Broccoli for Babies – Benefits and Recipes

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Broccoli for Babies - Benefits and Recipes

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Broccoli has gained quite a lot of popularity since people became aware of its health benefits and nutritional value. It has slowly made its place in various salads and recipes for health-conscious people as well as tons of other mainstream recipes too. However, while introducing vegetables to your baby, you may wonder if broccoli is the right choice to go ahead with.

When Can Babies Eat Broccoli?

Usually, broccoli is generally avoided as the first vegetable that a baby is introduced to. The digestive system of a baby takes time in getting used to solids. The right time to add broccoli to your baby’s diet is at the age of 10 months old or more. Broccoli might also cause gas in certain babies, so if your baby shows such signs, it is best to delay it further.

Nutritional Facts of Broccoli

Nutritional Facts of Broccoli

The nutrients that 100 gms of steamed broccoli contains are as follows:

Description Quantity
Vitamin A 31 mcg
Vitamin C 89.2 mg
Vitamin E 0.78 mg
Niacin 0.64 mg
Folate 63 mcg
Iron 0.73 mg
Sodium 33 mg
Calcium 47 mg
Magnesium 21 mg
Phosphorous 66 mg
Potassium 316 mg

Source: IFCT 2017, ICMR, National Institute of Nutrition

Zinc, manganese, and a few other vitamins are also present in smaller amounts.

Benefits of Broccoli for Babies

Here are some of the benefits of feeding broccoli to babies.

1. Improves Immunity

The greatest thing about broccoli is its tendency to provide a strong boost to the strength of the immunity system. A good amount of vitamin C is present in broccoli. This not only is extremely crucial in strengthening the building blocks of the immune system, but also supports the overall health of the baby, and builds resistance to fight the onslaught of diseases.

2. Develops Eyesight

Another constituent that is present in broccoli in a good amount is vitamin A. Along with the combination of beta-carotene, vitamin A acts directly on making the eyesight of the baby better and sharper. These are further complemented by smaller B-complex vitamins and minerals such as phosphorous, which play a key role in keeping the eyesight healthy.

3. Reduces Anaemia

Our blood vessels contain an important entity called haemoglobin. The core function of haemoglobin is to transport oxygen to various parts of the body via the blood vessels. The development of haemoglobin is completely dependent on the presence of iron in the body, without which a person is termed anaemic. One of the main minerals that broccoli contains is iron, and increasing the amount of iron present in the body helps boost haemoglobin development.

4. Treats Gastric Ulcers

To digest the food consumed, the stomach needs to produce an acid that helps in breaking down the food successfully for the intestine. If the acid production is uncontrolled, the resulting acidity can cause ulcers to form in the gastric portion of the body. In such a condition, a soup made from broccoli can provide much-needed relief to your baby from such ulcers.

5. Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants are essential for the body to maintain a healthy balance of all constituents within itself. These also help in detoxing the body and take care of any metabolic free radicals, protecting the cells and tissues of the body. Broccoli is full of such antioxidants, and adding it to your little one’s diet is highly recommended.

6. Reduces Constipation

For any kind of digestive or constipation problems, including fibres and stimulating bowel movement to your baby’s diet, are great ways to take care of these issues. Broccoli contains fibre, which works as a laxative and helps relieve constipation. It helps by absorbing extra moisture and flushing out any impurities, stimulating the digestive process, and keeping the system healthy.

How to Choose and Store Broccoli for Infants

While buying broccoli from the market, opt for the ones that have dark green or sage shades of colour, with a slightly purplish-green tinge. Make sure that they are uniformly coloured and don’t have any anomalies. If there are any tiny yellow flowers or grey coloured portions, discard that broccoli.

At home, store it in an open bag in the vegetable section of the fridge. Avoid storing it for more than 4 days.

Precaution to Take When Giving Broccoli to Babies

Keep in mind the following things before giving broccoli to your baby:

  • While buying broccoli, choose the one that is heavy and is firm to touch. A heavy broccoli is a good indication of a healthy broccoli.
  • Check the stalks inside the broccoli for the presence of moisture. If moisture has accumulated inside it, the chances of infections are higher. If it is not evident on the outside, while cutting the broccoli, re-check for the presence of any moisture.
  • Always wash the broccoli thoroughly after cutting it. This will remove any impurities and dirt present in it.
  • Never give raw broccoli to your child, since it may have bacteria or other impurities present even after washing. It’s best to give boiled or steamed broccoli, or any other dish where the broccoli has been properly cooked.

