Lentils for Babies – Benefits and Recipes

Lentils (Dal) for Babies - Benefits and Recipes

When you plan to introduce solid food to your baby, you’d obviously give healthy and nutritious foods like fruit or vegetable purees. But have you considered giving dal to your baby? Many people suggest that moong dal is good for babies. It tends to be a popular choice among parents because of the ease of preparation and also because of the nutrition it provides. Should you give dal to your baby? Read on to find out!

When Can Infants Eat Lentils?

The best age to introduce your baby to the world of lentils is somewhere between 9 and 11 months. Some parents prefer starting it off as early as 6 months but that usually results in discomfort to the baby. Lentils tend to contain a lot of protein and fibres, which the baby’s stomach is not prepared to digest at such a young age. It is also better if you restrict the introduction of solids to one food item at a time so that your child does not get overwhelmed when so many different tastes are introduced, and you can keep a good eye on how his body responds to each one of them.

Nutritional Facts of Lentils

Giving masoor dal to babies along with other lentils can be very beneficial for your baby. A half a cup of lentils that have been boiled and cooked plainly consist of the nutrients given below.

Description Quantity (per 100 g)
Protein 25.8 g
Sugar 2 g
Fibre 30.5 g
Carbohydrates 60 g
Sodium 6 mg
Energy 353 calories
Folate 479 mcg
Iron 7.5 mg

Source: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4337/2

Health Benefits of Lentils for Babies

Feeding lentils to your baby has its own share of benefits that support his physical development as well as his general well-being.

1. Helps in the Development

Folate is one of the key nutrients that pregnant mothers are strongly advised to include in their diet as it supports the neurological development of the foetus. Lentils are a good source of folate. Even after delivery, folate is highly essential for a baby’s growth since it works with the bodily processes to create new cells and enhance the internal development of various regions.

2. Strengthens the Immune System

A strong immune system can protect the baby from harmful infections and ensure his healthy development.Your can include lentils in your baby’s diet to strengthen his immune system. Lentils are also a good source of zinc, which improves the immunity of the baby.

3. Provides Energy

Half a cup of lentils can provide nearly 120 calories. Combined with that, the presence of iron within them is substantial, too. As a baby crosses the 6-month mark, a lot of iron reserves in his body are used up in the rapid pace of development, which gives rise to the need of external iron sources to replenish them. Lentils work wonders in this regard, bringing back revitalizing energy for the body and making sure the baby stays active.

Which Types of Lentils Are Best for Babies?

It can get difficult to decide which dal is good for babies since lentils come in a wide variety. Find out which lentils you should choose for your little one.

  • Red lentils are great for soups and purees since they have low fibre content in them. Red lentils are smooth and can be prepared quickly.
  • For older babies, green lentils are a good option. However, it is suggested that you don’t opt for canned lentils since these can easily cause gas problems in babies.Red lentils in a spoon

How to Choose Lentils

Once you buy lentils, make sure you check them for any stones or dirt in them. Following that, wash them thoroughly under running water.

How to Cook Lentils for Infants

Preparing lentils for baby is a simple process and takes very less time.

  • It is not necessary to soak lentils overnight but it can make it easy to cook them.
  • Pressure cook the lentils for three whistles. Turn off the flame once done and let it cool. Mash the lentils well before giving it to your baby.

Can Lentils Cause Gas in Babies?

Lentils do have complex sugars that can be difficult to digest and may result in gases. However, some babies do manage to digest them well and have no such issues.

Lentil Recipes That You Can Try

There are some tasty food recipes that you can prepare using lentils that will be liked by your baby giving him all the healthiness he needs from them.

1. Lentil and Apricot Soup

Lentil and apricot soup is one of the best dal soups for babies. Here is how you can make it.

Lentils and apricot soup

Ingredients 

  • Chopped apricots – 1 cup
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Chopped onion – 1
  • Diced carrot – 1
  • Red lentils (cooked) – 1 cup
  • Olive oil – 1 tbsp
  • Water

How To Make 

  • Heat some oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds, chopped carrots, and onions to it, and sauté on a low flame for about 10 minutes.
  • Follow up with cooked lentils and considerable water. Later, simmer it and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Once done, let it cool. Transfer it to a blender and run it all the way until it forms a smooth soupy texture. Add in the apricots at this stage, blend once more, then pour it in a bowl to serve.

2. Lentil Curry

As your baby begins to enjoy the solid texture and taste of lentils, you can introduce him to a better version with this curry.

Ingredients 

  • Lentils – 1 cup
  • Tofu cubes – 1 cup
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Cloves – 4-5
  • Garlic paste – 1 tsp
  • Diced carrot – 1
  • Chopped onion – 1
  • Turmeric – 1 tsp

How To Make 

  • Cook lentils in a pressure cooker for up to 3 whistles.
  • Heat some oil in a pan, add the cloves, garlic paste, and other vegetables, and sauté them well. Once done, add the tofu cubes and give it a nice stir.
  • Next, add lentils and a pinch of turmeric.
  • Stir this mixture together till it gets a good curry-like consistency.

3. Lentil Soup With Sweet Potatoes

The taste of sweet potatoes can make it easier for your little one to accept lentils and start wanting more of it right away.

Sweet potatoes and lentil soup

Ingredients 

  • Lentils (toor dal) – 1 cup
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Diced sweet potato – 1
  • Water as required

How to Make 

  • Heat some oil in a pressure cooker, add cumin seeds and once they change colour, add lentils and sweet potatoes and sauté well. Add water and close the lid and let it cook.
  • Once cooked, mash the ingredients or blend to form a soupy mixture.
  • Strain using a sieve and feed soup to your baby.

4. Lentils and Vegetable Puree

Babies can swallow lentils and vegetable puree easily and it will also be light on their stomach.

Ingredients 

  • Vegetable broth – 1 cup
  • Lentils (cooked) – 1 cup
  • Chopped onion – 1
  • Diced sweet potato – 1
  • Chopped tomato – 1
  • Green peas (boiled) – 1 cup
  • Oil – 1 tbsp

How To Make 

  • Heat some oil in a pan and add the onions, and sauté well. Follow up with tomatoes and cook them for a few minutes. Add the broth to this mix and cover it with a lid.
  • Let it cook on a low flame for about 10 minutes. Add the peas, sweet potatoes, and lentils and mix well.
  • Turn off the flame and let it cool.
  • Next, transfer it to a blender and blend until smooth to form a puree.

Making lentils for baby is just as easy as it is for them to digest. Being introduced to solids for the first time is not easy on a baby’s stomach but you can introduce lentils when your little one turns 9 months or above. Within no time, your baby will be open to trying out other food items too.

Also Read: Broccoli for Infants – Benefits and Recipes