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It is a thrilling and challenging time for mothers when your child transitions to solid foods. Whether you are a first-time or a second-time mother, it is always a new experience when your little one begins his or her first trials with solids.
As parents, we always want to give our babies the best. Hence, it is important to select nutrition-dense foods that will provide wholesome nutrition and appeal to their taste buds. Fruits and vegetables are very important in a child’s diet, and introducing them early is important to get them accustomed to the taste. Experts advise introducing a variety of fruits and vegetables to a baby’s diet, one at a time, to get them to accept the taste. Over time, you can mix these in varying quantities to make it visually appealing and enhance their taste buds as well.
Of the different fruits and vegetables that are suitable for babies as first foods, avocado is a highly recommended food.
What is Avocado Fruit?
Avocado is a dense fruit that is in high demand for its various health benefits. Nowadays, it is very easy to find this fruit in supermarkets. It resembles a large berry, which is a pulpy mass in the inside that is creamy in texture and rich in taste. Avocados normally ripen after plucking. The best of the lot can be easily identified by checking the colour and by touching it to determine its’ ripeness. A ripe avocado is supple and soft, and can be easily mashed into a pulp that can be consumed by young children even when they have no teeth.
There are many nutrients in avocado that make it a wholesome wonder food. It has high fat content, and is dense in vitamins as well as antioxidants. Hence, it is considered a very healthy food option for both children and adults.
Nutritional Value of Avocado
This fruit is not only tasty because of its rich, creamy texture, but also because of its dense nutrients. A serving of avocado contains mono-unsaturated fat, vitamins like B, K, C, E and micronutrients like potassium, phosphorus and selenium. The fat content in it includes oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid and saturated fat. This is considered a rich fruit, 1and its versatility adapts to many flavours. Although the fruit has saturated fats, it is a no-cholesterol food item that is also low in sodium content.
|VITAMINS: (one cup pureed)
Vitamin A – 338 IU
Vitamin C – 20.2 mg
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – 0.2 mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – 0.3 mg
Niacin – 3.9 mg
Folate – 205 mg
Pantothenic Acid – 3.3 mg
Vitamin B6 – .6 mg
Contains other vitamins in small quantities
|MINERALS: (one medium)
Potassium – 1166 mg
Phosphorus – 124 mg
Magnesium – 67 mg
Calcium – 30 mg
Sodium – 18 mg
Iron – 1.4 mg
Also contains small amounts of selenium, manganese, copper and zinc
Is Avocado Good for Infants?
As adults, we are all well aware of the health and nutritional benefits of avocado. So it often finds its way into our daily diets. However, when your little baby reaches out to taste this fruit, you may wonder can babies eat avocado? The answer is yes! Avocados are in fact a very healthy fatty food that it is highly recommended in the diets of young and growing children.
There has been some confusion regarding the safety of avocados for very young children, considering it is a fatty food. The fact remains that although avocados are laden with fats, these are all healthy fats that are essential for growing kids. Since young children need more fat content in their diets, it is indeed a good and healthy fruit to feed a young baby.
Children love the taste and texture of this fruit, making it a great choice for a balanced, healthy diet. It is also a good food for very young children, and can be served to infants as young as 4-6 months. This fruit can easily be mashed and served alone or in combination with other foods. Avocado first baby food works best for young babies. The taste is not overpowering, and it adapts to different flavours easily and appeases young taste buds.
When to Introduce Avocado to Babies
Considered as one of the nature’s perfect foods, avocados have good fats that help the overall development of a baby. Young babies undergo a lot of physical and brain growth in the first year of their life. Avocados can be introduced as one of the first foods in your baby’s diet as the nutritional value of avocados contributes to the brain growth. Hence, you can introduce this as early as when your child is 4-6-months old and make it a regular component of his or her diet. Avocado puree for baby can either be prepared at home, or you can get it from the baby food section in supermarkets. Homemade avocado baby food is easy to prepare, store and serve as required.
Health Benefits of Avocado for Infants
As parents, we should always introduce our children to wholesome, natural foods that will encourage them to eat healthy throughout their life. However, this task isn’t always easy, as the foods we start them on should also appeal to their taste buds.
- Of the different health benefits of avocados, the most important one is that it contains a large quantity of fats that aid a baby’s mental and physical growth. Growing children need fat for their brain to develop properly. Avocado offers healthy fats that can fulfil this need. The monounsaturated fats in avocados are good fats that are very beneficial for a child’s overall development.
- Apart from containing good quantities of minerals like phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium and iron, it also contains small amounts of selenium, manganese, copper and zinc that are essential for a child’s development. Different vitamins are available in abundance, including vitamins B1, B2, Niacin, Folate, B6 and pantothenic acid that facilitate proactive development of the baby. It also has vitamins C and E that boost immunity and improve skin conditions.
- This fruit is free from sodium and cholesterol, while it has all the necessary components to improve the health and aid growth and development of the central nervous system and for normal growth.
- Avocado has anti-inflammatory properties that controls inflammation that is caused as a result of pathogen entry, thereby protecting it against irritating environmental factors
- Avocado contains plenty of anti-oxidants that control the production of free radicals in the body. This property neutralizes toxins that make their way into the baby’s body.
- Avocados are rich in anti-microbial ingredients that boost the overall immunity of the baby’s system. It also promotes restoration of the body to health, through correction of skin rashes, cuts and wounds.
