Why does baby nutrition matter so much!?
All growth and body functions require dietary nutrients to work optimally. Some of the most biologically necessary nutrients for babies (and adults!) depend entirely on dietary intake, as the body is not able to produce these nutrients on its own. Feeding practices in the ﬁrst 2 to 3 years of your bubs’ life are crucial in ensuring their mental and physical development. Sadly, around the world in both developed and developing nations, common feeding practices can be signiﬁcantly sub-optimal (nutrient wise) and even harmful to infant development. Emotional regulation centers, cognitive development, the immune system, and learning competencies are all established in these formative years and as such, poor nutrition can implicate attention and social skill deﬁcits, learning and behavioral problems, increased risk of infections, and growth retardation.
Key nutrients – benefits and sources
Red blood cell development and immunity
Meat (particularly red meat), fortiﬁed cereals, legumes, tofu, cooked spinach.
Essential for brain development and activity, immune and skin health
Salmon, sardines, avocado, nuts (walnuts), seeds (ﬂax seeds, chia)
Skin, immune and digestive tract integrity
Meat, salmon, eggs, dairy, pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, dark green veg
Immune system development and healthy cellular activity
Berries, citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, broccoli, capsicum
Bone density, development, and growth
Dairy, broccoli, green leafy veg, tofu, almonds
Cell structure, growth, and development
Meat, poultry, seafood, legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans), eggs, nuts (almonds, peanuts), seeds (ﬂax seeds, chia), dairy
Brain and metabolic activity
Meat, poultry, ﬁsh, eggs, whole grains, legumes (beans, lentils), seeds and nuts (sunﬂower seeds, almonds), dark leafy veg, beans
Healthy bone development, immune system, and cellular activity
Oily ﬁsh (salmon, sardines, herring), fortiﬁed cereals, dairy, eggs, mushrooms