Variety is the spice of lie, a phrase fit for everybody, including the babies. Feeding babies with variety are the biggest challenge for the parents. All the parents wish to provide a wholesome, full of variety and healthy food. But out of the plethora of choices available in the market, it becomes difficult to choose which one is apt?

Pumpkins For Babies

Pumpkins are another backyard vegetable grows similar to that of cucumber, squash, cantaloupes, etc. Pumpkins are orange in colour that indicate that they are loaded with beta-carotene which is an antioxidant and helps with powerful vision, a strong immune system as well as healthy and supple skin. So let us study its benefits for the baby, the process of selecting and storing, precautions while feeding the same to the baby and the way in which it can be given.

Are Pumpkins Good For Babies?

Pumpkin is one of the nutritious food and should be given to the babies once they start teething and can chew well, an ideal time to introduce all sorts of nutritive fruits and vegetables, it helps in immunity building and even kills the germs present in the baby’s intestine, so it should be definitely on the list of the diet of the baby and it is even a safer option to be given to babies. Given below is the table depicting its nutritional value.

Nutritional Content Value per 100g
Energy 26kcal
Water 91g
Sugar 2.8g
Carbohydrates 6.5g
Protein 1g
Lipid Fat 0.1g
Fibre 0.5g
Iron 0.8mg
Calcium 21mg
Magnesium 12mg
Potassium 340mg
Phosphorus 44mg
Vitamin C 9mg
Vitamin B6 0.06mg
Vitamin A 8510 IU
Vitamin E 1.1mg
Vitamin K 1ug
Folate 16ug
Zinc 0.3mg
Sodium 1mg
Thiamin 0.05mg
Niacin 0.6mg
Riboflavin 0.1mg

 

When To Introduce Pumpkins To A Baby?

The right time to introduce pumpkin in the child’s diet is when the milk teeth start showing up, which could be anywhere from 6-12 months, as giving before that could lead to spitting by babies. After about 6 months of age, pumpkin can be given in a solid or a semi-solid form.  It can be given in a pureed form, added to cereals or chicken.

5 Health Benefits Of Pumpkins For Your Baby:

Pumpkins are loaded with finest nutritive compounds and even jam-packed with Vitamin A as well as beta-carotene, they are even a great source of iron, protein as well as potassium. The seeds of the pumpkin are said to be a wonderful source of protein as well as iron, however, it is not recommended to be given to the babies. There are many other health benefits accrues to the pumpkin and some of them are listed as under:

  1. Aids Digestion: Pumpkin has a good fibre intake and the soluble fiber in its flesh is said to slow down the digestion process as well as regulate diarrhoea by absorption of water. It is one of the great foods for digestion, and easy to get digested as it is low in the sugar and starch content, also due to its soft texture so it becomes easy to eat it easily. It helps in the regulation of bowel movements and protects the occurrence of constipation.
  2. Protects Eye Health: Since it has a good amount of beta-carotene and Vitamin A, it is good for the eye vision. It even has the presence of lutein and zeaxanthin which are antioxidants that help in the protection of the surface of the eye and its membranes, thus reducing all sorts of eye infections.
  3. Supplies Essential Nutrients: The pumpkin has an abundance of minerals and vitamins which are suitable for the development of the baby. Calcium and magnesium assist with stronger bones, iron help in building stronger bones, iron helps in supply of haemoglobin as well as red blood cells, phosphorus helps with the proper functioning of the brain while vitamin C is an important component for a resilient immune system.
  4. Boosts Energy Levels:Pumpkins have a good potassium content which offers abundant energy boost and even enhances the ratio of the electrolytes and develops the muscle functioning.
  5. Helps To Combat Worm Infestation: Babies are exposed not only to infections but they are more prone to contract worm infestation as well. Pumpkins have a strong anthelmintic property (ability to destroy parasites and worms). Therefore, incorporating pumpkin in your baby’s diet will help to keep the worms and parasites at bay, thereby, keeping your baby healthy.

How To Select Pumpkins For Babies?

The pumpkins who have a tag of that of baking, sugar pumpkins or pie are the ones that taste the best. Pumpkins which are anywhere between 6 to 8 inches in the diameter should be preferred. It is ideal to pick up pumpkins which are smaller in size as they are softer and have fewer seeds and strings which tend to make them sweeter and easy to process further. Never select pumpkins with craggy exterior, and one with cuts and bruises.

In case, opting for canned pumpkin, give preference to plain can of pumpkin than the pie mixed pumpkin as the latter has a good mix of sugar, additives as well as spices. Try to go for fresh pumpkin as its nutritive value is more than the canned one.

How To Store Pumpkin For Babies?

Always buy fully grown whole pumpkin rather than the cut ones. You can store it in home for many weeks if you place it in a cool, well-ventilated place at room temperature. However, in the case of cut sections, it should be stored in refrigerator where it can for a few days.

How To Cook Pumpkins For Babies?

Pumpkin can be prepared the same way as other fruits and veggies. Right before you start cooking the pumpkins, it is important to peel off the skin and clean it as, so that there is no dirt, and even essential to scoop all seeds by using a spoon. Some of the methods of cooking as given as under:

Boiling method:Put water for boiling, add the cut pieces of pumpkin to it, and cook till they are soft. Drain the excess water and let the pumpkin cool. After this add to the dish or store in the freezer. Do not put it in the fridge as they tend to become unhealthy and show a brownish-orange colour.

Baking method:Right after the pumpkin is cleaned, the pumpkin should be cut into two halves and brushed with olive oil. Place them facing the skin down on a baking tray. Bake at 375 ℉for about 30-45 minutes.Remove from the oven and take out the pulp in a vessel or a bowl. Adding butter will even enhance its taste.

Precautions To Take While Feeding Pumpkins For Babies:

  • It is best to steam or bake than boil the pumpkin as over-boiling may take away its nutrient value.
  • It is better to freeze the unused portions than to can them.
  • Never feed the seeds of a pumpkin even though they are loaded with protein and iron.
  • Even though it is rare to get a pumpkin allergy,  it is highly advisable to have a word with the doctor before introducing any new food.

Pumpkin Recipes For Your Baby:

The pumpkin can be given in many forms, the most common is the pumpkin puree and the method of making the same is given below:

Pumpkin Puree:

  • Ingredients: I whole sugar pumpkin, a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon powder, a little water or breastmilk, butter (optional)
  • Method: Make a puree of the cooked pumpkin in a blender or processor, and add a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon, butter can be added to enhance taste, water, and milk for the desired consistency.

Apple-Pumpkin Puree

  • Ingredients: 1 whole sugar pumpkin sliced, 3 apples sliced a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon powder (optional)
  • Method: Steam sliced apple and pumpkin. Make a puree of the steamed pumpkin and apple in a blender or processor, and add a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon.

Instead of steamed apple, you can add fresh banana, peers, and any fruits your baby like to make respective purees.

Thus, it can be said that pumpkin is a useful food that can be given with all other vegetables, fruits or even chicken. A nutrient dense food which once cooked becomes tender and makes it easy for the child to eat and even digest, yet one should take the adequate precautions and consult a medical practitioner before starting the same.