Introduce apple as a first food when your baby is about 6 months old. Apples are nutrient-rich and easy to digest; they are also very versatile, so can be included in many of baby’s meals. Frozen apple in a mesh bag given to baby to suck on makes an excellent teething reliever.
Apples are good for baby (and you):
Apples help digestion as they contain two types of fibre: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fibre works as roughage, and soluble fibre (pectin) helps with stool consistency, to keep the bowels regular without causing diarrhoea.
Ongoing studies seem to indicate that apples may help in promoting bone health, as they are a good source of the mineral boron, and may provide aid into adulthood in several health areas – including cardiovascular, LDL cholesterol levels and oxidation, lowered stroke risk, weight maintenance, lung, liver, prostate and colon health.
Hints on buying and storing:
- Buy organic if possible (apples are on the list of foods most highly contaminated with pesticides – the ‘dirty dozen’). If you cannot buy organic apples, wash them well, then peel them.
- Choose apples that are firm and have no soft areas, cuts, bruising or other discolouration.
- At home, keep apples in the refrigerator and only cut them when you are about to use them.
Tips on cooking:
- Keep apples flavourful and full of nutrients by removing the core and seeds, then baking them in their skins, cooling them and scooping out the flesh.
- Steaming will also retain most of the nutrients.
- Boil for a very short while with a very small amount of water – they will release their own juice and stay moist, but add a little water as necessary.
- Vary the flavour with just a tiny dash of cinnamon or nutmeg during cooking.
Ideas for ways of including apples in your baby’s meals:
- Mix pureed cooked apple with homemade baby cereals – rice, oatmeal, barley, mixed grain.
- Add to pureed cooked vegetables – sweet potato, carrots, summer squash, zucchini (courgette.)
- Add to pureed cooked chicken, beef or lamb.
- Mix with other fruit purees – banana, pear, avocado, blueberries.
- Use in healthy cake or teething biscuit recipes.
- Excellent stirred into plain yogurt.
Remember: Always consult your baby’s paediatrician or doctor about introducing new foods. This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.
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