Every mother looks forward to the time when her little one is ready for solid food. But with that excitement comes a lot of anticipation about what to feed them. Dry fruits are known for their dense nutritional profile. This is why many mothers wonder if they can give dry fruits to babies.
Dry fruits are basically fruits that have been drained of their water content, making them completely dehydrated. They are known to be incredibly nutritious, along with having many benefits like boosting the immune system.
But is it safe to give dry fruits to babies? What are the benefits and risks? What are the things you need to do before giving dry fruits to babies? And when exactly can you give it to them? These are questions that are answered in this article.
Are Dried Fruits And Nuts Safe For Babies?
Dry fruits and nuts are not only safe but also incredibly beneficial for babies. They are full of important nutrients that will aid in your little one’s growth and development. Dry fruits are rich sources of concentrated vitamins, minerals, proteins, and essential fats. They can provide a good number of calories that your baby needs for weight gain and can easily help you combat the reasons you feel your baby is always hungry.
Giving these dry fruits to babies after soaking them in either milk or water will make it easier for them to eat. It will also help them absorb the nutrients better.
However, remember that it is fairly common for children to develop an allergy to nuts. Therefore, introducing nuts to your baby’s diet should be a careful process. If there is a family history of nut allergies, it is best to wait until the child is 3 years old to feed them nuts.
On the other hand, it is not that common for kids to be allergic to dry fruits if the parents can have them safely. So, they are safer to introduce at an earlier age.
When Can I Give Dry Fruits To My Baby
Introducing any new food to your baby’s diet should be a slow and careful process. That being said, dry fruits are not an ideal first food for a baby who has just started eating solid food. So, you should give it to them only when they are ready and adjusted to eating solids.
You should try to not give your little one any dry fruits or nuts before they are at least a year old. The earliest you can give, is about by the age of 10 months. By this time, they would be used to eating some other solid foods.
Remember to use the three-day rule, to ensure that the baby does not have any dry fruit or nut allergy. And if you notice any sign of intolerance or allergy, immediately stop giving dry fruits to your baby.
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Are Dried Fruits Good For Babies?
As already mentioned above, dry fruits and nuts are full of useful nutrients. So, it goes without saying that eating dry fruits and nuts can be very beneficial for the baby. They help with bone health and also develop the muscles. But how exactly do dry fruits help babies?
Here are a few benefits of dry fruits for babies.
1. Dry fruits prevent anaemia in babies
Anaemia is a condition that often afflicts children, especially babies who are still being breastfed. It is caused by a lack of iron in their diet and results in having a lower amount of haemoglobin. Feeding dry fruits to babies prevents this because dry fruits are rich sources of iron.
Consuming dry fruits increases the haemoglobin levels in your blood, thereby neutralizing the risk of anaemia.
2. Help to keep baby energetic and healthy
Dry fruits are full of essential micronutrients. These nutrients will both provide energy, and keep the baby healthy. Some of the nutrients that keep the baby functioning healthy that are present in dry fruits are:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B3
Some of the nutrients present in dry fruits that provide energy are:
- Dietary Fiber
3. Dry fruits are great for boosting immunity
Infanthood is a time when you are very vulnerable. Babies do not have the best immune system in the world and are more prone to get infected. So, the first two or so years of a baby’s life is a time when you should do all you can to strengthen their immune system. Feeding dry fruit for babies is a good way to do that.
Dry fruits are rich sources of antioxidants, like selenium and carotenoids. They also have several anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in vitamin C and vitamin B-Complex. All of these properties help to boost the baby’s immunity and keep them protected from harmful diseases. They also help the organs to function properly.
4. Promote digestive health & prevent constipation
Dry fruits are full of good bacteria. These bacteria are responsible for keeping your digestive system healthy. So, feeding dry fruit to babyregularly will help your baby’s digestive system develop and function properly.
In addition, dry fruits also contain a lot of dietary fiber, which will help prevent constipation. It promotes proper bowel movements and helps digestion.
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5. Promote bone, eye, and brain development
As mentioned above, dry fruits are full of important nutrients. Some of these nutrients are vitamin A, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. They are present in abundance and play a big role in the overall growth and development of the baby.
