If you're interested in introducing your baby and/or toddler to super foods, then the following list of ideas is for you. Introducing super foods early increases the chance that your child will like them; it is also reassuring to know that those little tummies are full of the best nutrition! Toddlers, in particular, often do not eat much. I like to know that mine is taking in the best nutritional bang for the bite!
Pumpkin: One of the easiest foods to feed your baby/toddler! We mix it up with plain yogurt and mashed banana or applesauce, and sprinkle some pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cloves, etc.) over it. Voila! "Pumpkin yogurt" (or pumpkin cottage cheese) is a big hit around here. My kids need no encouragement to consume their weight in sweet potatoes or butternut squash, either; these are good "sidekicks" for pumpkin.
Broccoli: Provided your children like it (mine love it!), broccoli is easy to serve frequently. We keep bags of frozen, chopped broccoli on hand. Simply steam and use as finger food, mix into macaroni and cheese, add to creamy soups, puree and put in a cheese quesadilla, etc.
Oats/Whole Grains: Feed those kids oatmeal! Inexpensive, healthy, easy--great choice. There are also many muffins and cookies that are packed with oats. We also add wheat germ (a sidekick) to cream of wheat, breads, and muffins. Get those kiddos used to whole wheat bread and brown rice. They'll never know the difference.
Omega 3's: Found in salmon, you might think this is hard to give your children. Well, eggs from hens fed vegetarian diets are also high in essential fatty acids--so give those kids some scrambled eggs!
Spinach: Try a creamed spinach dish, spinach quiche, Cottage Cheese and Spinach Gratin, Fancy Spinach, or other egg/cheese/spinach concoction. You'd be surprised how palatable this cooked green can be. My kids love it!
Oranges: These are a super food because of their Vitamin C content, yet young toddlers often can't chew the sections very well. The good news: mandarin oranges "count" in the orange category! Some grocery stores, like Kroger, sell them packed in mandarin orange juice instead of syrup. These are much easier for young toddlers to eat, and they pack a hefty 50% of the USRDA for Vitamin C.
Yogurt: Babies and toddlers love plain yogurt! They aren't used to the super sweet taste we've packed into the flavored varieties. This is a true staple in our house--my babies/toddlers eat it daily and seem to love it plain or mixed with fruit/pumpkin.
Beans: Beans make great finger food. We keep cans of limas, black beans, and pintos on hand. Rinse them to remove some of the sodium, and you're ready to go. Vegetarian dishes that include beans are also easy ways to work this category into the diet. Young children sometimes prefer the softer texture of these meals to big hunks of meat.
Berries: Blueberries are some of the most easily digested berries and are often found in early stages of baby food. You can add frozen berries to pancake mix or muffins as well.