Let's talk a little bit about Vitamin A

Why is Vitamin A important for babies?  Vitamin A plays an important role in vision and bone growth as well as helping protect the body from infections. Vitamin A also promotes the health and growth of cells and tissues in the body, particularly those in the hair, nails and skin. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vitamin A deficiency affects about 190 million preschool-age children, mostrly from Africa and South-east Asia.  In infants and children, vitamin A is essential to support rapid growth and to help combat infections. Inadequate intakes of vitamin A may lead to a vitamin A deficiency, which can cause visual impairment in the form of night blindness and may increase the risk of illness and death from childhood infections, including measles and those causing diarrhea.

So, when making homemade baby food, it is important to make sure that your kiddo is getting plenty of vitamin A rich foods in his or her diet.  Some excellent sources of vitamin A are listed below, in order of highest concentration of vitamin A for a 100g (3.5 oz.) serving and measured in international units (iu.)

*  Liver, Beef... 43,900                                   *  Sweet potatoes... 8,800

*  Liver, Chicken... 12,100                               *  Spinach... 8,100

*  Carrots... 11,000                                         *  Mangoes... 4,800

*  Apricots, dried... 10,900                            *  Cantaloupe... 3,400

*  Collard greens... 9,300                             *  Apricots... 2,700

*  Kale... 8,900                                              *  Broccoli... 2,500

How much Vitamin A does my child need?

Ages 1 to 3 years:  1,000 i.u. or 300 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A per day

How much Vitmain A is too much?

Ages 1 to 3 years:  should not get more than 2,000 iu a day.  This is the maximum amount considered safe by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine.

So as you consider the menu for the week, think about using some of the above ingredients in your baby food blends or by themselves.  Not only are they healthy, babies tend to love all of these flavors, besides being are super helpful in developing your child's immune system and cell and tissue growth.

Keep it up! And good job parents!

Bon appetit babies,