Show them how much you enjoy good food. I’ll never forget the day my barely one-year-old came up and sampled some crunchy romaine lettuce from my plate. Who would ever think to offer a baby romaine lettuce? She loved it!
For more family-friendly recipe ideas and tips for succeeding on the Plant Paradox eating program, check out Autumn at her blog www.lectinfreemama.com You can also follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
For more on improving your kids’ gut health at an early age, watch Dr. G’s segment on KTLA.
Learn More About Lectins:
A Simple Lectins Definition (and how they make us fat & sick)
5 Ways to Reduce or Remove Lectins From Your Favorite Foods
Dr. Gundry’s Healthy Lectin-Free Pizza Recipe (VIDEO)