There is just about everything you need for a healthy diet present in nature for us. That’s the beauty of nature’s bounty. But that doesn’t mean that anything and everything is good for us. After all, there has to be pros & cons of everything right? Well, when it comes to babies, there certainly are many things that parents want to consider before experimenting, or shall we say introducing? Today, we shall discuss one such nature’s gift and that is – Spinach. Yes! It’s the favorite veggie of moms and least favorite for the kids. But is it really good? How much is good? When can you give it to your baby? Health benefits and quick recipes, we shall cover it all. So let’s begin!
Is Spinach Good For Babies?
Spinach is one of the most popular vegetables across the globe, mainly because of its health benefits, not only for grown-ups but also for kids and babies. Spinach serves as a high source of essential minerals and vitamins that make the body strong internally by improving organ functionalities.
Nutritional Value of Spinach
|‘Nutritional Value Of Spinach’|
|Nutrient||Unit Value Per 100Gm|
|Natural sugars||0.4 g|
|Vitamin C||28 mg|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.078 mg|
|Vitamin A||469 µg|
|Vitamin E||2 mg|
|Vitamin K||483 µg|
8 Amazing Health Benefits Of Spinach For Babies
Some of the major health benefits of Spinach include:
- It provides minerals: One of the biggest reasons to introduce spinach in your baby’s diet is that spinach will provide most essential minerals to your little one’s body and help in growth and development. A rich source of iron, potassium, and calcium, spinach is highly useful in hemoglobin production and brain development
- Supplies vitamins: Apart from essential minerals, Spinach also provides a good amount of vitamins to your baby’s body. These include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, thiamin, folate etc. All these vitamins altogether improve immunity and maintain a strong and healthy body
- Acts as natural laxative: With ample amounts of dietary fiber, this leafy vegetable is often used as a natural laxative and helps in keeping the digestive system on track. This can be a blessing for babies who often get constipated. Spinach absorbs water and adds bulk to the stool, helping in easy bowel movement that can do wonders for a constipated baby who will just not know what to do other than cry all day!
- Antimicrobial properties: Spinach contains good amounts of antimicrobial elements which help in treating urinary infections that are very common with babies
- Treats gastric disorders: As your baby’s stomach and intestines are not fully matured, they can often get gastric issues. This can cause a lot of discomfort and uneasiness to small kids. Offering your baby spinach in such times can be helpful
- Protects liver: Even though the liver is one of the strongest organs in the body, it can get subjected to infections too. Spinach has shown positive results in liver protection
- Can kill intestinal worms: Parasitic worms can often develop in the delicate and sensitive stomach linings and intestines of babies. However, regular intake of spinach ensures removal of intestinal pests and worms that feed off the intestines and often make babies weak and sick
- Aids in hydration: Spinach is naturally rich in water as 90% of it is water so it keeps your baby well hydrated
When Can You Give Spinach To Your Baby?
As soon as your baby completes 6 months, you are ready to introduce solids and semi-solids to your baby. But wait for you baby to turn at least 8 months before you introduce spinach to his diet. Though a lot of pediatricians say it is ok to introduce spinach at 6-7 months, but as spinach is an oxalate and nitrate food, it is better to give spinach to your baby in moderation until 8 months and then introduce it completely once your baby is 12 months old.You can give it to your baby in puree form initially and then in combination with other vegetables later on. But do consult with your pediatrician before introducing spinach to your baby.
How To Make Spinach Puree?
If your baby is 8 months old or above, you can easily give spinach to him/her in puree form. This is the most simple and easiest way to give spinach to the little bud. So how do you make a puree? Simple, follow on:
- Pick out fresh spinach leaves and thoroughly wash them until clean
- Steam or boil spinach leaves (whichever method you prefer) until leaves appear wilted
- Drain the cooking water from puree and blend in a mixer until smooth
- Add fresh water if needed until desired consistency is achieved
- Take out in a clean bowl, cool down and feed your baby
Easy Spinach Recipes For Toddlers
Now, this was spinach puree for babies. What about toddlers? We need something creative, more textured and wholesome for toddlers, isn’t it? This is exactly why we have listed down some of our favorite toddler-meals made using spinach, just for you!
- Green Spinach Smoothie: A simple smoothie made by blending together fresh spinach with grapes and watermelon
- Spinach Pizza: Anything to make kids eat spinach! Just add it as a garnish to their favorite pizza
- Spinach Dip: Spinach puree with mixed herbs and cheese, churned into a dip!
- Spinach Balls: Just make balls out of cooked spinach & cheese mixture. Bake, air fry, whatever you like. You can even store these for quick munching anytime!
- Spinach Salad: Just mix together some chopped lettuce & spinach leaves with their favorite veggies. Your kids won’t even notice the spinach leaves!
- Spinach Pasta: Simply boil your kid’s favorite pasta and add boiled spinach leaves mixed with cheese and herbs
Precautions While Giving Spinach To Babies
- Always choose fresh spinach leaves. The leaves should be green, firm and without any tears or darkening
- Always make sure the leaves are thoroughly cleaned before cooking or adding it any dish to avoid any contaminations
- Always prefer steaming over boiling as boiling of vegetables often leads to loss of essential vitamins and minerals due to evaporations. Steaming, on the other hand, preserves these
- It is recommended that you give spinach to your baby in moderation since overdoing things can lead to stomach complications as well. We need to realize that babies have a delicate digestive system
There is a lot to experiment when it comes to baby food. The sky is the limit, literally! What really matters here is that a highly nutritious vegetable like spinach should not be missed during the growing years of your baby as it will aid in their overall development.