Avocados have become hugely popular as a superfood and for the right reasons. The pear-shaped fruit is full of poly and monounsaturated fats (good fats), vitamin C, folate, iron, and fiber, which help intestinal functions.
For most babies, it is safe to consume avocados every day though you should be mindful of the quantity of the fruit you feed them.
- Avocados are low in heavy metals, high in potassium, neutral in taste, and have a wonderful creamy texture that makes them ideal baby food. They do not require sweetening or cooking.
- Babies should be weaned on avocados for the first few feedings because it is more about exposing them to new food textures. So, start with a spoonful and see how it goes.
Most experts concur that the baby should ideally be exclusively fed breast milk until they are aged 6 months.
- After 6 months, you can gradually introduce one to two spoonfuls of mashed avocado per day into the baby’s diet.
- If the baby tolerates the avocado well, you can increase the quantity every week to about 4-6 tablespoons.
Make sure to introduce only one solid food at a time to reduce the chances of spit-ups and gastric upset in the baby. Formula-fed babies can be started with mashed avocados when they are 4-6 months old. Start with a spoonful initially and, later, increase it to about half the fruit.
At about the age of 9 months, most babies can safely eat about three-quarters of a medium avocado every day.
What nutrients do avocados contain?
|Fruits, serving, size||Avocado content|
|Total fat (grams)||4.5|
|Dietary fiber (grams)||1|
|Others||Folate, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin K|
How to select a good avocado
Select an avocado with bumpy and dark green skin with a leathery texture. The avocado should feel slightly firm to touch but have some soft spots. Make sure the avocado is not soggy or overly yielding.
A good avocado, when cut, has a buttery texture and a green pulp that is butter-yellow near the pit. Spots of gray or brown pulp indicate over-ripening and are not necessarily bad to eat.
Remember to spritz an open avocado with some lemon juice because it turns brownish when exposed to air due to oxidation.(Extra tip: The avocado seed is a storehouse of antioxidants. It can be steeped in warm water and consumed as an herbal tea by adults.)
What are some recipes you can make with avocado?
- Avocados can be introduced in baby food as a puree, with or without a dash of lemon juice. You may simply mash the avocado and feed it to the baby, a spoonful at a time.
- You can mix avocado with some boiled apple and make a mixed puree for the baby.
- Older kids can have avocado on toast with scrambled eggs for breakfast, avocado muffins, avocado cubes in a salad, or even guacamole made with some finely chopped onions, tomatoes, pepper, and salt mixed in mashed avocado.
Can avocados be dangerous?
Avocados consumed in moderation along with a balanced diet and daily physical activity are safe for most individuals. Babies especially tolerate avocados well and do not report any undesirable weight gain, despite their high fat content.
However, here is a list of certain side-effects of avocados:
- There have been recent incidences of avocado recall from many supermarkets in California, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Arizona after a few batches tested positive for contamination with a bacteria called listeria.
- Listeriosis can be a dangerous infection in babies and those with compromised immune systems. The symptoms of listeriosis are fever, irritability, vomiting, and watery stools.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises all consumers to thoroughly wash all uncut avocados under running water before eating or cooking.
- Because listeria is found on the skin and not in the fleshy pulp, you should scrub the skin clean with a soft brush and dry it with a clean cloth towel before cutting.
- Gastric upset:
- Avocados contain compounds called polyols (sugar alcohols) that can have a laxative-like effect when consumed in large quantities. Though this may help babies with constipation, some babies may have an increased frequency of stools and cramps.
- Rarely, a baby may have an avocado allergy. They may have skin rashes, gas, or an upset stomach up to 48 hours after eating even a small amount of avocado.
- Avoid giving avocado to such kids and seek medical help if the rashes are too severe or the baby appears uncomfortable.
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