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Avocados have become a bit of a food trend among the health conscious, and who can blame them?! They are delicious and so rich in nutrition too.
I remember those lazy Sunday brunches, before babies, when avocado toast (sourdough of course), perhaps with a poached egg on the side, was the main event of the day!
We can dream!
However, there’s no reason why you can’t give your baby avocado. There is no need for them to miss out on this delicious goodness and in fact, one of the best first foods you can offer your baby from the start of weaning, is avocado!
In this blog are my top 7 ideas for you on how to serve avocado if you are baby led weaning and of course links to the recipes so you know where to find them on the web.
But first, I wouldn’t be doing my job properly unless I mentioned avocado nutrition…
What’s so good about Avocado?
Avocados are nutritionally unique among fruits because they are lower in sugar and higher in fibre and healthy fats than most other fruits. They are a super concentrated source of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and healthy plant chemicals called phytonutrients. They are a great energy provider and a useful source of both soluble and insoluble fibre promoting gut health (1).
Here’s just a few of the health benefits for all of us:
Vitamin E – keeps the immune system strong, acts as an antioxidant to protect against disease later in life.
Riboflavin – assists in energy production and the formation of red blood cells.
Vitamin B6 – important for energy metabolism and immune function.
Folate – helps to make healthy red blood cells.
Lutein – important for eye health.
Potassium – important for a healthy heart and helps control where fluid is in the body.
Health benefits specifically for baby (MUFA)
Babies need more fat in their diets than adults. In fact, 50% of their energy supply needs to come from fat (as opposed to 30% for adults) and avocado contains a lot of fat in comparison to other foods so superbly gives your baby more bang for your buck.
Avocados contain a high amount of oleic acid, which is a type of healthy fat from the monounsaturated fat (omega-9) group. It’s also the main type of fat in breastmilk. Oleic acid is important for the growth and development of the nervous system and the brain (2). It is best known for its role in reducing the risk of heart disease and decreasing inflammation in the body (3).
As well as monounsaturated fats, avocados also contain some polyunsaturated fats (omega-6) and a little saturated fat too. Overall, it’s a really nutritious food to include in your baby’s diet.
When can Avocado be introduced to my baby?
Wedges of avocado are great from 6 months as they help your baby learn to chew and swallow when their gag reflex is close to the front of the mouth. If you are not following baby led weaning, avocado can be offered as a mash or puree from the beginning of weaning.
How to check an Avocado is ripe
It’s important to make sure that the fruit is ripe before you offer it to your baby. If you squeeze the fruit gently, the flesh should be slightly soft. You can also check if it’s ripe by removing the stem – if it’s green underneath, it’s ripe; if it’s white, it needs a little longer. Pop it in your fruit bowl next to the bananas to help speed up the ripening process.
The best ways to serve Avocado
Avocado is one of the easiest and quickest vegetables to prepare as there is no need to cook it. Slice the avocado lengthways to make long finger sized pieces and try one of the ideas below to add even more nutrition and to make the avocado easier for your little one to grip.
For a quick and easy meal just mash it on to buttered wholemeal toast with a fork.
Although this blog is about BLW, I must tell you about the delicious combo of avocado and banana. Just pop half of each into a blender and whizz. It’s divine!
Tips to make Avocado less slippery to hold
Avocado can be quite slippery in babies’ hands. Here are a few ideas of how to help your baby get a better grip:
· Roll slices of avocado in desiccated coconut, almond flour, oat flour or nutritional yeast.
· Spread a small amount of nut butter on to a slice of avocado to make it stickier.
· Leave the skin on the bottom half of the slice to make it easier to grip – be sure to take the skin away before your baby tries to eat it as the skin can be a choking hazard.
It’s always helpful to have a jet wash on hand for afterwards… (joking!)
How much Avocado is OK for my baby?
An adult portion size is defined as half an avocado but an adults’ nutritional needs are different from babies’. There isn’t really a limit on how much avocado your baby can eat however, if they overindulge, it means they haven’t left room for other foods and variety of foods is really important during weaning. This is because your baby needs a wide range of nutrients. It’s also good for their sensory learning about food.