Vitamin A is crucial for the maintenance of the health of the eyes and helps your baby have perfect vision. Calcium is important for the healthy development and strengthening of bones and teeth. Omega-3 fatty acids are incredibly useful for the brain development of the baby.
Consuming these nutrients on a regular basis, during a time when the baby is reaching new milestones rapidly, can be very beneficial to their growth and development, both mentally and physically.
How Do You Feed Dry Fruits To Babies?
Some of the most famous dry fruits are given below. Let us take a look at how you can feed them to your baby.
Raisins for babies
Age: The best time to introduce raisins to your baby would be after they are proficient at chewing. So, most babies can eat raisins at about twelve months.
Method: There are several ways to give raisins to a baby. You can cut it into smaller pieces to make it easier to chew. You can mash it up and mix it with some other food the baby eats, like yogurt. You can also soak it in warm water to soften it.
Remember to use the three-day rule to ensure they can safely eat raisins.
Quantity: Raisins have a high amount of sugar. So, you should practice moderation when giving raisins to your baby. Start with about 10 gm of raisins a day. You can increase the amount later on.
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Cashews for babies
Age: Cashews are choking hazards. So, wait until the child is 2 or 3 years old before giving them whole or cut cashews. However, they can eat finely ground cashews as soon as 12 months.
Method: You can buy or make cashew butter, and mix it with milk or yogurt to introduce it to them. You can also grind it and sprinkle it over their food.
Quantity: About one teaspoon of ground cashew is sufficient for a baby of 12 months.
Walnut for babies
Age: You can introduce walnuts to your baby when they are a year old.
Method: You can grind it or turn it into a paste before giving it to your baby, to prevent choking.
Quantity: Start with a spoonful. You can work your way up to a handful of walnuts by the time your baby is four years old.
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Almonds for babies
Age: The best time to introduce almonds to your baby is after they are 12 months old.
Method: You can mix some almond butter with your baby’s cereal or yogurt. You can also sprinkle ground almonds on your baby’s food.
Quantity: Start with a teaspoon or two of the paste or powder. You can slowly increase the amount later on.
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Dates for babies
Age: Dates have a lot of sugar, and are also very sticky. So, you should wait until the child is about 18 months old before giving them dates.
Method: You should first pit the dates. Then, you can run it through a food processor after soaking it in warm water, or mince it up, or cut it into tiny pieces. It is delicious food for the baby, even if it is mixed with something else. It is also one of the best dry fruits for babies in the summer season.
Quantity: Start with just one date each day. You can slowly increase the amount to two or three per day.
What is the right time of the day to give dried fruits and nuts to children?
Dry fruits and nuts are rich sources of dietary fiber. This means that consuming them will make the baby feel full. So, it is best to not give nuts and dry fruits to babies right before bedtime. Instead, you can give it to them at mid-morning, or sometime in the evening. Giving it to them between meals will make them serve as snacks to satiate your baby’s hunger pangs.
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Some Health Risks And Precautions Associated With Dry Fruits For Babies
Despite being so healthy and beneficial, there are some risks associated with dry fruits for babies, as well as some precautions you can take to avoid them.
1. Dry fruits can be a choking hazard for kids
A baby that young will have some trouble chewing properly before swallowing their food. This means that dry fruits and nuts are often choking hazards. This is why you have to wait until the child has experience chewing and is well adjusted to solid food, before feeding them dry fruits.
If the child is very young, you can turn it into a puree, or cook and mash it, in order to make it softer and easier to eat. If the baby is a little older, you can cut the dry fruit into smaller pieces. This will prevent them from choking on it.
2. Can cause irritation
Sometimes, dry fruits like almonds can cause irritation to the little one’s throat. This is easily prevented by peeling the skin of the almond, as that is where the irritant is present.
3. Tooth decay
Dried fruits are often coated with sugar or sugar syrup. Giving these dried fruits regularly to babies can cause tooth decay and cavities. You can prevent this by ensuring that the dried fruits you are buying are sugar-free and are not coated in anything.
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As mentioned above, dry fruits are rich in dietary fiber. While this is helpful in proper amounts and can promote digestion, it can cause harm if consumed in large amounts. It can cause digestive issues such as gas, bloating, and even diarrhea.
