Introducing Avocado to Babies: When, Why & How
- Video: Introducing Avocado to Babies – When, Why and How?
- What Is Avocado Fruit?
- Nutritional Value of Avocado
- Is Avocado Good for Infants?
- When Can You Introduce Avocado to Your Baby?
- Health Benefits of Avocado for Infants
- How to Feed Avocado to Your Baby
- Tips for Feeding Avocado to Your Baby
- Quick and Short Avocado Recipes for Babies and Toddlers
It is a thrilling and challenging time for mothers when their 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 first trials with solids. As parents, we always want to give our babies the best. Hence, it is important to select 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 the child 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. So, when can you introduce avocados to your little one? Read on to know more.
Video: Introducing Avocado to Babies – When, Why and How?
What Is Avocado Fruit?
Avocado is a dense fruit that is in high demand for its health benefits. Nowadays, it is very easy to find this fruit in supermarkets. It resembles a large berry and has a pulpy mass on the inside, which gives it its creamy texture and rich 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 infants.
There are many nutrients in avocado that make it a wholesome wonder food. It has a high fat content and is dense in vitamins as well as anti-oxidants. Hence, it is considered a healthy food option for both children and adults. Let’s take a look at its nutritional value.
Nutritional Value of Avocado
The fruit is not only tasty because of its rich, creamy texture, but is also healthy because it is nutrient-dense. 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. It is considered a rich fruit, and its versatility adapts to many flavours. Although it 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 well aware of the health and nutritional benefits of avocado. So, it often finds its way into our daily diet. However, when your little baby reaches out to taste this fruit, you may wonder if babies can eat it. The answer is yes! The fruit provides a healthy dose of nutrients (mentioned above) and is highly recommended in the diet of infants and growing children.
There has been some confusion regarding the safety of avocados for very young children, though, considering it is fatty food. The fact remains that although avocados are laden with fats, these are all healthy fats, which are essential for growing kids.
Also, the taste and the texture of this fruit make it a great choice for a balanced, healthy diet for infants as young as 4-6 months. This fruit can easily be mashed and served alone or in combination with other foods. The taste is not overpowering, and it adapts to different flavours easily and appeases young taste buds.
When Can You Introduce Avocado to Your Baby?
Infants undergo a lot of physical and mental growth in the first year of their life. Avocados can be introduced as one of the first foods for your baby as its nutritional value contributes to the development of the brain, too. Hence, you can introduce the fruit as early as when your child is 4 to 6 months old, and make it a regular component of his diet. Begin with avocado puree, which can either be bought from the baby food section of a supermarket or made at home. Homemade avocado baby food is a better bet as it is fresh and healthier. Your baby will then gain heath benefits which we shall talk about now.
Health Benefits of Avocado for Infants
Avocado has the following health benefits for infants.
- Of the different health benefits of avocados, the most important one is that it contains a large quantity of fats that aid mental and physical growth in babies. Growing children need fat for their brain to develop properly. Avocado offers healthy fats that can fulfil this need. The mono-unsaturated 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 overall development. Different vitamins are available in abundance in this fruit, 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.
- The nutrients aid in the development of the central nervous system and ensures normal growth.
- This fruit is free from sodium and cholesterol, too. So, it won’t add to health issues such as high blood pressure and heart diseases in your little one’s adulthood.
- Avocado has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties and can protect your child from common health conditions and strengthens the immune system. It also promotes restoration of the body to health, through correction of skin rashes, cuts and wounds.
- Avocado contains plenty of anti-oxidants that control the production of free radicals in the body. This property neutralises toxins that make their way into the baby’s body.
- Avocado consumption aids 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.
With so many health benefits, avocado cannot be left out from your child’s diet. If you’ve been wondering how you can feed this healthy fruit to your little one, the next section of this article should prove to be helpful.
How to Feed Avocado to Your Baby
It is not always easy to introduce new foods to your little one. Here are some pointers that will help you introduce this healthy fruit to your baby and then continue having it on his diet plan in various other forms.
- The best way to introduce the fruit is to feed your baby avocado puree/mash. The recipe for avocado mash is given in the article below. You can add some breast milk (or cow’s milk if you’ve introduced it) to adjust the consistency of the puree.
- Although avocado presents no choking hazards, it is important that you puree it for very young children. Serve it as a soft mash when your child has no teeth. You can slowly give it with more textured pieces once your child is a little older. After your little one begins to chew his food, introduce it as small cubes that he can easily disintegrate and swallow.
- Diced avocado is great finger food for babies. It is not messy and is easy for children to eat and digest. Diced avocado can be another option for food on the go if you store it properly to prevent oxidation
Feeding babies is easier said than done. Read on for some tips and recipes that can make your life easier when introducing avocado into your child’s diet.
Tips for Feeding Avocado to Your Baby
One advantage of using the avocado fruit as one of the first baby foods is that the fruit is resilient to pesticides and chemicals used during crop cultivation. It is, therefore, considered a safe food for your child, even when it isn’t organically cultivated. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when choosing, storing, and feeding this healthy fruit to your munchkin.
- When choosing avocados for your baby, it is best to identify the right fruit. Avocados are at their best when the colour is dark green and have a bumpy texture. If properly ripened, the cut avocado should be green with a yellow colour around the pit.
- Remember that the 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 add a 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.
- Avocados can be eaten raw as well. Simply cut the fruit, 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. When you want to feed your baby frozen avocado, allow it to thaw and then mash it up. You can also heat it a little if your child prefers lukewarm food.
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, especially if your baby isn’t too keen on the taste of avocado by itself.
Aromatic ingredients like garlic, cream cheese, pepper, basil, and other herbs gel well with avocado puree. You can use them to add some interesting flavours once your baby is a little older. Avocado can also be mixed with yoghurt and whole milk to adjust the consistency and introduce dairy into his diet in a subtle way.
Here are some quick and easy avocado recipes for children.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Savoury Avocado
The fruit works extremely well with savoury flavours and citrus fruit juices. Mix it with aromatic dried herbs like basil, pepper, mint, or garlic, and 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 ensures the recipe is healthier. The dish can also also be stored a few days without discolouration. This dish is best for children over a year old.
4. Creamy Avocado With Yoghurt
Just like avocado, yoghurt is a superfood for babies, and you should try to include it in your child’s diet. One way to do this is to make a puree by mashing diced avocado into thick yoghurt. 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. This recipe is perfect for kids over 7 months of age.
5. Avocado With Milk
The easiest way to soften an avocado and make it easy to consume is by adding some milk. Simply mash the avocado and blend it with the required quantity of breast milk or cow’s milk to make a cereal-like or porridge-like dish that is easy for your child to consume with a spoon.
6. 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. Mash avocado cubes with steamed pears and ripe bananas to a smooth consistency, or keep it at the desired texture with few chunky bits to chew on. Blend some soft creamy yoghurt into the mixture, and it will be the perfect dessert for your young one.
Avocado is synonymous with guacamole. Then, 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.
8. 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.
9. Avocado and Pasta
Mix mashed avocado with few teaspoons of milk (or breast milk) to form a paste. Stir this mix into freshly cooked pasta and serve.
10. 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.
Introduction to solids is an important milestone for babies. Avocados, with its variety of health benefits, can become one delicious option during infancy to bring about healthy growth and development in your child. We hope this information was useful. Although usually there is no harm in introducing this fruit to infants, if you want to, you may check with a paediatrician for a better way to feed this fruit to your little one. Begin slow and build his acceptance gradually, and your munchkin will reap the benefits of this fruit forever.