How to Cook Broccoli for Babies

Cooking broccoli in order to make broccoli soup for babies is pretty simple. Make sure the broccoli is cut into tiny pieces and boil them properly with the soup. Once thick consistency is achieved, and other ingredients are added, remember to strain all the broccoli prior to serving the soup to your baby.

Nutritious Broccoli Recipes for Your Child

You can try these recipes to help make your kids enjoy broccoli.

1. Broccoli And Cheese Nuggets

Broccoli And Cheese Nuggets

Ingredients

  • Cooked, drained, and chopped broccoli
  • Breadcrumbs or baby cereal
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • A few eggs or vegetable puree

How To Cook

  1. Prepare the oven by heating it to a temperature of 190 degrees.
  2. Take a baking sheet and coat it properly with some olive oil.
  3. Take a bowl and combine all the ingredients in it. Mix it properly and add some seasonings if you like.
  4. With the mixture ready, take a portion in your hand and shape it like a nugget. Place it on the baking tray. Repeat this step to make nuggets from the entire mixture.
  5. Place the tray in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Pull the tray out, flip the nuggets, and bake for another 5-10 minutes.
  6. The nuggets are ready to be served!

2. Broccoli Carrot Puree

Broccoli Carrot Puree

Ingredients

  • Broccoli
  • Peeled and diced carrots

How To Cook 

  1. Wash the broccoli properly in cold water.
  2. Chop the broccoli along with the stems into tiny pieces. For a smoother puree, use only the florets.
  3. Take a pan and add the broccoli along with diced carrots. Add some water to it, and let the vegetables boil. Alternatively, you could steam them together in a steamer until they are soft.
  4. Transfer them to a bowl and mash the vegetables together until they form a puree.

3. Cheese Broccoli Rice

Cheese Broccoli Rice

Ingredients

  • Broccoli
  • Cooked brown rice
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

How To Cook

  1. Wash the broccoli properly in cold water.
  2. Chop the entire broccoli into tiny pieces. Put them in a steamer and steam until they become soft.
  3. Take a pot and mix the broccoli with rice. Place the pot over a low flame and let the rice cook.
  4. Add cheese to the bowl, and stir it well. Cook it until the cheese has melted completely.
  5. Turn off the flame, and mash the entire mixture together to the desired consistency.

4. Broccoli Cream Soup

Broccoli Cream Soup

Ingredients

  • Broccoli
  • Olive oil
  • Chopped onions
  • Chicken broth
  • Oregano
  • Pepper
  • Milk with reduced-fat

How To Cook

  1. Take a large pan and add oil to it. Heat it over a medium flame, and add the onions to it. Saute them until they soften.
  2. Then, add the broccoli, oregano, pepper, and broth. Stir it properly and bring it to a boil over a medium-high flame.
  3. Once boiled, reduce the flame to medium, and let it cook until the broccoli softens.
  4. Turn off the heat, and add milk to it. Stir it properly and pour it into a blender. Blend it all together to get a soup consistency. Heat it once again before serving.

5. Basic Broccoli Puree

Basic Broccoli Puree

Ingredients

  • Broccoli

How To Cook

  1. Wash the broccoli properly with cold water.
  2. Chop it into small pieces.
  3. Steam it until it softens. Blend it together to form a smooth puree.
  4. Add water to it, if you want to make the consistency to be thinner.
  5. Your broccoli puree is ready! This is a great broccoli baby food recipe that can be made at any time.

FAQ’s

1. Can I Buy Organic Broccoli for the Baby?

Unlike general vegetables, the presence of pesticides or insecticides in broccoli is negligible if you buy the organic ones. If you can afford organic broccoli, you can definitely buy those for your baby.

2. Can I Use Frozen Broccoli for the Baby?

Fresh broccoli is always better than frozen. However, if you are left with no other option, opt for frozen broccoli that is uncut, since you will require both stems and florets in your recipes.

3. Does Broccoli Cause Gas Problem in Babies?

Broccoli contains a specific sugar called raffinose that cannot be digested by adults as well. This usually causes gas in both children as well as grown-ups. However, as long as your baby can digest other food items pretty well, there is no reason not to give him broccoli.

The health benefits of broccoli are astounding. With multiple broccoli puree recipes for babies, you can ensure those nutrients find their way into your baby’s body in the right manner. A balanced diet with the right vegetables is the best culinary choice for your baby.

Also Read: Oats for Babies

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