Carrots are usually one of the first vegetables to be introduced, as they are easy to digest – and full of important nutrients.
The ‘nitrates in carrots’ discussion is an issue for some parents, though research and statistics show that by the time a baby is about 7 months old stomach acids neutralise any nitrate-producing bacteria. Your baby’s doctor or paediatrician will advise you over any concerns.
Carrots are good for baby (and you):
The natural bright orange colouring of carrots gives a clue about their high beta-carotene content – which the body converts into the vitamin A so essential to good vision and eye health. Carrots are also a rich source of vitamin C – for fighting diseases and the common cold – and contain calcium and other important minerals.
Hints on buying and storing:
- Buying organic is a matter of choice, though skins may have some chemical residue.
- Choose small whenever possible.
- Do not buy carrots with new little leaves sprouting from the top, or with fine roots growing down the sides.
- Bright green feathery leaves still attached mean the carrot has recently been harvested.
- Baby carrots are best – naturally sweet and tender.
- Store in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator to retain crispness and flavour.
- Use, or freeze, home-cooked carrot straight away, to retain nutrients.
Tips on cooking:
- Scrub carrots well under running water using a vegetable brush.
- Always peel to make carrots easier to digest, and to remove any chemical residue.
- Steaming makes beta carotene more bio-available for the body to use.
- Use fresh water for pureeing, rather than cooking liquid (to minimise any possible nitrates).
- A little butter added to cooked carrot aids vitamin A absorption.
Ideas for ways of including carrots in your baby’s meals:
- Combine pureed carrot with apple or peach purees.
- Mix with other vegetable purees – sweet or white potato, peas, courgette (zucchini), winter or summer squash, green beans.
- Add to cooked dried beans, brown rice, or lentils.
- Use in chicken, pork or beef dishes.
- Mash with tofu.
Please 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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