Almonds for Kids – Benefits and Side Effects
It is common for a mother to worry about her child’s health. We are sure you must be very careful about your child’s diet and must be doing everything possible to make sure that he gets his daily dose of nutrition. Almonds for kids are a powerhouse of energy. Almonds are a must for children as they are loaded with essential amino acids and nutrients that a child needs in his growing years. Plus, there are an excellent snack option for children of all ages. Find out how almonds can benefit your child.
What Are Almonds?
Almonds are known as the ‘king of nuts’ and are a healthy snack. They contain vitamins, minerals, and unsaturated fats. There are basically two types of almonds.
1. Sweet Almonds
These are the almonds famous for their health benefits and are widely consumed almost everywhere around the world.
2. Bitter Almonds
These are also known as ‘wild almonds’. These almonds are used for cooking, and it has so many other medicinal advantages. Many people do avoid this type of almond because of the presence of amygdalin.
Nutritional Content in Almonds
Almonds are an amazing health food as they are high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. Almonds have almost zero cholesterol, which can prevent coronary cardiac diseases. Almonds act as an antioxidant that is soluble in lipids. Almonds contain many vitamins and minerals which may prove to be effective for the growth and development of kids.
Here are some of the highlighted nutrients present in 100 grams of almonds as sourced by USDA (1).
What Are the Benefits of Eating Almonds for Children?
Almonds can be very beneficial for the health of your child. Find out how!
1. Boosts Immune System
Immune strength plays a key role in deciding the health of a child. If you want to strengthen the immune system of your child, make sure you give him almonds, as the alkali metals present in almonds can strengthen their Immunity. The presence of antioxidants in almonds can also lower the risk of diseases in your child. As almonds are rich in Vitamin E, eating them can also prevent the risk of coronary heart disease.
2. Strengthens the Bones
Minerals like calcium and phosphorus can strengthen your child’s bones. Almonds have a high content of calcium, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium; including them in your child’s diet will ensure that he has strong teeth and bones (2). Your child will also be protected from the chances of tooth decay and osteoporosis in his later years.
3. Promotes Healthy Brain Development
L-carnitine and riboflavin present in almonds will ensure brain development. These nutrients can also prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Almonds can also help improve your child’s memory power, concentration, and memory retention, as suggested by a 2016 clinical study on healthy rats (3). Include almonds in your child’s diet – he will become smart and active.
4. Boosts Energy Level
Almonds have a high content of copper, riboflavin, and manganese. These are needed to maintain a proper rate of metabolism and to provide energy. Include almonds in your child’s diet if he tends to be restless all the time.
5. May Help Prevent Cancer
A 2015 study published in Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation concluded that consuming high amounts of nuts, including peanuts, walnuts, and almonds, helped protect against the development of breast cancer (4). As almonds are rich in fibre, consuming them will help boost the passage of food through the colon. This can also decrease the chances of getting colon cancer.
6. May Cure Skin Problems
If your child has skin problems like dry skin, consider giving him almonds. Most doctors suggest almond oil for babies as it helps in the development of bones and can make the skin healthy.
7. Treats Constipation
The high fibre content in almonds can provide relief from constipation. Almonds are rich in fatty acids, linolenic fatty acids, and linoleum, which can help in lowering inflammation.
8. Maintains Blood Pressure
Potassium and sodium content are quite high in almonds, which can help prevent blood pressure fluctuations. Thanks to the 2014 study, we got to know that healthy male participants aged 20-70 years of age who took 50 g of almonds per day for 4 weeks experienced reduced blood pressure, improved blood flow, and high levels of antioxidants in their bloodstream (5).
9. Promotes a Healthy Weight
The vitals, including unsaturated fats, present in the almonds are very helpful in maintaining an optimal weight in a child. In a 2016 clinical trial, it was found that moderate consumption of almonds improved the microbiota composition and diet quality in young children and adults (6).
10. Maintains Good Heart Health
As per the American Heart Association, unsaturated fats also help maintain blood cholesterol levels (7). Unsaturated fats, along with proteins and potassium, play a vital role in the maintenance of a healthy heart. Magnesium, on the other hand, prevents future heart attacks in children. A 2018 study even suggested that individuals consume around 45 grams of almonds a day for optimal heart health, thanks to their ability to maintain high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels or ‘good’ cholesterol (8).
What Are the Possible Side Effects?
Nuts are no doubt healthy for children, but sometimes they may trigger allergies, too. Nuts should be given to babies once they turn six months of age. You should avoid giving almonds to your baby if you notice any allergic reaction or have a family history of people allergic to nuts. Mentioned below are some possible side effects of eating almonds.
- Consuming a few bitter almonds might be deadly for an individual.
- Some people might be allergic to almonds. This will result in them having rashes on their skin and might have serious problems with breathing.
How to Include Almonds in Your Child’s Diet?
Almonds are very tasty and are loaded with many nutrients. Almonds can be given to eat directly, or you could add them to different food preparations. In the market, you will be able to find almonds in many forms, like almond syrup, almond butter, and almond milk. You could also get raw almonds in blanched, salted, shelled, or unshelled varieties. If your child is too small and cannot eat it as a whole, then you can soak it in water for a while or even powder it, which can be added to the milk. This will give a nice flavour to the milk, and your child will love it.