- Avocado consumption aids with digestion, and is good for the overall health of the liver. It is recommended in children who are recovering from diseases like jaundice and hepatitis.
Tips to Keep in Mind Before Giving Avocado to Baby
- One advantage is that avocados are resilient to pesticides and chemicals used during crop cultivation. They are thus considered safe foods for your child, even when they aren’t organically cultivated.
- When choosing avocados for your baby, it is best to identify the right ripe fruit. Avocados are at their best when the colour is dark green and has a bumpy texture. If properly ripened, the cut avocado should be green with a yellow colour around the pit.
- Avocados can be eaten raw as well. Simply cut it, remove the flesh, separate the pulp and mash it up. Then serve it directly to your child.You can store avocado for a long time. It is best to do so in the form of slices that are frozen at the right temperature. Allow it to thaw and then mash it up to feed your child.
- Although avocado presents no choking hazards, it is important that you puree it for very young children. Serve it as a soft mash when you child has no teeth. You can slowly give it with more textured pieces once your child is little older. After your child begins to sit alone and starts chewing his food, introduce it as small cubes that he can easily swallow.
- Diced avocado is a great finger food that is not messy and easy for children to eat and digest. You can even use this on the go, when you store it properly to prevent oxidation. The avocado fruit turns brown easily when exposed to air. Hence, if you plan to store it for a while, it is best to treat it to a lemon bath before storage. For this, simply create a solution of water and few drops of lemon juice. Dip the slices of avocado in this bath, and set it aside on a sheet of parchment. You can then freeze these slices in ziploc bags and retrieve them as and when required. However, abstain from using this method if your child is sensitive to citrus fruits or if he is less than a year old. Storage in a citrus base is also not suggested if the avocado has to sit for a long time.
Quick and Short Avocado Recipes for Babies and Toddlers
Although avocados can be directly served to babies and young children, you can enhance its appeal to babies by trying different recipes. It is a very pliable medium, and can be adapted to introduce different flavours and tastes to your child when mixed with other ingredients. If your baby isn’t too keen on the taste of avocado by itself, here is what to mix with avocado for baby food that will be better received by choosy eaters.
Aromatic food substances like garlic, cream cheese, pepper, basil and other herbs gel well with avocado puree. So, you can use these together with avocado, to give your baby’s taste buds some interesting tastes to explore. Avocado can also be mixed with yogurt and whole milk to adjust the consistency and introduce dairy into his diet in a subtle way.
Here are some quick and easy recipes with avocado for children.
- Basic mash: The easiest and simplest way to serve avocado to children is as a mash. Simply cut a ripe avocado in half and remove the pit with the help of a knife. Then scoop out the fleshy part with a spoon. Slice it thinly or cut it into cubes. With a fork, mash it thoroughly. Feed it immediately to your baby, before the colour tends to oxidise.
- Avocado with fruit: Diversify the diet of your baby by mashing together avocado with other fruits like bananas. Separately dice each fruit, and then blend it together in a mixer till it is nice and creamy. For older babies, you can even mash it with a fork to retain texture and give them something to chew on.
- Savoury avocado: Avocado works extremely well with savoury flavours and citrus fruit juices. Mix it with aromatic dried herbs like basil, pepper, mint or garlic. Add a dash of citrus juice from a lemon or orange to combine the flavours. Serve it to your baby or store it for later use. The addition of Vitamin C will ensure that it keeps for a few days without discolouration. This is also a food you can carry with you to give on the go.
- Creamy avocado with yogurt: Just like avocado, yogurt is a super food for babies, and you should try to include it in your child’s diet. One way to do this is to make a puree avocado with yogurt or simply mash diced avocado into thick yogurt. The creamy texture and subtle flavours will be well-accepted by young children, and this easy-to-prepare recipe is always a great idea for when you are in a hurry.
- Avocado with milk: The easiest way to soften an avocado and make it easy to consume is to use it with milk. Simply mash the avocado with required quantity of milk to make a cereal-like dish that will be easy for your child to use with a spoon.
- Avocado fruit salad: Entice your little one with a pop of colours and burst of flavours with this simple but delicious avocado fruit salad recipe. Mix avocado cubes with steamed pears and mashed ripe bananas. Either mash it all up to a smooth consistency, or keep it at the desired texture with few chunky bits to chew on. Blend some soft creamy yogurt into the mixture, and it will be the perfect desert for your young one.
- Guacamole: Avocado is synonymous with guacamole, and why shouldn’t your child enjoy his own version of it when you are so fond of the dish. For your baby’s guacamole, mash up an avocado and flavour it with seasonings like garlic powder, crushed basil and wheat germ or cereal. Top it off with a dash of lime juice if your child is over a year old. Else simply mash the lot together, and it is ready to serve.
- Avocado on toast: Mash half an avocado and spread it on a freshly toasted slice of bread. Moisten the bread with few drops of milk and serve it to your child to enjoy.
- Avocado and pasta: Mix mashed avocado with few teaspoons of milk to form a paste. Stir this mix into freshly cooked pasta and serve.
- Avocado chicken mix: Blend well-cooked pieces of chicken with half an avocado till smooth.Serve it as such or spread it on toast for a quick and easy snack.
Conclusion – Babies first solid food are important milestones in their lives. Avocados can become one delicious option in their earliest months of solid food and ensure they have a lifetime of good eating habits.