Lentils For Babies: When To Start, Benefits and Precautions

7 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.

Lentils For Babies

When you are introduced to the lovely phase of parenthood, you constantly think about the healthy growth of your baby. Lentils are high in protein and fiber along with additional nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, and iron. In fact, lentils for babies provide the key source of protein intake and must be included once you plan to introduce solid food to your little one.

Most mothers introduce solid foods to their babies around the age of six months. In fact, pediatricians recommend starting solids at this age, too. Your baby’s taste buds start developing, and their digestive system is getting ready to explore new foods. Introducing new solids can always be a daunting task for the new mother. She may be worried about the dos and don’ts and allergies and side effects. In this article, we take an in-depth look at all the aspects of introducing lentils to your little one.

In This Article

Basics of Lentils

Lentils are an easily available and highly nutritious food group. You have many types of lentils to choose from, and all of them are rich in proteins and other vital nutrients. They come in different colors too. Lentils are a common staple item in the Indian subcontinent and are locally known as daal. This legume is often prepared in curry or gravy style and is consumed with rice or roti. In India, several types of lentils are grown and some common types are

  • Split Chickpeas (Chana Daal)
  • Whole Moong Daal
  • Small Green Lentils (Moong Daal)
  • Split Pigeon peas (Toor Daal)
  • Kidney Beans (Rajma)
  • Red Lentils (Masoor Daal)
  • Whole black lentils (Urad Daal)

Right Time to Introduce Lentils to Babies

Baby Eating Lentils

Solid foods must be started when your baby crosses the age of six months. You can introduce lentils to them around this time. But at this time, their digestive system is immature and tries to adjust to external foods. The right way to start lentils for babies, therefore, can be done in soup or purée form so that they do not get choked or have digestion issues. Lentil has high protein and fiber content, which is tough for your little champ’s stomach to digest. Start with small amounts, maybe a spoonful of purée to begin with. You can then increase the amount as your little one adapts and starts to accept it.

[Read : How to Increase Immunity in Babies?]

Amazing 5 Health Benefits of Lentils For Babies

You would not need to search a lot to find nutrition-rich food for your baby. Lentils are the best and provide a range of health benefits. Ranging from proteins, minerals, and vitamins, these are also excellent sources of folic acid and iron, all of which are essential for your baby’s growth. Let’s find out the benefits that lentils can provide to your baby.

1. Good for Digestion

Being rich in dietary fiber, lentils are excellent for proper digestion. Fibre-rich foods help to improve digestion and reduce constipation-related issues. The immature digestive organs of babies need fiber foods to maintain a regular bowel movement. Keep an eye on whether your baby is facing any gas-related issues. If yes, then feed them a small amount.

2. Immunity Booster

Lentils are a good source of zinc, which boosts the immunity of your little one. It also regulates the natural functioning of the nervous system and is effective for memory development.

3. Promotes Healthy Development

During pregnancy, one of the key nutrients that are strongly advised is folate or folic acid. It helps in new cell generation and the development of organs. It is also beneficial for the neurological development of the baby.

4. Excellent Source of Iron

With gradual growth, babies need lots of iron. After the age of six months, the iron present in their bodies is used to support fast growth. For this reason, their bodies need an external source of iron supply. Lentils serve as an amazing iron supplement and replenish the requirements of the baby’s body.

5. Good for Bone Development

For the growth of a nine to eleven-month baby, there is a daily requirement of 270 mg of calcium. Lentils have a good amount of calcium in them and that supports the daily need. Calcium is the key element for skeletal development, and therefore, you should keep lentils in your baby’s diet.

Precautions to Take While Feeding Lentils For Babies

Even though lentils have many health benefits, you still need to take some precautions when feeding them to babies:

  • You should serve lentils in small quantities to babies because their high protein and fiber content may cause gas and indigestion.
  • When offering lentils to babies under one year of age, it is advisable to mash or puree them. Depending on the size and age of the child, lentils can pose a choking hazard.
  • Lentils are generally safe for babies. Nevertheless, when introducing lentils, it is always wise to monitor your baby for any allergic reactions.

