Babies Go Nuts

By : | 1 Comment | On : January 23, 2013 | Category : Allergies, Foods, Nutrition

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When introducing solids to their baby, many parents are unsure of when to introduce peanuts (note: peanuts are actually a legume not a nut) and tree nuts (almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios).  With the “rules” changing over the years and the high prevalence of food allergies in Australia it’s no wonder people are unsure.

A healthy choice for the whole family.

Nuts are a valuable source of nutrition for children and adults.

- They are rich in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are important for maintaining a healthy heart.

- They provide a good source of energy to allow children to grow and play.

- They are high in protein needed for growth and development in children and to help satisfy hunger.

- They provide a variety of health-promoting vitamins and minerals and disease-preventing antioxidants (including vitamin E, folate, zinc, magnesium and selenium).

- They are high in fibre which is important for bowel health.

- Nuts also assist in weight management having the right combination of protein, fibre and healthy fats helping to keep you feel fuller for longer.

- Different nuts contain different vitamins and minerals so remember to regularly offer your children a variety of different nuts to receive all the goodness they have to offer.

Introducing peanuts and tree nuts.

-Nuts are often listed on the “foods to avoid” or “be careful” list when starting solids hence the introduction of peanuts/tree nuts into babies’ diets is often delayed.

-However the warning is usually associated with whole nuts as they are considered a choking hazard and are not recommended for children under the age of 5.

-Research has shown there is no evidence to suggest delaying the introduction of peanuts or tree nuts into your child’s diet will help in preventing an allergy.

-If you do have a family history of food allergies or you are at all concerned we do recommend you seek professional advice regarding introducing peanuts/tree nuts to your child from an allergy specialist or medical professional.

Eating nuts while you are pregnant and breastfeeding.

- Peanuts and tree nuts are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet and there is no evidence to suggest that the avoiding them during pregnancy or while breastfeeding will help prevent allergies.

Fun and tasty ways to offer nuts to your children*?

(*Remember to choose appropriate textures for your child)

- Try adding chopped or crushed nuts to porridge, mueslis and cereals – try our Pick ‘n’ Mix Bircher Muesli & Pick ‘n’ Mix Toasted Muesli.

- Finely crush nuts and mix through breadcrumbs for added taste, texture and nutrition.

- Use whole or crushed nuts or nut meals in baking muffins and cakes – try our Quinoa, Almond, Coconut & Blueberry Pikelets.

- Choose 100% nut butters (you can find these in the health food section of your supermarket or health food stores) and use as a spread on sandwiches adding cucumber slices, grated carrot or shredded lettuce.

- Offer nuts and dried fruit as a healthy snack and an alternative to biscuits, chips or lollies.

- Use nuts in herb pestos to stir through pasta or use as a spread on sandwiches – try our Pesto Pasta Salad.

Note:  Please remember to check with your day care centre, preschool or school to see whether you are allowed to send your children with food containing peanuts or tree nuts.

 

For more information on introducing solids and allergy prevention:

- ASCIA Position Statement: Summary of Allergy Prevention in Children

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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