Should Baby’s First Foods Be Paleo-Inspired? The Founders of This New Baby Food Brand Think SoOctober 30th, 2019
Welcome to Notes From the Field, a series of guest posts by brands sold on Thrive Market. While we share many of the same high standards regarding health, quality, and sustainability as our partner brands, all opinions shared in this post reflect the views of the brand, not Thrive Market. In this article, we’re excited to introduce you to Serenity Kids, a company started by Joe and Serenity Carr. The husband-and-wife team follow a paleo diet and created a line of nutrient-dense, pureed food pouches that make it easy for parents to introduce babies to healthy fats, organic vegetables, and high-quality meats.
Introducing solids to your baby can be exciting—and confusing—for new parents. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about ideal first foods. Rice cereal? Banana? Chicken liver? I chose the most nutrient-dense approach.
My husband and I both had tons of diet-related health problems as children. When our daughter, Della, approached the 6-month mark, we wanted to optimize her diet to help her grow up healthy and strong. Mother Nature provides us with a great model for ideal baby food: breast milk. Calories from breast milk are about half carbs, and half fat, plus a little protein. How does that translate once your child starts eating solids? Check out our four tips below:
#1 Find Quality Animal Products
Despite the common practice of giving babies fortified rice cereal or fruit purees as their first solid foods, animal products are a more nutrient-dense option. Spend some time with your baby’s pediatrician or health provider to develop a food introduction schedule that you both feel good about. Meats, fish, eggs, and dairy contain essential fatty acids, which are easily digestible proteins. They’re also great sources of zinc, heme iron (the type of iron that comes from meat and is easily absorbed by the body), and other vital nutrients. You’ll get extra parenting points for feeding your kiddo super-nutritious organ meats like liver and heart, which contain high levels of iron, folate, and vitamin B12.
But not all meat is created equal. How the animals were raised is incredibly important. Grass-fed and pasture-raised meats contain far more nutrition than conventionally raised meats, and are free of hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs.
#2 Serve Up Healthy Fats
Breast milk is very high in fat—up to 60 percent! The USDA recommends 30 grams of fat per day for a 15-pound infant. Fats support brain development, hormone regulation, nutrient absorption, and build the immune system. They also play a key role in the body’s absorption of vitamins like A, D, E, and K, which require fat to dissolve.
There are three types of healthy fats: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated, and it’s important for your child to get some of each type. Great sources of fats are grass-fed beef, pastured egg yolk, pastured uncured bacon, wild-caught salmon, and grass-fed butter. Some plant-based sources of healthy fats include avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil. Avoid industrial seed oils like canola, palm, soy and safflower, because they are high in harmful polyunsaturated fats and oxidize easily, which can lead to inflammation. Sorry—no french fries, baby!
#3 Choose Organic Vegetables
Breast milk is also high in carbohydrates, and vegetables are a great source of carbs for babies. Vegetable carbs are slow-burning and have a low-glycemic response. Compared to fruits, grains, and legumes, vegetables contain more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Choosing organic vegetables will help limit exposure to harmful agrochemicals and heavy metals.
#4 Avoiding Sugar Is Worth the Hassle
There is a critical “flavor window” from 4 months to 18 months old, during which your baby forms her taste preferences. To lessen the chances of ending up with a picky eater, make sure to introduce a variety of flavors like bitter, sour, and umami. It’s also important to limit sweet flavors that could skew your child’s palate towards sugary foods.
As we know, excess sugars can disrupt healthy gut flora and weaken the immune system. And nobody wants to hang out with an angry toddler who is having a sugar crash.
If you’re still not convinced, checkout these stats from the Center for Disease Control:
- 1 in 5 children are diagnosed obese.
- 1 in 10 will get diabetes.
- Toddlers aged 19 to 23 months eat an average of over 7 teaspoons of added sugar a day.
Better Nutrition = Happier Baby = Happier Family
Choosing nutrient-dense foods like well-sourced meats, healthy fats, and organic veggies makes a big difference. Not only in the health of your baby, but also in your experience as a parent. Our 14-month old daughter sleeps through the night, is only fussy when teething, eats almost anything, rarely gets sick, and has healthy consistent poo. We believe this has a lot to do with how we feed her, and we’ve heard the same thing from other parents with similar approaches to nutrition.
Our feeding journey has been fun and exciting, and we hope yours will be, too! We are happy to have created convenient products to make it easier for busy parents who want nutrient-dense options. Our shelf-stable purees are packed with these essential first foods, because we know that when feeding your little one (and ours), every bite counts.
*Statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners.