Dates for Babies: Uses, Health Benefits and Easy Recipes
A growing baby needs the right amount of nutrition and a balanced diet which aids in their growth and development. In addition, introducing healthy foods to your kids early ensures that your kids are at a lower risk of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, etc. As parents, you may worry about the nutritional value that your child gets from consuming various fruits and vegetables. However, one of the essential ingredients in every child’s diet routine is dry fruits, which help your child's overall growth and development. More specifically, dry fruits such as dates are packed with energy and a great mineral source. But if you are doubtful about the safety and utility of dates for babies, this article is just for you!
In this article, we have highlighted the uses and benefits of dates for babies and shared some easy date recipes you can try for your kids!
Are Dates Good for Babies?
Dates, also known as khajur, is a sweet, dry fruit from the date palm tree. Dates are an excellent sugar substitute and a powerhouse of minerals and nutrients, making them a perfect food choice for babies. Dates are rich in minerals like iron, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and zinc and also contain vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, Vitamin A, B6, and Vitamin K. These essential nutrients help to balance the diet of a growing baby while supplementing the nutrients from mother’s breast milk. In addition, dates for babies are vital for their heart health and overall growth.
When to Introduce Dates to Babies?
A balanced diet and intake of the right amount of essential nutrients are important factors affecting the growth and development of your child. Therefore as your child ages, you need to supplement their nutritional needs with foods like dates that take care of all their essential nutrient needs. Typically babies start eating solid foods at 6 months, which is when you can include dates in their 6-month baby food chart. To begin with, you can offer them 1-2 pureed dates, which have been soaked in water and de-seeded. Then, add 1-2 tablespoons of homemade dry fruits powder or dates syrup as a sweetener.
Health Benefits of Dates for Babies
As mentioned earlier, dates are a powerhouse of minerals and nutrients; let us now understand the multiple health benefits of dates for babies -
- ▪ Brain Development -
Dates contain potassium which helps the brain growth and development, and a fair amount of nutrients present in dates enables in baby’s overall cognitive development.
- ▪ Prevents Indigestion -
Dates help to cultivate friendly bacteria in the intestines and eliminate the parasitic organisms, thereby preventing intestinal problems, which are the most common concern amongst babies.
- ▪ Protection of liver -
Children are susceptible to contracting viral and bacterial infections, which adversely affect their liver. However, it is observed that dates have live-protecting properties and are an excellent preventive dietary item to include in your baby’s daily food routine.
- ▪ Cures gastric ulcers -
Some kids often suffer from acidity and ulcers. Dates are considered to have properties that help to alleviate some symptoms of gastric ulcers in addition to the regular medical treatment that the doctor recommends.
- ▪ Strong teeth -
Ripened dates are an excellent food source for babies teething for better dental development. Dates help to strengthen the gums and make teeth grow stronger and faster.
- ▪ Improves Haemoglobin levels in the blood -
Dates are a rich source of iron, which helps increase the haemoglobin count in your kid’s red blood cells, promoting healthy hair growth and enhancing skin nourishment.
How Many Dates For Babies in a Day?
Now that you have understood the many benefits of dates for babies, the next question that may cross your mind is how many dates you can offer your baby in a day. Typically, you can offer 1 date to begin with, and gradually increase to 2-3 per day. Always start with a small quantity to allow your baby to recognise and develop a taste for it.
Easy Date Recipes For Babies
If you are wondering how you can offer dates to your babies, we have got you covered. Here are a bunch of quick and easy date recipes for your babies -
▪ Date Puree
Method of preparation -
- ▪ Soak the 1-2 dates overnight in water.
- ▪ Remove the soaked dates and keep the water aside.
- ▪ Add the dates to a blender or mixer to make a puree
- ▪ Add the soaked water kept aside to the date puree to make a thick paste.
- ▪ Serve
▪ Date Juice
Method of preparation -
- ▪ Take a small bowl of warm water and add dates to it for about 30 minutes.
- ▪ Remove the dates from the water to a high-speed blender with fresh and filtered water and lemon juice.
- ▪ Blend the mixture until smooth, and add water as per the desired consistency.
Precautions While Giving Dates to Babies
While there is no doubt concerning the nutritional requirement of dates, there are certain precautions you must follow while offering dates to your baby -
- ▪ To avoid the risk of choking, always feed small chunks of dates to your babies.
- ▪ Only feed sweet and ripened dates, as unripened dates are not recommended as they contain tannins which may lead to stomach upset.
- ▪ Do not immediately offer dates to your babies when you start with solid foods; always introduce them in small portions to see how the baby enjoys its taste.
- ▪ Do consult your paediatrician before introducing dates.
- ▪ Check the quality of the dates. Thoroughly wash and clean them because dates do not have skin to keep them germ- and dust-free.
We hope this article has served its purpose well. Dates are a great source of nutrients and minerals for your child. Introducing your baby to new solid foods in small quantities is always better. It is always advisable to consult your paediatrician before introducing your babies to dates.