Waiting until your baby is older to introduce nuts? You may not need to. According to a recent recommendation from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, highly allergenic foods like nuts can be introduced into infants' diets as early as six months. Delaying nuts and other highly allergenic foods like soy, fish, seafood, dairy, eggs, and wheat does not help to prevent food allergy in the future. In fact, some research shows that introducing them early may reduce the risk of children becoming allergic to these foods later in life.
Nuts are rich in beneficial fatty acids, vitamin E, and protein, and are a perfect food for babies, who need lots of good nutrition for proper growth and development. Never give children whole nuts before they are at least 5 years old. Also, avoid giving nut butter to your baby with a spoon, as it is also a choking hazard.
Up next: Seven easy ways to introduce nuts into your baby's diet.
Mix a teaspoon or two of almond or peanut butter into a bowl with your baby's cereal, yogurt or applesauce. Make sure the mixture isn't too thick, and stir it well before giving it to your baby.
Spread almond, peanut, or cashew butter on a piece of toast and serve it to your baby as finger food. Even babies as small as 6 to 7 months can bring finger foods to their mouth to suck or gnaw on them. They may not be able to bite off pieces yet, but they will successfully lick off the omega-3-rich nut butter!
Love baking? Substitute one quarter of the flour with ground almonds when making muffins or pancakes. It will result in a denser texture but the payoff will be a richer and more nutritious breakfast or snack. Try these Almond Pancakes With Pear-Maple Compote.
Add a teaspoon of low-sodium or salt-free pesto made with pine nuts, pistachios, or walnuts to your baby's purees, stews, and soups. Don't be afraid to use a little garlic in the pesto; many babies enjoy a little spice and it teaches their taste buds to appreciate more "grown-up" flavors.
Instead of using olive oil or butter, toss your baby's noodles or pasta with a teaspoon of almond or peanut butter for a quick and tasty finger food. Opt for coarsely ground nut butter because it will be easier for little hands to grab onto the otherwise slippery cooked pasta.
Add a teaspoon of peanut butter to a savory dish like chicken or lamb stew for an exotic spin and a boost of protein, fiber, and good fats.
Blend a banana with a tablespoon of cashew butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon for an easy dessert or snack for your baby -- or for yourself.
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