Giving Mushroom to Babies – Benefits and Recipes

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Mushrooms

Although you will find these in the produce section of the supermarket, tucked away somewhere between the vegetables and fruits, mushrooms are neither! They are a fungus. They do not belong in the plant kingdom or the animal kingdom.

Can you Give Mushrooms to a Baby?

There are no regulations in existence or guidelines as to whether you should or shouldn’t feed babies mushrooms.

At what Age can a Baby Eat Mushrooms?

Though there are differing opinions on this, there are broad, 2 schools of thought on this. One says introducing mushrooms to babies should be put off until they are at least 10 months or older. The other camp believes 6months is old enough for mushrooms.

Either way, everyone agrees that mushrooms should be cooked, and cooked well, before being served to babies as the bacteria contained in them will be broken down during the cooking process.

Nutritional Value of Mushrooms

Mushrooms

Nutrient Amount (per 1 cup or 78 grams)
Calories 15.4
Protein 2.2 grams
Dietary Fibre .7 grams
Potassium 223 mg
Phosphorous 60.2 mg
Omega-6 Fatty Acids 97.3 mg
Sugars 1.2 grams

Benefits of Mushroom for Babies

The health benefits of consuming mushrooms are as unique in its diversity as the nature of the food itself.

1. Boosting Liver health

Mushrooms are one of those rare foods that help detoxification of the liver. They protect the liver from damage. This is particularly helpful for babies and young children as they are more susceptible to jaundice and hepatitis B, which are diseases that cause liver damage.

2. Vitamin D

Most vegetarian diets do not contain adequate amounts of Vitamin D. Vitamin D can be obtained from dairy products and from sunshine. However, living under the Indian sun, most parents avoid exposing their babies to sunshine unless it is the winter.

3. Iron

While non-vegetarian food contains ample iron, it is mostly green leafy vegetables and nuts that provide iron in a vegetarian diet. Iron is an essential component in haemoglobin that is found in red blood cells and is required in the creation of new blood cells.

4. Boosting the Immune System

Mushrooms contain biochemicals that strengthen the immune system. As a baby’s immunological health wanes after three months of age (immunity transferred by the mother lasts about 3 months) modulating the immune system helps a baby stay healthy and recover from ailments quicker.

5. Anti-oxidants

Anti-oxidants help rid the body of “free radicals” that are formed as a by-product during the process of normal metabolism. Free-radicals can cause damage to cells and DNA. Another factor is that anti-oxidants consumed as supplements cannot be used efficiently by the body as it can, anti-oxidants naturally occurring in foods.

Tips to Choose the Right Mushrooms

  • Always buy fresh mushrooms. If buying packed mushrooms from a store, pick ones that were delivered the same day.
  • Good mushrooms are dry and do not have cracks.
  • The “gills” (the underside of the cap) should be brown or pinkish. Do not pick one with black gills.
  • If they are not packed in plastic, you should be able to smell them. There should be little to no smell. If it smells musty, do not pick it.
  • Avoid canned mushrooms as it will contain preservatives.

How to Store and Prepare Mushroom?

Mushrooms can be stored safely for up to a week in a refrigerator.

Store them in a paper bag in the fridge or on a tray with a paper towel over it. Do not keep them in an air-tight plastic bag.

When preparing mushrooms, do not soak them in water, as it will lose its flavour. Simply rinse it off quickly or even better, wipe with a damp cloth.

Allergy Risk of Mushrooms for Infant

As with most foods, there is a small possibility of allergy to mushrooms. The population that is allergic to mushrooms is not clearly known but is guessed at around 1%.

However, raw mushrooms could release spores, triggering a pollen allergy that affects breathing. This type of allergy is much more common.

Delicious Recipes with Mushrooms for your Baby

Since mushrooms are usually a side dish, one may be at a loss as to how it could be incorporated in a baby’s menu.

1. Puree

Mushroom puree

A fantastic way to introduce mushroom into a baby’s diet is mushroom puree for baby.

What You Will Need 

  • Button Mushrooms (finely chopped) – 300gms
  • Onion (finely chopped) – 1 small
  • Potatoes (diced) – 150gms
  • Cream Cheese – 50gms
  • Butter
  • Water – 3/4th Cup

Steps to Prepare 

  • In a hot pan, heat some butter and sauté the onions and mushrooms in it until transparent. (medium flame)
  • Add the water and the potatoes to this and cook further, for about 0 minutes.
  • Once cooked, blend the mixture in a mixer.
  • Add the cream cheese and blend once more.

2. Butter Mushroom

Butter mushroom

You can lower the amounts of garlic, black pepper, herbs and salt as required for your baby’s palette.

What You Will Need

  • Button Mushrooms (chopped) – 200gms
  • Garlic (chopped) – 10gms
  • Butter – 2 tablespoons
  • Herbs (dried or fresh coriander, parsley, basil or oregano) – 1 teaspoon (dried) or 2 teaspoons (fresh finely chopped)
  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon
  • Salt – to taste

Steps to Prepare

  • On a low flame, heat the butter and cook the garlic in it.
  • When the aroma of garlic fades, add the chopped mushrooms and continue sautéing.
  • The mushrooms release a lot of water. Cook till the water dries, but the mushrooms are still moist.
  • Now mix the black pepper, herbs, and salt in and turn off the flame.

This dish can be eaten with rotis, chapattis, plain rice, etc. Note that if you use salted butter in the preparation, add less salt in the last step.

3. Mushroom Pulao

Mushroom pulao

A pulao is a great item into which one can incorporate cooking mushrooms for babies.

What You Will Need 

  • Button Mushrooms (chopped) – 200gms
  • Oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Basmati Rice – 200gms
  • Onion (chopped) – 1 large
  • Water – 1.75cups
  • Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon
  • Garlic – 10gms
  • Ginger – 10gms
  • Green Chilli – 1
  • Spices ( ½ teaspoon cumin, 1-inch cinnamon, 2 cardamom, 2 cloves, 2 bay leaf)

Steps to Prepare

  • Wash the rice and then proceed to soak it for half an hour.
  • In a pressure cooker, heat the oil and cook the spices in it.
  • As the spices begin crackling, add the chopped onions and sauté till it gets a golden hue.
  • Crush and mix the garlic, ginger and green chili and mix it into the onions.
  • Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes.
  • Now add the soaked and dried rice and mix it in with the rest.
  • Add the water and the lemon juice and salt to taste.
  • Close the lid and cook for 2-3 whistles.

Your mushroom pulao is done! Optionally, you can garnish with coriander leaves.

Also Read: 

Health Benefits of Tomatoes for Babies
Is Brown Rice Good for Infants
Can I Give My Baby Cauliflower
Is Sabudana Healthy for Babies

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