Weaning your baby is a hugely exciting and, at times challenging, journey. It’s important that your baby’s first foods are appealing to their tiny taste buds, but they should also be rich in nutrients to support growth and development. That’s where avocados come in. The green nutrient-packed fruit is the ultimate first food for your baby, whether you’re opting for the spoon-fed or baby-led weaning, or a mix of the two.
Nutrient-packed avocados are the ultimate first food for babies
As part of its education campaign in India, the World Avocado Organization reached out to Hena Nafis, Consultant Nutritionist, also an expert in Childhood Obesity and Weight Management, to uncover the benefits of avocados that can bring to your baby, along with some tasty recipes to try.
According to Ms. Nafis, “Adding avocados to a toddler’s diet can be a great option. Not only does its high energy value provide calories for optimum physical growth but its excellent fat profile can provide essential nutrients for proper brain development. It comes in quite handy to help support the child’s immunity, with its highly protective vitamin C content. Since avocados are high in energy, it can be an ideal food option for children with small appetites or fussy eaters to meet their daily intake requirements. It can be easily pureed and add a new texture and flavour to your child’s palette. It can also be introduced as a finger food to children to improve their motor skill abilities.”
Introducing your baby to avocados
According to Ms. Nafiz, “If you are going for baby-led weaning, first-time eaters can be offered slices of avocado, because finger foods are fun for kids and give them a sense of independence. Moreover, vegetable crudites such as avocado sticks can also help children develop motor skills such as hand-eye-mouth coordination,” adds Ms. Nafiz.
Rich in Healthy Fats, Vitamins and Minerals
Ms.Nafiz says, “Avocados are unique, they contain a large amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which play a crucial function in promoting the brain, nerve and eye health of infants. Vitamins like A, D, E, K; all of which play a pivotal role in the child’s growth and development.” Folate for healthy cell development, to vitamin E to support the immune system, heart, red blood cells, skin and hair. Avocados are high in vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting and the building of bones. What’s more, this green superfood is also a great source of vitamin C, B6, B1, B5, B2, and B3.
Gram for gram, avocados contain even more potassium than bananas. Avocados also contain magnesium, which is necessary for a healthy nervous system, muscle function, immune system, and heart health. The high fibrecontent of avocados will support your baby’s digestive system too.
How to check if an avocado is ready for your baby to eat
According to the World Avocado Organization, if your avocado gives in when you gently squeeze it, it should be ready to eat. Avocados that are ripe and ready may be darker in colour but this can vary, so it’s best to go by how they feel as well as their colour.
Avocado slices (6 months+)
1/ 2 avocado Ground oats
Cut the avocado into thick strips, lighted coat each slice by rolling them in the ground oats and serve.
Creamy almond avocado pasta (9 months+)
Makes 4 – 5 servings
Creamy almond avocado pasta
250g pasta of your choice such as penne 1 avocado
1 squeeze of lemon juice 1 clove of garlic
15g ground almonds
1-2 teaspoons of olive oil 30g parmesan cheese
A few fresh basil leaves
In a food processor, combine the avocado, garlic, almonds, oil, basil and parmesan.
Add a little more olive oil or water for a slightly thinner sauce.
Cook the pasta until soft and combine it with the avocado sauce.
Serve with a few chopped tomatoes on top.
About Ms. Hena Nafiz
Clinical Nutritionist, Nutrigenomic Practitioner, Graduated with a degree in Food and Nutrition from Liverpool John Moore’s University, UK and a MSc in Food Sc n Tech from Victoria University, Melbourne. She also holds a Certificate of Training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management from American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The latest addition to the list is a Certificate in Nutrigenomics, recognised by NUGO Netherlands. At present she is pursuing Masters in Public Health at Harvard University, US.
Ms Hena Nafiz in partnership with World Avocado Organization.
About the World Avocado Organization
The World Avocado Organization is a non-profit organisation founded in 2016 whose members are avocado growers, exporters and importers from around the world – including the top four grower supplier countries to the EU and UK. The World Avocado Organization promotes the consumption of avocados based on their nutritional value and recognised health benefits. It also shares information and insights on avocado production, supply chains and sustainability with the public.