Sweet Potato for Baby – Benefits and Recipes

Sweet Potatoes Mashed

The food that a child eats will have a huge impact on his dietary habits when he grows up. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children are getting proper nutrients required for their age. However, sometimes, it can be very difficult to manage it as children are generally fussy eaters. To deal with fussy eaters, picking the right foods and cooking them in a way that makes the food delicious becomes very important. One such food is sweet potatoes. ‘Sweet potatoes’ are an amazing food to introduce to your child when you introduce solids to them.

Is Sweet Potato Good for Babies?

Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious, not to mention delicious, making them the perfect first food for your baby. They have a lovely creamy texture which is generally liked by the babies.

When Can You Start Giving Sweet Potato to Your Baby?

You can start giving sweet potatoes to your baby from the age of six months. Introduce it to your baby in the form of a puree, so it is easier for her to eat. By around eight months, she will be able to eat it in the mashed and lumpy form or with rice or oats.

Nutritional Value of Sweet Potato

Nutrient Amount per 100 grams
Proteins 1.6 grams
Omega 6 .01 grams
Fibre 3 grams
Carbohydrates 20.1 grams
Calories 86

Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/sweet-potatoes#section1

Sweet Potato Benefits for Babies

Sweet potatoes have a lot of health benefits. Here are some that your baby will gain:

1. Prevents and Resolves Constipation

Being a good source of fibre, sweet potato can prevent constipation in your baby and will help in maintaining a healthy dietary tract.

2. Beta-Carotene and Vitamin A

Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A, which improves eyesight. Sweet potatoes also have high amounts of beta-carotene and more than 100% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A is present in them.

3. Immunity Booster

Sweet potatoes have a lot of Vitamin C and E, which aid in strengthening your baby’s immunity system, helping her fight common cold or infections that infants can be prone to catching. It is also very good for her skin.

4. Good Calories

It is a healthy food that will help weight gain in children due to its high-calorie levels. Infants need to put on weight, and sweet potatoes are the perfect way for you to help your child’s physical development.

5. Prevents Anaemia

It is loaded with calcium and iron, both of which are vital for growth in babies and children. Iron is also very beneficial in the prevention of anaemia.

Can Sweet Potatoes Cause Allergies in Babies?

Side effects that may happen from eating sweet potatoes are quite low when compared to other vegetables like spinach and carrots. They don’t generally cause allergic reactions in babies, and this is why sweet potatoes are highly recommended to wean your baby onto sweet potato puree baby food. However, there are chances that your baby may be allergic to sweet potatoes, so look out for any signs of vomiting, rashes, and diarrhoea. They are also prone to developing gas if it doesn’t agree with them and it may cause them to spit it up.

A baby girl eating mashed sweet potatoes

How to Select and Store Sweet Potatoes?

Here are a few tips on the best ways to select and store sweet potatoes:

1. Selecting Sweet Potatoes

It is always best to buy vegetables that have been grown organically as this means you do not have to worry about pesticides being present on the potatoes. The sweet potatoes should be medium sized and have firm and smooth skin. Avoid picking the ones that have soft or brown spots, holes or any liquid oozing from them as they may be contaminated. Remember, the deeper the colour of the potato, the richer it is in antioxidants.

2. Storing Sweet Potatoes

It is not necessary that sweet potatoes should be kept in the refrigerator; they can be stored at room temperature. If being stored at room temperature, then it should be used within a week. If you store it in a cool, dark place, like a cellar or a dark and cool pantry, then you can keep them for up to a month. It is never advised to keep them for longer than that.

How to Cook Sweet Potatoes for Babies?

One of the most important things to do when cooking for your baby is to wash the fruits and vegetables thoroughly before peeling or cutting into them. Make sure you remove the skin of the sweet potato to ensure that it has a soft and creamy texture. There are many cooking techniques that can be used to prepare sweet potatoes for your baby. Here is how to make sweet potato baby food:

  • Baking: Heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Prick the sweet potatoes and place them on a prepared baking tray. Bake for 45 minutes, cool, and peel the skin.
  • Boiling: You can peel sweet potatoes, cut them, and then boil.
  • Pressure Cooked: They can be peeled and chopped and pressure cooked till soft.
  • Steamed: Peel and cut the potatoes and steam them using a steamer until they are soft.
  • Microwave: After peeling, cut the potatoes into small pieces and poke holes all over. Then, put them in the microwave in the ‘high’ setting for about 10 minutes.

Quick Sweet Potato Recipes for Babies

Now that we have seen the different techniques used for cooking sweet potatoes, we can look at a few simple recipes to make your baby’s food taste even better:

1. Sweet Potato and Carrot Puree

Mixed with carrots, this dish can help improve eyesight because of the Vitamin A present.

Sweet potato and carrot puree

What You Will Need:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Water/Vegetable stock
  • Carrots

How to Cook:

  • Grate the carrots and cut the sweet potatoes into small pieces.
  • Cook them together in a saucepan till they turn soft.
  • Put this mixture in a blender once cooled and blended.
  • Add the water or the vegetable stock to thin it as per your preference.

2. Sweet Potato Mash

Mash sweet potatoes to help your baby swallow the food easily.

What You Will Need:

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Water/Vegetable Stock

How to Cook:

  • Prepare the potatoes by either baking or steaming.
  • Take a masher and start mashing the potatoes, using water/stock as needed.
  • Do not thin it out or mash it too much as it should have a few lumps in it. You now have a delicious sweet potato mash for babies.

3. Sweet Potato and Chicken Soup

This dish has a nutritious broth loaded with protein and helps in the development of your baby’s body.

What You Will Need:

  • 100gm minced chicken
  • Five cups of water
  • One cup cooked sweet potato

How to Cook:

  • Cook the chicken in a pot with some water until it is very soft.
  • Put the cooked potatoes into a blender and add the chicken and broth.
  • Blend until the desired thickness is achieved. If you want to dilute the soup, add some boiled water to the mixture.

4. Sweet Potato and Milk Rice

This recipe is rich in dietary fibre which helps avoid constipation.

What You Will Need:

  • One cup rice
  • Four sweet potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • Three cups water
  • One cup milk

How to Cook:

  • Add sweet potatoes and rice to a dish.
  • Add the milk and water and bring it to a boil then let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Once it is cooked well, feed it your baby.

5. Sweet Potato and Plantain Soup

Plantain has plenty of Vitamin A which helps in building the immune system of your little one.

What You Will Need:

  • One sweet potato, peeled and sliced
  • One green plantain, peeled and sliced
  • Olive Oil
  • One small onion, fine chopped
  • One garlic clove, crushed
  • Two cups chicken/vegetable stock
  • One bay leaf
  • Half cup milk

How to Cook:

  • Sauté the onions and garlic until the onions are golden and tender.
  • Add the plantain and sauté until brown.
  • Add the chicken stock and bay leaves.
  • Add the sweet potatoes and reduce the heat. Let it simmer for at least 20-25 minutes or until everything is cooked very well.
  • Let cool and then remove the bay leaf, add to a blender and blend well.
  • Return the mixture to the pan, add the milk and mix well. Simmer for ten minutes and then serve.

As we have seen, sweet potatoes are an amazing first food to give your child. It is a natural multivitamin and antioxidant and provides many benefits to your baby. Sweet potatoes are good to freeze, so these recipes can be prepared and then frozen to be used at a later date. There are many sweet potatoes baby food recipes that you can make, like a sweet potato and apple puree, sweet potatoes and peas, sweet potatoes and butternut squash and many more. So, don’t shy away from cooking it for your baby. It is tasty and healthy too!

Also Read: Benefits of Beetroot for Babies