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Eggplants serve a wallop of nutrition, and although they aren’t quite popular among kids’, they are a stellar addition to nutritious diets. The humble eggplant is rich in Vitamin A, folate, and gut-healthy fibre, all of which contribute to your baby’s growth and development. Plus they are packed with Vitamin K and calcium, which are the building blocks of strong and sturdy bones.
Here’s all you need to know about aubergines, brinjals, or eggplants.
When to Introduce Brinjal to your Baby?
Babies are usually started on solid foods gradually after six months of age. However, the ideal time to introduce eggplants is between 8 to 10 months of age since some eggplants have a bitter taste, and the bitterness may upset your child’s stomach lining. Therefore, it’s a good idea to shop for mild-tasting ones and cook or puree them well before feeding your little one.
Nutritional Value of Eggplants
Eggplants are packed with various nutrients that are essential for babies. Here are the nutrients in 1 cup of eggplants:
- Vitamin A – 36.6 IU
- Vitamin C – 1.3 mg
- Vitamin E – 0.4 mg
- Vitamin K – 2.9 mcg
- Niacin – 0.6 mcg
- Folate – 13.9 mcg
- Vitamin B6 – 0.01 mg
- Calcium – 5.9 mg
- Potassium – 122 mg
- Iron – 0.2 mg
- Magnesium – 10.9 mg
- Phosphorus – 14.8 mg
Eggplants feature trace minerals such as zinc, selenium, and copper as well.
How to Select and Store Aubergine for Infants?
Selecting and storing aubergine (eggplants) for infants is easy. Just visit your local grocery store and pick the ones that are smooth, wrinkle-free, and shiny in texture but are heavy when compared to their size. Red flags to watch out for when buying eggplants are dirt and bruises. If the colour of your eggplants isn’t vivid, it’s best to avoid buying them. Any signs of discolouration, scars, and blemishes are indicators of decay and bad produce.
You can store your eggplants and keep them fresh by refrigerating them in the freezer section. The shelf life of fresh eggplants in the freezer is 5 days, and it is best not to cut them up if you don’t plan on feeding them to your baby immediately. Cutting the eggplants before refrigerating them reduces their shelf life.
Benefits of Eggplant for Babies
The following are the benefits of eggplant for babies:
- Nutrient Powerhouse – Eggplants are known to be nutrient-dense foods for infants. One cup of cooked eggplants (82 grams) delivers up to 10% of the RDA for manganese and many other nutrients plus trace minerals to infants.
- Rich in Antioxidants – Antioxidants protect infants from damage caused by free radicals and prevent illnesses such as stroke and cancer. Eggplants are known to contain ‘anthocyanin’, and multiple studies have proven it to be effective against harmful free radicals.
- May Lower the Rate of Heart Disease – Consuming eggplants have been associated with lowered levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides. High levels of LDL cholesterol are responsible for heart diseases.
- Prevents Constipation – Eggplants can help prevent constipation as they have high fibre content.
- Promotes Satiety – Since they’re low in calories and high in fibre, they promote satiety in infants. If your baby is constantly hungry, adding some eggplants to his diet will leave him feeling full for longer.
- Very Versatile Vegetable – Eggplants can be baked, grilled, barbecued, roasted or sauteed. You can use some seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil for a burst of flavour when serving. High-fibre content in eggplants has been known to promote regular bowel movements in infants and maintain a healthy digestive system.
How to Prepare Eggplant for Babyfood?
Eggplant is a vegetable that can be combined with many dishes. Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing eggplants as baby food:
- Chop them and slice them into bite-sized pieces for easy chewing and swallowing.
- Steaming eggplants is a perfect way to serve as finger foods.
- You can give your baby pureed eggplant to make mealtimes easier.
- Bake, fry or sauté them, but make sure they turn tender before serving.
Quick Aubergine Recipes for Infants
If you’ve always wanted to add eggplants to your culinary repertoire or get your little one to eat some, here is how to make eggplant baby food coupled with recipes you can try at home.
1. Eggplant Puree
This is a basic eggplant puree recipe for babies and one of the classics among moms. If your infant is new to eggplant, he’ll love it.
How to Make
- Wash the eggplant under running water.
- Carefully peel and deseed it.
- Slice into 1-inch chunks.
- Steam the chunks in the microwave or in a pressure cooker until they turn soft and tender.
- Puree the cooked eggplants. Add a bit of water to make the consistency smooth but thin and serve it to your baby.
2. Eggplant and Cheese
Eggplant and cheese is another favourite among babies. Adding a bit of cheese to traditional eggplant recipes is a surefire way to spruce things up. Here’s how you make this recipe.
- Grated Cheese
- Olive Oil
How to Make
- Preheat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Slice the eggplant in quarters and apply olive oil on those slices.
- Sprinkle a pinch of basil powder or leaves on the eggplant slices.
- Bake them for roughly 30 minutes or until they become tender.
- Quickly remove the dish when they are almost done (after 25 minutes or so).
- Top them with cheese and return to baking for another 5 minutes.
- You can take it out of the oven and serve then, either chopped or diced as finger food or pureed.
3. Eggplant Sauté
This one’s an old-school classic too. You can get creative with eggplant sauté and incorporate in salads, sandwiches, and noodles. Here’s how you can do it.
- Chopped eggplants
- Olive Oil
- Finely chopped onions
- Garlic Powder
How to Make
- Wash those eggplants thoroughly and peel them well. After you’re done peeling, begin dicing them into cubes.
- Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions over medium heat for five minutes.
- Top with spices and the chopped eggplant and give it a good mix. Drain out the remaining olive oil, if needed.
- You can serve this dish either alone or alongside noodles, sandwiches, and salads.
If you’ve been wondering whether eggplant is good for babies, the answer is, yes. Care must be taken while serving this ingredient and mashing or pureeing are recommended ways of feeding it to babies.
Give only a small quantity of the vegetable when introducing your baby to it. Please consult your paediatrician regarding aubergine alternatives in case you note any signs of aubergine allergy in your baby during and after meals.