GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - First foods for infants are critical for growth, development and overall health.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing solids at 4-6 months and including a variety of healthy foods with different textures. Both The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend protein as a starter food. As more moms make baby food at home, here are a few ideas for best nutrition.

The Centers for Disease Control say that kids and adolescents are deficient in calcium, vitamin D, potassium and fiber. Registered dietitian Pat Baird shows some kid-friendly foods that are easy to keep on hand, and to prepare for meals and snacks.

Summer is a great time to introduce and teach kids about healthy foods

  • Beware of kids wanting snacks 24/7
  • Let’s talk about three stages of development: infancy, young kids and adolescents
  • There are some easy and fun ways to for each level

Infant feeding is changing

  • American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing solids at 4-6 months
  • A new study showed that when puréed pork is introduced to formula-fed infants (increasing their protein), it promoted a greater rate of growth (about 1 inch by 12 months)
  • For breastfed infants, meat may have the added benefit of enhancing iron and zinc absorption
  • Puréed cooked pork can be added to cereal or avocado

Involve kids and sneak in nutrition

  • Kids and adolescents have a low intake of fiber, calcium, potassium and folate
  • Involve kids with shopping and cooking - they love it!
  • Pork kabobs are a great way to increase protein, thiamin and riboflavin and sneak in fruits and veggies on the kabob stick
  • All fruits and veggies are rich in fiber, potassium and other nutrients

Pizza is great on the barbecue for teens

  • Actually, the whole family will love it
  • Pizza is another way to slide in added nutrition
  • Top it with cooked, ground pork and set out bowls of fruit, veggies for them to add before cooking
  • This pizza will add protein along with calcium and potassium; and fruits and veggies add potassium, fiber and other vitamins and minerals - without lots of calories.