The Wholesome Baby Food Guide is shipping and I’m going to be helping Vitamin Angels! More on this later. Let’s talk about Vitamin A, Vitamin Angels and foods for your baby. Don’t forget to check out the sweet potato recipe below!
Below you will find a table of foods that are commonly introduced to babies within their first year along with the amount of Vitamin A that these foods contain.
|Fruit or Vegetable||Serving Size||Vitamin A Content|
|Peaches||1 medium||524 IU|
|Avocado||1 cup mashed||338 IU|
|Pumpkin||1 cup cooked||12,230 IU|
|Butternut Squash||1 cup baked||1,144 IU|
|Carrots||1/2 cup cooked||13,286 IU|
|Sweet Potatoes||1 medium baked||21,909 IU|
|Broccoli||1 cup steamed, choppe||2,415 IU|
|Cheddar Cheese||½ cup, shredded||566 IU|
|Yogurt||½ cup plain, whole milk||122 IU|
As you can see, these foods are great sources of Vitamin A for babies and young children; these foods are plentiful and commonly found in grocery stores throughout developed countries. Sadly, many infants and younger children throughout the world don’t have access to these foods on a regular basis.
According to Vitamin Angels, a non-profit that seeks to connect essential nutrients with infants and children under five, Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a major underlying cause of child mortality worldwide. It is sad to think that not all children and their families have consistent or adequate access to foods rich in Vitamin A. Families at nutritional risk are not confined to, nor are they found only in under-developed nations.
Vitamin A is essential for the proper development and strength of the immune system as well as the health and development of our eyes. While it is a fat soluble vitamin (in the form of retinol, it is stored in the fatty tissue of our bodies), tiny bodies cannot build up the necessary stores unless they have Vitamin A rich foods or supplements. For children without adequate Vitamin A intake, the immune system may be less able to fight off infection and disease and blindness is a possiblilty.
Enter Vitamin Angels and their distribution of Vitamin A capsules (as well as multivitamin supplements). Just one high-dose vitamin A capsule can provide one child with sufficient Vitamin A for six months. This alone can reduce under-five child mortality by about 24% in populations at risk of vitamin A deficiency. It can also help prevent and reverse one of the most severe effects of VAD, xerophthalmia, a disorder of the eye that can lead to permanent blindness.
The table below show you the Recommended Daily Intake for Vitamin A from the National Institutes of Health:
|Age||RDI for Vitamin A|
|0-6 Months||1,320 IU|
|7-12 Months||1,650 IU|
|1-3 Years||1,000 IU|
|4-8 Years||1,320 IU|
If you were to serve you little one the following within 1 day, the RDI for Vitamin A has more than adequately been met!
Vitamin A in 1 Day of Foods for Baby
1/4 cup (approx. 2 ounces) baked sweet potato offers 9609 IU
1/4 cup (approx. 2 ounces) of peaches offer 126 IU
1/4 cup (approx 2 ounces) of pureed avocado provides 84 IU
1/4 cup (approx. 2 ounces) plain whole milk yogurt serves up 61 IU
TOTAL: 9880 IU of Vitamin A
Just 2 ounces of mashed sweet potato takes care of the RDI of Vitamin A for babies and children up to the age of 8 years – just 2 ounces!
Here is a great recipe for Vitamin A rich sweet potatoes that the whole family can enjoy:
Maple Baked Sweet Potatoes with Wheat Germ
3 medium sized sweet potatoes/yams
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ*
cinnamon and/or nutmeg to taste – start with 1 teaspoon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
1. Peel then rinse the sweet potatoes, cut into small chunks
2. Put the chunks into a medium bowl, then drizzle on 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/3 cup maple syrup
3. Sprinkle on the cinnamon and/or nutmeg then sprinkle on the wheat germ and mix to combine
4. Place sweet potato chunks into baking dish and cover with foil
5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, remove foil and bake another 15-30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender
6. When finished baking, remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and stir to combine all the wonderful flavors. Serve warm.
*Wheat is typically introduced around 8 months of age and after baby is tolerating other grains. It is a possible allergen and celiacs should not eat it; it should be offered with the advice of your pediatrician.
Puree and serve
Puree and add peaches and/or yogurt for a juicy twist
Mash in some applesauce
Mash and serve in a bowl with a baby spoon. Let baby use the spoon to practice; this mix will cling well to the spoon!
To be continued….