It's every mother's hope to see her baby gets a good start when it comes to nutrition, to help them to grow up healthy and strong. In this edition of our blog, we will be looking into how dates fruit benefits and makes one of the best addition for babies and children.
While the first six months, physicians recommend that babies be exclusively fed with either breast milk, or highly nutritious milk formula. By the sixth month, babies may begin the transition to eating solid food. Once it is clear that baby is alright with eating solid food, parents are encouraged to feed them different soft, easy-to-chew meals, to ensure that they are getting a variety of nutrients.
Pureed vegetables, cereals and fruits may be also offered to the child, allowing them to get used to different tastes and textures.
Up to the age of two, a growing child needs several key nutrients to aid in their overall development. While each baby's needs are unique, certain foods come already packed with nutrients with many benefits, including the humble date.
Aside from being rich in fibre, antioxidants and polyphenols, dates also contain several nutrients that have many positive effects for a young infant:
Iron - Babies need iron for cognitive, neurological, motor and behaviour development, and their need for it increases as they grow older. Iron helps build their blood cells, and helps in brain development.
Calcium - Calcium helps in the development of strong teeth and bones. It also helps with other bodily functions including blood clotting, sending and receiving nervous system signals and muscle contraction and relaxation.
Zinc - Zinc helps cells to grow and repair themselves, and also helps in the development of the body's immune system as well as in many other processes of the body.
Potassium - It helps in the building of muscle and in regulating acid and water in the blood and body tissues. Potassium also supports the function of nerve cells in the brain and body, and helps in the development of the child's brain.
Vitamin B12 - Much like potassium, Vitamin B12 is also another mineral that aids in the development of the brain, and also promotes the production of healthy red blood cells.
Dates are one of the easiest fruits to incorporate into a child's diet. Children can easily eat dates thanks to their soft, chewy texture.
Experts recommend introducing your child to various tastes and flavours, and the natural sweetness of dates, along with other fruits, will be a nice treat for your child to enjoy.
Pitted dates can also be chopped into small pieces and mixed in with yoghurt, cereals or rice porridge, to balance out its sweet taste. They can also be steamed or mashed into a puree for easier swallowing. As your child gets older, parents can also blend dates into a simple milkshake for them to drink.
Remember to only serve pitted dates to babies and small children, and to cut them into two or three pieces before giving them to your child, one piece at a time to prevent choking.
Be sure to allow them only one or two dates a day, depending upon the size of the date. For example, a Medjool date is quite large, and one date will be enough for your child to start with, while for the smaller varieties such as Ajwa, you may give your child up to two dates.
As with all foods, ensure that your child consumes dates in moderation. After letting your little one try their first meal, parents should wait at least three days in order to ensure that children are comfortable with the food before feeding them again.
Even small children can reap the benefits of dates in their diet, and parents can rest assured that their all-natural goodness will help in their child's development. To find out more about the types of dates to share with your child, click here.