Best Types of Lentils For Babies

types of lentils

Lentils are available in a wide variety of options, which often makes it very confusing for you as a mother in making the right choice when feeding your baby. Lentils come in different colors, shapes, and sizes and the nutrient contents also vary. Some of them cook faster than others. Generally, Masoor daal or red lentils are smooth and cook quickly. The comparatively low-fiber content makes them a good choice for making purée and soups. You can start feeding your baby with red lentils.

Well-cooked green, black, and white lentils are good for grown children. Make sure those are boiled properly, and you can also add a pinch of salt to make it tastier.

Avoid giving canned lentils to your baby. The preservatives used to increase the shelf life of canned goods are not healthy for your baby. They often end up with digestion problems and gas issues. The added preservatives are not good for your baby, either.

Side Effects of Lentils For Babies

Lentils have many benefits for babies. But, as with all foods, moderate consumption is recommended. For babies, excess consumption of lentils can cause the below side effects.

The high fiber content is not apt for their immature digestive system. It is hard to break it down and digest, and this can cause gas and cramping issues. As per one study report, the RFOs (Raffinose Family Oligosaccharides) content in lentils may cause bloating and flatulence. Hence, it is always recommended to stick to moderation when feeding lentils.

Tips For Selecting and Cooking Lentils For Babies

Lentils are available in different forms on the market. You can either select packed lentils or go for the loose ones. Before preparing any recipe, wash the lentils properly before cooking, as lentils have dust and debris in them. There is no need to soak them in water, but some people prefer to soak them before cooking to speed up the cooking process. Avoid adding salt or sugar when cooking lentils, as it can reduce the nutritional value of the staple. Add some boiled vegetables, and cumin to the purée to make it easy to digest. For grown-up babies, sprouted green lentils are also good but make sure they can swallow them properly.

[Read : Brown Rice For Babies]

Healthy Lentils Recipes For Babies

Lentil Soup For Babies

Let’s see some healthy recipes you can easily prepare at home:

1. Lentil With Vegetable Purée

Being loaded with veggies like onions, celery, carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes, this makes amazingly nutritious food for the baby. And babies love its creamy texture as well.

2. Lentils With Carrot and Brown Rice (Daal Rice)

Carrying all the health benefits of carrot and brown rice, this recipe supplies most of the important vitamins and minerals the growing baby needs.

3. Lentil and Apricot Soup

Apricots are a good source of nutrients and are one of the first solids babies are given as a puree once they reach 6 months of age. Blending lentils with apricots doubles their nutritional value.

4. Lentil Curry

Once your baby crosses the one-year mark, you can introduce him/her to the lentil curry, which is a common Indian dish. Lentil curry is easy to prepare and very appealing to babies.

Lentils are an easily available staple and undoubtedly an amazing source of nutrients for your baby. They are rich in protein and fiber, which help in your baby’s healthy development. Just keep in mind that excessive consumption can lead to some complications for the immature digestive system. Prepare some of the recipes we have shared here and share your thoughts in the comment section.

[Read : Millet for Babies]

FAQ’s

1. Is it Safe to Give Red Lentils to My Baby?

Yes, it is safe to introduce red lentils to your little one. Make sure your baby can swallow solid foods.

2. Are There Any Side Effects of Lentils For Babies?

The high amount of dietary fibre in lentils is not easy to digest for babies and therefore, may cause gas-related issues. Try to feed them in small quantities initially.

3. Which Lentil is Good For Babies Below 12 Months of Age?

All types of lentils have numerous health benefits, and you can feed them all. But make sure to feed in moderation and cook them well so that your baby can consume them properly.

4. When Can I Introduce Lentils to My Baby?

Usually, when your baby starts to consume solid foods, you can start feeding lentils. But the high nutrients in lentils make it tough for babies to digest. Therefore, it is recommended to introduce it after the age of 6 to 7 months of age.

Read Also: Health Benefits Of Chickpeas For Babies

...
Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

Responses (0)

Please check a captcha

Want curated content sharply tailored for your exact stage of parenting?

Discover great local businesses around you for your kids.

Get regular updates, great recommendations and other right stuff at the right time.

cookie

Our site uses cookies to make your experience on this site even better. We hope you think that is sweet.