Butternut Squash for Babies – Health Benefits and Recipes

Butternut Squash for Babies - Health Benefits and Recipes

One of the more common winter squash varieties, Butternut Squash, is a good source of fibre and potassium and aids in digestion, blood pressure, healthy skin and healthy hair. In Australia and New Zealand, butternut squash is known as Butternut Pumpkin, and there are recipes from all over the world in which butternut squash is featured. This versatile ingredient can be used to prepare both sweet and savoury dishes and is a favourite amongst mothers who are weaning their kids onto solid foods.

When to Introduce Butternut Squash to Infants

Babies at the age of six months are ready to start a more solid diet, and butternut squash is perfect for your baby’s first solid food. Always consult with your doctor in case your child has allergies, but in general butternut squash is loved and appreciated by moms and babies alike.

Nutritional Value of Butternut Squash

The nutritional value of cubed and cooked butternut squash in one cup (205gms) is shown below:

Nutrient Value
Calories 82
Protein 1.8g
Fat 0.18g
Carbohydrates 21.50g
Sugar 4g
Fibre 6.6g
Calcium 84mg
Iron 1.23mg
Potassium 582mg
Magnesium 59mg
Phosphorus 55mg
Vitamin C 31mg
Vitamin A 1144mcg

Butternut Squash Benefits for Babies

Some of the health benefits of butternut squash for kids are:

1. Antimicrobial Activities

Butternut squash can cause a significant reduction of the diseases that are caused by bacteria and viruses. Fungal infections can also be guarded against with the consumption of butternut squash.

2. Reduces Inflammation

The Omega-3 fats which are present in butternut squash are present in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, and this is what helps to reduce the inflammation.

3. Aids in Digestion

Butternut squash is perfect for aiding in digestion as it contains a lot of fibre. This will help your child have regular bowel movements and will reduce the chances of constipation.

4. Good for Eyesight

Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene improve the eyesight of children and also protects them from UV radiations.

5. Antioxidant Activity

As antioxidants reduce the activity of free radicals in the body, the antioxidant properties present in butternut squash are very important for children.

Diced Butternut Squash

How to Choose and Store Butternut Squash for Baby Food

Here are some tips on how to choose a good butternut squash and how to store it safely:

1. How to Choose

Butternut squash is best if the skin is smooth and firm with no damage done to it. There should be no soft spots, bruises or cracks on it. If you are buying butternut squash that is already peeled and cut, the flesh should be a deep orange colour.

2. How to Store

Butternut squash can be stored for up to four months as long as it is kept in a cool and dry place.

How to Cook Butternut Squash for Your Child

There are different ways that you can prepare the butternut squash for your child. Here we discuss a few of them:

1. Roasting

You will need to preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cut into the squash lengthwise. Once halved, remove the seeds and fibrous strings and throw them out. The squash should be placed cut-side down on a baking tray and pour in some water. Roast until tender. The bigger the squash, the longer the roasting time.

2. Steaming

If you wondered how to steam butternut squash for a baby, we have the answer. After cutting, peel the butternut squash and chop into cubes. Add the pieces into a vegetable steamer and steam until tender.

3. Boiling

Peel and cut the squash and then boil for about 20 minutes until soft and tender.

Butternut Squash and Baby Food Combinations

Once your baby is old enough, you can use these ideas to put together some healthy meals for him. Use the following to make some delicious butternut squash combo baby food:

  • Cooked apple
  • Grated cheese
  • Cooked sweet potatoes
  • Cooked ripe bananas
  • Cooked carrots
  • Cooked pear
  • Creamy peanut butter

Delicious Butternut Squash Recipes for Babies

Here are some scrumptious butternut squash recipes for babies:

1. Vanilla and Butternut Squash Soup

This butternut squash soup for babies is simply irresistible.

Ingredients

  • One cup of butternut squash, peeled and cut
  • Quarter onion, finely chopped
  • One pinch of pepper
  • Vanilla extract

How to Prepare

  • Pour some oil into a pan and saute the onions until tender
  • Add the butternut squash and a pinch of ground pepper and then saute for 10 minutes until everything is soft and tender
  • Add water until the squash is just covered and bring to a boil
  • Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for about ten minutes or until the squash is soft.
  • Add vanilla and continue to simmer for another ten to fifteen minutes
  • Let the mixture cool and then blend until you have a creamy puree.
  • Serve to your baby.

2. Butternut Squash Daal

This healthy and hearty butternut squash baby food will have your little one eager for more.

Ingredients

  • Half of a medium sized butternut squash, baked and mashed
  • Five ounces of red lentils
  • One small piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • One and a half cups of water

How to Prepare

  • Mix the lentils with the turmeric and cinnamon in a saucepan and add some water
  • Bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, cooking the lentils until everything is soft and mushy and all the water is absorbed.
  • Stir in the squash mash and mix together well.
  • Serve to your baby and watch her enjoy.

Butternut Squash Daal

3. Butternut Bows

It is preferable to use whole grain pasta for this recipe. If your baby is more fond of the spiral pasta or the shell-shaped ones, you can use those instead of the bow-shaped pasta.

Ingredients

  • Half a cup of pasta
  • Half a cup roasted butternut squash
  • One pinch of nutmeg
  • One pinch of sage
  • Unsweetened apple juice

How to Prepare

  • In a blender, blend together the squash, nutmeg and sage. Add just enough apple juice to the mix to give it a saucy consistency.
  • Warm this puree and then serve it over the pasta.

4. Butternut Squash Ice Cream

Your baby is not going to be able to tell that this sweet treat is actually a part of her daily vegetable ration.

Ingredients

  • Half a cup of sweetly roasted butternut squash puree
  • One drop of vanilla extract

How to Prepare

  • Stir the vanilla into the butternut puree and then store it in the freezer
  • Just before it reaches the point of freezing, remove it from the freezer and serve it to your baby.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions:

1. Can babies have butternut squash allergies?

Though rare, babies can have allergies to butternut squash. If your baby has a bad reaction, stop giving him squash and consult a doctor.

2. Can butternut squash cause constipation in my baby?

Is butternut squash good for baby constipation or does it make it worse? As butternut squash is rich in fibres, it is more likely to prevent your child from getting constipated.

3. Are butternut squash seeds good for my child?

Butternut squash is good for babies, and the seeds are rich in minerals, protein, mono-unsaturated fats etc. However, they are quite hard and not suitable to give your baby as they are a choking hazard.

Since butternut squash is related to both cucumbers and melons, they can be made into both sweet and savoury dishes for your baby. The rich and velvety fruit is so versatile that you can be sure your baby will remain fit and healthy if you keep making sure that butternut squash is a part of their diet. Fussy eaters will also not be able to resist the sweet and nutty flavour of this healthy fruit.

Also Read: Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Babies