If your child likes cereals, then you can add 1-2 teaspoons of almond butter to his bowl of oatmeal or rice to make it healthier and tastier. You could make a dip by taking equal parts of light cream cheese and almond butter and adding some milk to it. This can be served along with sliced bananas or any other fresh fruits.
Almond Recipes for Children
Here are some really simple recipes you could try at home for your children.
1. Almond Milk
Almond milk tastes delicious, and we are sure your child will enjoy it. Here is how you can make almond milk.
- Almonds – 1 cup
- Water – 1 litre
How to Prepare
- Soak the almonds in a bowl of water. Keep the bowl in a refrigerator for about four hours. You can soak the almonds overnight, too.
- Next, remove the outer skin of the almonds. You could skip this step if you had bought blanched almonds.
- Along with some fresh water, blend the almonds in a blender or a food processor.
- Through a metal strainer, press this mixture either using a hard spoon or a spatula to get the smooth almond milk.
- You can now give your children this homemade almond milk.
2. Almond Cookies
Almond cookies are loved by all, and these would make a great snack.
- Almond meal – 1/2 cup
- Plain flour – 2/3 cup
- Corn flour – 2 tbsp
- Powdered sugar – 1/3 cup
- Salt to taste
- Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
- Butter – 1/3 cup
How to Prepare
- Sift the plain flour, corn flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Keep the bowl aside.
- Beat the butter and sugar using a blender and do this until it turns fluffy. Put the almond meal in the mixture of sifted flour and try to make a very soft dough.
- Wrap this soft dough in plastic paper and keep it in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
- After some time, take the dough from the refrigerator and roll it to a thickness of ½ inches.
- To obtain perfect shapes, you could use a cookie cutter, and you could also place an almond on the surface of every cookie.
- Bake these cookies at 170° Celsius in the oven for about 20-22 minutes.
3. Almond Banana Puree
This tasty and easy-to-prepare recipe is a healthy option for babies above 6 months.
- Bananas – 1, ripe, medium
- Almond meal – 1/2 cup
- Whole milk – 1/4 cup
How to Prepare
- In a blender, add 1 banana and almond meal or paste. Blend everything nicely.
- Once everything is pureed/blended nicely without any lumps, add whole milk to set the consistency so it is not too thick and not too runny.
- Serve the puree in a bowl.
1. What is the right age for children to start almonds?
Since almonds belong to the nuts family, which carry a possible risk of nut allergy and pose a choking hazard, they can be introduced to children after six years of age. You can powder them and blend them into a paste and include it in children’s diets from the age of six months (9).
2. How many almonds can my 2-year-old toddler eat in a day?
How many almonds to eat per day for kids? Well, children should consume almonds in moderation, just like any other food. For 2-year-olds, almond intake should be to a maximum of 4 or 5 almonds. On average, 30g of almonds are sufficient for older children (9).
3. Can almonds help with proper digestion and gut health?
Yes, almonds are known to contribute positively to children’s gut health and digestion. They contain plant sterols that help lower cholesterol absorption, unsaturated fats that improve lipid profiles, and phytonutrients that promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Moreover, they aid in weight management by promoting feelings of satiety and fullness (10).
All the benefits of almonds are enough to make sure that your children’s diet has almonds in them. However, it is better to check with a doctor first before giving almonds to your baby. Like everything else, almonds should also be eaten at a limit since excess consumption could trigger other side effects. Giving your children two or three almonds every day is ideal so that they get the necessary benefits of these nutritious nuts.
1. Nuts, almonds; USDA; https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170567/nutrients
2. Pepa. G. D, Brandi. M. L; Microelements for bone boost: the last but not the least; Clin Cases Miner Bone Metab.; PubMed Central; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5318168/; September-December 2016
3. Batool. Z, Sadir. S, Liaquat. L, et al.; Repeated administration of almonds increases brain acetylcholine levels and enhances memory function in healthy rats while attenuates memory deficits in animal model of amnesia; Brain Res Bull.; PubMed Central; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26548495/; January 2016
4. Soriano-Hernandez. A. D, Madrigal-Perez. D. G, et al.; The Protective Effect of Peanut, Walnut, and Almond Consumption on the Development of Breast Cancer; Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation; Karger; https://karger.com/goi/article-abstract/80/2/89/153567/The-Protective-Effect-of-Peanut-Walnut-and-Almond?redirectedFrom=fulltext; July 2015
5. Choudhury. K, Clark. J, Griffiths. H. R; An almond-enriched diet increases plasma α-tocopherol and improves vascular function but does not affect oxidative stress markers or lipid levels; Taylor & Francis Online; https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/10715762.2014.896458?journalCode=ifra20; March 2014
6. Burns. A. M, Zitt. M. A, et al.; Diet quality improves for parents and children when almonds are incorporated into their daily diet: a randomized, crossover study; Nutr Res.; PubMed Central; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26773784/; January 2016
7. The Skinny on Fats; American Heart Association; https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/prevention-and-treatment-of-high-cholesterol-hyperlipidemia/the-skinny-on-fats
8. Kalita. S, Khandelwal. S, Madan. J, et al.; Almonds and Cardiovascular Health: A Review; Nutrients.; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5946253/; April 2018
9. Nuts, health and kids; Nutrition Australia; https://nutritionaustralia.org/fact-sheets/nuts-health-and-kids/; October 2014
10. Almonds; Harvard. T.H. Chan; https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/almonds/