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Feeding-by-colour: Painting the plate red

So an apple a day keeps the doctor away… But what about all the other red foods, fruits and veggies? Red fruits and vegetables are chock full of anti-oxidants which can help support immunity. Many red-hued fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, watermelons and grapefruit get their colour from an antioxidant called lycopene which has been shown to support skin health, absorb free radicals and boost immunity. And as long as we’re painting the plate red, we better talk about red meat which is a great source of essential nutrients, especially iron and protein.

• Red meat - Red meat provides plenty of the most easily absorbed form of iron for your baby, called heme iron. Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to cells throughout the body and is important for brain development. Unfortunately, iron deficiency -- which over time can cause learning and behavior problems -- is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in children. That's why it's important to make sure your baby gets iron, from red meat and other sources, in his diet. For younger babies, serve meat purees, such as the Beef and Carrot Puree recipe, pictured here. Older babies who are able to chew can have well-cooked, finely diced or ground meats.

 Watermelon - As the name implies, Watermelon is mostly water so it's great for hydrating your baby. It's also a good source of Vitamin C, and antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage from free radicals and strengthens the immune system. 

• Beets - Beets contain some calcium, potassium, Vitamin A and are high fiber.  The rich vibrant colour is also super engaging for babies to look at and admire, and grated up they’re great for baby’s pincer pick up technique. Generally when it comes to fruits and vegetables, the darker the colour, the more nutrients it contains, and beets are no exception. The beautiful red colour is from betalain pigments, which are potent antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory benefits as well.

• Tomatoes - Tomatoes are an ideal source of lycopene and studies have shown that lycopene can be absorbed more efficiently by the body if the tomatoes have been cooked with a fat. So make a tomato sauce for pasta by cooking tomatoes with a little olive oil. Puree until smooth for beginner eaters. Homemade sauce is much lower in sugar and salt than purchased sauce, so it's great for the whole family. 

• Red Peppers - Some would think that Red Bell Peppers would be an unusual choice for a starter baby puree but given that bell peppers are sweet vs. spicy and loaded with folate, vitamin A (from beta-carotene), vitamin B6 and vitamin C they’re gang-buster good for baby and a great way to introduce flavor! In fact, red bell peppers are one of the best food sources of vitamin C that you can eat. When paired with a plain flavor like potatoe or brown rice, it has a creamy, almost sweet taste to it makes it a perfect starter puree for any baby. 


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