So, make sure you practice moderation when feeding dry fruits to babies.
5. Dry fruits can cause allergies in children
Dry fruits are full of natural sugar known as fructose. This is present in fresh fruit as well. Some babies are intolerant to this sugar and should avoid it completely.
Dried fruits are also often preserved using sulfites. They help to preserve the color of those dry fruits. However, they can sometimes cause allergic reactions in babies. Buying only organic dried fruits will nullify this risk.
Dry Fruit Powder For Babies – How To Prepare And Feed
Nuts and dry fruits are incredibly beneficial for babies, but it can sometimes be a hassle to feed them. And if your little one is not yet good at chewing properly, you may be worried about introducing dry fruits to them. However, giving dry fruits to babies as chewable food is not the only way you can feed it to them.
Another common way mothers give dry fruits to their little ones is by making a dry fruit powder. You can mix this powder with milk and feed it to your baby. There are many dry fruits powder with milk benefits, such as combining the nutrition of milk with the nutrition of dry fruits. You can feed it to your baby with their morning cereal, or even feed it to them right before bedtime.
There isn’t a “one for all” method of preparation for dry fruit powder. You can experiment with various ingredients until you get the perfect combo. However, here is one recipe, so that you have something to work off of.
- Almonds – 100 gm, peeled
- Cashew – 100 gm
- Pistachio – 100 gm
- Nutmeg – 1 tsp, grated
- Saffron strands – half tsp
- Turmeric powder – half tsp
- First, dry roast the almonds, cashews, and pistachios
- Then, heat the saffron strands in a pan until they turn into a slightly darker colour
- Put all the dry roasted nuts into a blender and turn them into powder. Add the grated nutmeg and the turmeric powder and blend it again. Make sure you do not use the blender for a long-time as dry fruits can produce oil
Your dry fruit powder is done! You can put it in an airtight container and use it safely for a month. If you are at home, remember to store it in the fridge. Also, remember that the powder will not be dry. Since these dried fruits can produce oil, the texture of the powder will be a little sticky.
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How to use the dry fruits powder?
As with any new food, it is important to start slow, and then increase the amount and frequency. So, try the 3-day rule. On the first day, put one-fourth of a teaspoon of dry fruit powder in the baby’s porridge or milk. Give them the same amount the next day, too. The third time, give them half a teaspoon.
This will help you monitor them for any allergic reaction. If you notice such a reaction, cease giving them the powder immediately.
After they are adjusted to the dry fruit powder, you can add a teaspoon to hot or cold milk. You can also add it when you make porridge, rotis, and pancakes, as long as they are old enough to eat those. You can even use it to make dry fruits kheer for babies.
Why Is Dry Fruit Powder A Super Food For Babies?
Every ingredient used in the making of dry fruit powder is loaded with nutrients that are essential for your baby’s growth and development. They all contribute to the proper functioning of the body. Let us take a look at the benefits of each individual ingredient.
Almonds are rich sources of several vitamins and minerals, especially phosphorous. They boost your immunity and aid in the development of the brain. They have many anti-inflammatory properties.
Pistachios are full of dietary fiber, so it is great for digestion. It can also act as an anti-oxidant. In addition, pistachios are also very good for healthy skin.
Cashews are full of important minerals like calcium, potassium, copper, magnesium, and zinc. It helps prevent anemia and also boosts your immunity. It aids in the growth and development of bones, muscles, and nerves.
Nutmeg can aid in the digestion process and also provide a better night’s sleep. It is also good for your skin.
Saffron is a rich source of various nutrients such as iron, vitamin C, and magnesium.
Turmeric has many anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it a good remedy for cold and cough. It also can act as an antiseptic.
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Infanthood is a time when the baby needs as many nutrients as they can get. It is a time of rapid growth and development. Dry fruits are an excellent way to help your baby out during this time. It is full of important nutrients and can be very beneficial for the baby’s development.
However, there are some risks to dry fruits for babies. So, make sure you take the proper precautions and introduce the new foods slowly and patiently. As long as you do that, your baby can experience a myriad of benefits.