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Are you planning to include cherries in your little one’s diet? Cherries are delicious and sweet, and sure to be loved by kids. Plus, they have a ton of benefits. However, you should know when and how to feed cherries to your little one, to ensure she can safely enjoy them. Here is an article to tell you all about this wonder-fruit and its health benefits. Also, learn some of the recipes that you can whip up with cherries.
When to Introduce Cherries to Infants
An often-asked question is, “when can babies eat Cherries”? It is best to introduce the fruit to an infant at 8 months. However, after consulting a Paediatrician, you can start giving her Cherries once she starts with semi-solids at 6 months. As they contain citric acid, feed cherries in small portions and look out for possible reactions.
Nutritional Value of Cherries
Cherries are a good source of Beta-Carotene, Vitamin C and are absolutely free from fat, cholesterol and sodium. One ripe Cherry contains about 82% water. A cup of Cherries, about 150 grams approximately, will have about 85 – 90 calories. The same quantity of the fruit will contain about 3 gram of fibre and a little of calcium (36mg), protein (1.65gms) and iron (0.85mg) too. The Potassium content in a cup of Cherries is about 260 milligrams and it is also recognised as one of the best among the antioxidant-rich fruits. It controls the hormone Melatonin, which helps in regulating proper sleep cycle.
Benefits of Cherries for Babies
Cherries are considered to be a superfood since they are loaded with nutrients. Here are some of the benefits of cherries on babies.
- Cherries contain more beta-carotene than blueberries and strawberries. Hence, they increase a baby’s immunity, make the skin glow and keep the and eyes healthy.
- It contains a good amount of fibre which helps in preventing constipation and helps in proper bowel movement.
- The fruit is rich in antioxidants which help in the development and proper functioning of a baby’s brain.
- It prevents Anaemia since the fruit is rich in iron.
- The fruit regulates melatonin, a hormone which induces good sleep in babies who sleep less.
- Cherry is a juicy fruit and comprises about two-thirds of water. Therefore, eating cherries can keep the baby hydrated.
- The calcium content in cherries helps in the development of healthy bones.
- The anthocyanin content in cherries reduces inflammation and, thus, prevents aches and pain in the body.
How to Select and Store Cherries for Babies
Always look for ripe and uniformly red coloured cherries with firm skin but they should not be hard when pressed. Avoid the ones with cuts, bruises, or with a stale, dry stem. Look for dark coloured ones since darker the colour, sweeter the cherry.
Fresh cherries should be wrapped in a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator without washing. You can wash them just before you eat or use them. However, always remember to bring them out of the refrigerator a few hours before you eat them, as they taste best at room temperature.
How to Prepare Cherry Baby Food
First of all, remove the stems of the Cherries and clean them thoroughly. In case you find too mushy or ones with nicks and blemishes, discard them. Then cut them in half and bend them to pit it. Once that is done with all the cherries, put them in a blender and make a puree. You can either puree it, leaving a few chunky pieces or blend it finely. The more you blend it, the more fluid it becomes. You can either feed this to your baby with a spoon or mix it with other food like applesauce or pear sauce and for older kids, you can mix it with chicken or in the porridge.
Can Your Baby be Allergic to Cherries?
Allergy from Cherries is quite rare but there are people who suffer from it. Especially if your baby happens to suffer from pollen allergy, then she may be allergic to cherries as well. Ingesting a cherry could lead to the Pollen-food allergy syndrome in which the mouth starts itching with or without a bit of swelling of the lips, tongue, palate, the throat, running nose and watery eyes. In very rare cases, a baby may suffer from severe symptoms like anaphylaxis, urticaria or gastrointestinal problems like vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps.
Precautions to Take Before Giving Cherries to Your Child
There is no doubt about the goodness of Cherries and its nutritional content. However, you need to take some precautions before giving Cherries to your little one.
- It is imperative to check if your child has a pollen allergy. In case she does, cherries are a definite no-no.
- You can even consult an allergist and test for cherry allergy that your baby may have, under his supervision.
- If in case your kid’s test result is negative for cherry allergy, you can give her cherries but only after peeling the skin off since it is thick and difficult for babies to chew.
- For babies who have just started semi-solids, cherry puree is the best and for infants, you can cut them in thin strips and give them as finger food.
- Always remember to pit the cherries before giving it to your baby.
Cherry Recipes for Babies
Looking for cherry recipes for your baby? Here are 3 easy and simple recipes.
1. Cherry-Banana Mix
Do you know how to make cherry puree for a baby? Here is a pureed mix with the goodness of cherries with that of banana.
- Banana – 1
- Cherry – 2
- Rice cereal – 1/4th of a small bowl
How to Make
- De-stem and wash the cherries.
- Cut them in halves and pit them.
- Puree the banana and cherries together.
- Add the rice cereal and puree again.
2. Cherry-Apple puree With Yogurt
It is a mix of smooth yoghurt with cherry and apple puree for babies who have just started weaning.
- Apple – 1
- Cherry – 2
- Yoghurt – 4-5 tablespoon
How to Make
- Wash the apples, peel it and cut it in pieces.
- De-stem the cherries, wash it, peel it, pit it and cut it in pieces.
- Blend them together in a processor.
- Whip the yoghurt and mix it with the fruit puree.
3. Cherry and Oats Kheer
It is a wholesome food with an Indian twist.
How to make?
- De-stem and wash the cherry.
- Then cut them in halves and pit them.
- Cut them into pieces and make a puree in a blender.
- Boil the milk and add the oats in it.
- Once cooked and cooled, add the cherry puree, honey (optional) and mix them all together.
Include cherries in your baby’s diet and add an extra nutritional punch to it. It will not only help in the overall development and good health of your baby but will also add an extra taste to your baby’s everyday food.