10 Summer Veggies That Babies and Toddlers Can Eat
It’s Summer time (in the Northern Hemisphere)! Time to bring out the fresh fruits and vegetables that taste delicious and make for light, easy meals. And when it comes to nutritious meals and snacks for babies and toddlers, freshly sliced fruits and veggies are high in fiber, antioxidants, and other essential vitamins and minerals, making them the perfect choice!
Not sure where to start? Read this post to the end to get my list with 10 Summer Veggies That Babies and Toddlers Can Eat. (and here you can get my list with 10 Summer Fruits That Babies and Toddlers Can Eat).
DISCLAIMER: Each child has their own development timeline and specific needs. The content below is general information and for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional one-on-one advice. You are responsible for supervising your child’s health and for evaluating the appropriateness of the information below for your child. Please consult your healthcare provider regarding support or advice for your child's well being and health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
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Beets are available year-round. Its superficial, thin and smooth skin has a wide range of colors, from purple-pink and reddish-orange to a brownish tone. The pulp has a sweet taste and it is usually of a dark crimson red color with purple tinges.
Why give it to your child: Beets are an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, manganese, fiber, and potassium. They also contain vitamin B6, beta-carotene, and iron. The combination of the iron and vitamin C present in this vegetable can be a great addition to babies’ diet to help get the iron they need for proper growth and development.
How to serve them: Make sure to cook the beets to a soft consistency. You may offer it as a puree or mash. If offering it as a finger food, cut into slices or strips for babies without pincer grasp. For babies with pincer grasp or toddlers you may cut into bite sized pieces.
2. Bell peppers
Bell peppers are available year round at the supermarket, but peak season runs from July through September. This is a vegetable with variable shape, size and color. It can be green, red, yellow, purple, orange and even black! Green and purple bell peppers have a slightly bitter, grassy flavor, while orange, red and yellow bells are sweeter and fruitier—with red being the sweetest.
Why give it to your child: Thanks to their huge concentration of Vitamin C and several other minerals, bell peppers can help strengthen the immune system in babies. They are also rich in Vitamin A, one of the crucial nutrients for eye health and functioning.
How to serve them: Cooked bell peppers are ideal for young babies and those who have recently started weaning to solids. Cooking makes the vegetable soft and easy to consume.
But you may also offer strips of raw peppers for your baby or toddler to dip into nutritious dips like yogurt and hummus.
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Corn’s peak season lasts from May through September. Corn is crunchy, succulent, and sweet. It’s usually a favorite amongst children.
Why give it to your child: Corn (specifically sweet corn) offers plenty of B vitamins, fiber, iron, potassium, and zinc—essential nutrients to support your baby's growth.
How to serve them: Sweet corn is the variety of corn typically available “on the cob” and frozen as loose kernels in the stores. You may offer the corn cooked on the cob, mashed, or as a puree.
While they're a year-round supermarket staple, carrot season takes place between July and November. Carrots are crunchy and crisp with sweet and earthy flavors. They come in different colors and are all wonderful to introduce to your baby or toddler.
Why give it to your child: Just like sweet potatoes, carrots are one of the best food sources of beta-carotene. Once consumed, the body converts it to vitamin A, which is key for good vision, cell growth, and a healthy immune system. Carrots are also a good source of several B vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, and fiber.
How to serve them: Raw carrots, especially raw baby carrots are a choking hazard for babies and toddlers. Make sure to cook the vegetable to a soft consistency before offering it. When offering carrots as finger food, cut it lengthwise into quarters in order to reduce the risk of choking.
Although you can find cucumbers at your market year-round, the peak season is from May through August. Cucumbers are cool, crunchy, and aqueous with a mild, crisp, and light taste.
Why give it to your child: Cucumbers are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. They also contain vitamin K, calcium, beta-carotene, and phytonutrients such as flavonoids and lignans, which are antioxidants that help boost immunity and have anti-inflammatory benefits. Cucumbers are also very high in water (96% of their content) which makes them perfect vegetables to offer during the hot summer months to help babies stay cool and hydrated.
