Biscuits for Babies: Reasons to Avoid and Alternatives

Giving Biscuits to Babies – Is It Safe?

Medically Reviewed By
Megha Mukhija (Paediatric Nutritionist)
View more Paediatric Nutritionist Our Panel of Experts

Biscuits are a popular snack and we love to eat them with a cup of chai almost daily. Biscuits, especially the chocolate ones taste delicious and make for quick and easy treats for children. If you have a baby who has just started on solids (or is already nine months or above), you might be tempted to give biscuits to him. Biscuits might seem like a good snack for him as they are soft and easily dissolve in milk. But are they really good for your tiny munchkin? Think again before you give store-bought biscuits to your baby. Read this article to understand why biscuits are not a nutritious option for your little darling!

Video : Is It Safe to Give Biscuits to Babies?

Can You Give Biscuits to Your Baby?

Biscuits taste yummy, of course, and nowadays, you will find biscuits of different flavours, colours and textures. They make for an excellent snack for teatime or simply when you’re feeling a bit hungry. However, this only applies to adults. Biscuits are certainly not a healthy replacement for actual, healthy food when it comes to feeding your baby. Biscuits are not really good for babies. In fact, they are not good for toddlers and young kids too.

Reasons Why You Should Avoid Giving Store-Bought Biscuits to Babies

Although biscuits are tasty, they offer no nutrition to babies and children. From a nutrition standpoint, they have zero value. The ingredients used in making biscuits are not healthy at all. Hence, you should avoid giving biscuits to your little one. We have listed down the ingredients of biscuits that are unhealthy and the reasons for the same. We have also mentioned the possible problems that may arise if your baby eats store-bought biscuits.

1. They Contain Refined Wheat Flour

The main component of all biscuits is refined wheat flour or maida.  Refined wheat flour offers no nutrition and in fact, it takes a long time to get digested, overworking the digestive system even in adults. Babies do not have a developed digestive system and intestines and thus their intestines and digestive system may take a lot more time to digest maida. So, you must avoid giving biscuits that are made of refined flour to your baby.

2. They Contain Trans Fats

Trans fats are a certain kind of fat that is used in processed food to maintain their shape, flavour, and consistency. However, not only do they completely lack in nutrients, but can also cause serious health issues. They can cause an imbalance in the good and bad cholesterol levels in the body. Trans fats are known to cause vision problems, nervous disorders, allergic conditions, diabetes, and obesity. Many brands of biscuits mention that there is no trans fat in their product, but this is often misleading as there is almost always a small amount. Even this can be problematic for your baby.

3. They Offer Zero Nutrition

As mentioned above, store-bought biscuits offer zero nutrition to the baby. They basically contain refined wheat flour, unhealthy fats, sodium, potassium, and a host of harmful synthetic substances. Biscuits may satiate your child’s hunger but they will offer zero nutrition to your baby. This also applies to other foods like sweets, chocolates, cakes, soft drinks, and so on. These items are known as empty calorie foods, as they provide energy for basic body functioning but nothing else. So make sure you don’t give such foods to your baby.

4. They Have Additives in Them

Processed food items have additives in them which can be very harmful to babies. As biscuits contain substances that can spoil, they require preservatives such as BHA and BHT. These chemicals have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. Biscuits also require leavening agents during the baking process such as baking soda, which can cause stomach problems like acid reflux in babies and toddlers. Emulsifying agents like glycerol monostearate are used to keep the fatty substances and water together in the food item. However, they have been shown to influence intestinal bacteria, which can cause problems with the digestive system. Biscuits also have flavouring agents in them are almost always used in biscuits as natural flavours are not possible. So it’s best that you don’t give store-bought biscuits to your baby.

5. They Can Lead to Constipation

Biscuits have almost no dietary fibre or roughage in them. This could cause severe constipation in your baby and lead to serious complications such as anal fissures, vomiting, faecal blood, and so on.

6. They Have Too Much Sugar in Them

Processed foods like biscuits and soda have exorbitant amounts of refined sugar in them. Giving foods rich in sugar can lead to mild addiction such as sugar rush, making your baby crave for biscuits even at the expense of a healthy meal. Further, the sugar often used is known as inverted sugar, as it is considerably sweeter than glucose. It is used due to the small size of its crystals, allowing for a more uniform composition. Inverted sugar is hygroscopic, which means that it can hold moisture quite well, preventing the biscuits from drying on coming in contact with air, thus improving the shelf life of the product.

7. They Can Trigger Allergic Reactions

Biscuits contain allergenic substances like gluten and soy lecithin in them. These can cause an allergic reaction in your baby. The reactions might be simple such as skin rashes or dangerous such as difficulty breathing due to lung inflammation.

Which Biscuits Are Good for Babies?

Homemade biscuits

You should avoid giving store-bought biscuits to your baby for all the reasons mentioned above. If you want to give biscuits to your baby, you can replace them with healthier snacks like fruits, nuts, and so on. Although biscuits are a complete no for babies, if you want to give one to your baby we suggest you consider healthier alternatives. Here are some options that you can consider.

  • Homemade Biscuits – You can make biscuits at home using healthy ingredients. You can use healthy ingredients like oats, ragi, millet, almonds, raisins, etc. Look for the recipes of some homemade biscuits on the internet and make them at home. Use healthy ingredients and bake healthy!
  • Whole Wheat Biscuits – Whole wheat biscuits don’t have any refined wheat flour in them. You can buy them from any grocery store or make them at home.

If your baby has started eating solid foods, there are a lot of tasty food items that you can give him. If it gets difficult to decide, you can always choose fresh organic food items like fresh fruits and vegetables. You can prepare a variety of dishes with these ingredients such as salads, smoothies, and veggies. You can also give him dal, rice, chapati, etc. If your child gets bored with these, you can replace them with healthy homemade biscuits as the occasional snack, while strictly avoiding commercial or processed foods.

Also Read: Finger Foods for Your Baby

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