How to serve them: Cut cucumbers lengthwise into quarters in order to reduce the risk of choking. You may also offer shredded cucumber to babies who have already developed their pincer grasp. And for older babies and toddlers another option is to offer cucumber slices.
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Eggplants are in peak season from July through October. Eggplants are mild, tender, and may be slightly bitter depending on the variety and the number of seeds inside them.
Why give it to your child: Eggplants are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, antioxidants, vitamin A, folate, and gut-healthy fiber, all of which contribute to your baby's growth and development.
How to serve them: First cook eggplant. Then you may serve it mashed or as a puree. To offer as a finger food cut it into strips or half moon slices. If your little one has already developed their pincer grasp you may offer diced eggplant by cutting it into bite sized pieces. Another option is to add eggplant into different types of preparations like stews, soups, and pasta sauces.
7. Green beans
Green beans are available all year round, though you can find them fresh at most local farmers' markets from around May to October. They are a perfect go-to side dish. Did you know there’s quite a few types of green beans? There’s your classic green beans (also called “string beans”, “wax beans” or “snap beans”), purple string beans, yellow wax beans, flat and wide Romano beans (aka “flat green beans” or “Italian Green Beans”), foot-long beans and fancy haricots verts (known as “French green beans” or “filet beans”). Whichever type you choose, green beans are a great addition to baby’s diet.
Why give it to your child: Green beans are rich in vitamin A (which is involved in eye health), vitamin K (which plays a key role in blood clotting) and vitamin C (which supports immune health and enhances iron absorption). Green beans also serve up folate, a B vitamin that your baby's body needs in order for their cells to grow and divide.
How to serve them: Make sure to cook green beans to a soft consistency before offering to your child. Offer a long whole green bean, it’s the perfect size and shape for little hands. You may also prepare a green bean puree to be offered by the spoon or in a suction bowl for hand scooping.
Celery is typically available year-round. Celery, at its best, has a juicy and crunchy flesh with a mild salty flavor. Although celery is most often used for its stalks, its leaves are edible as well and have a concentrated celery-flavor.
Why give it to your child: Celery provides several vitamins and minerals, and supplies antioxidants that can strengthen baby’s immune system and help with digestive problems.
How to serve them: To avoid choking, make sure to cook celery to a soft consistency when giving it to babies. Offer a soft stalk for babies without pincer grasp or add it to baby’s puree. Once your child develops their pincer grasp you may try offering half moon slices. For an older toddler who has learned to chew their food well you can also try offering raw stalks of celery for them to dip in nutritious dips like yogurt or hummus.
9. Summer squashes
Summer squashes’ peak season happens during the summer months. Green and gold zucchini, pattypan squash, and yellow squash are some of the vegetables included in this group. All these varieties are tender and mild, differing only subtly in texture and flavor, but widely in shape and color.
Why give it to your child: Summer squashes are high in vitamins C, B6 and A, they contain some iron and calcium, but also potassium, magnesium and phosphorus
How to serve them: These vegetables are incredibly easy to steam and puree until nice and creamy for babies to slurp up. They can also easily be served as finger food - cut it into strips or half moon slices. If your little one has already developed their pincer grasp you may offer diced squash by cutting it into bite sized pieces.
Tomatoes are in season from May through October, with some variation depending on where you live. There are hundreds of tomato varieties. From marble-sized grape or cherry tomatoes, to juicy salad tomatoes, meaty paste tomatoes, and huge, sweet, beefsteak tomatoes. Their colors range from deep crimson to orange, yellow, green, purple, and chocolate. And their flavor is commonly described as sweet, tart, tangy or balanced.
Why give it to your child: Tomatoes are loaded with vitamin C, which is a vitamin that can help with iron absorption when consumed with a source of iron. Plus, this micronutrient boosts immunity and helps wound healing. Tomatoes are also a great source of vitamin A, an important nutrient for vision development, and immune function. Additionally, tomatoes can help babies stay cool and hydrated since the average tomato contains 94 percent water.
How to serve them: Make sure they are very ripe and soft. Offer a whole tomato for young babies without pincer grasp. Serve whole or half moon slices for older babies. If offering small tomatoes like cherry tomatoes, cut them in quarters to reduce the risk of choking.