Apart from being delicious and a must-have in many kitchens nowadays – avocados are a very nutritious fruit. They are rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, copper, iron and fiber, all whilst being full of unsaturated fats (the heart-friendly kind of fats).
The nutritional value of avocado makes it a good supplement for treating inflammation, boosting the metabolism, and even a powerful antioxidant. With all of the benefits that avocado might give us, we can’t help but wonder – can our little ones enjoy it with us, too? Is avocado good for a baby?
Are avocados safe for babies?
Avocados are, in fact, very safe for babies. Their creamy and squishy texture provides very little choking hazard. Any baby that had thus far learned how to nibble on foods can eat avocado, which means a baby as young as four to six months old. Avocado can also be a good transition food from baby formula to solid foods.
What are the benefits and drawbacks?
The benefit of feeding avocado to a baby is its aforementioned nutritional value; from vitamins to fats, to minerals – avocados contain every nutrient humans need to survive (and, thus, also grow and develop). The pro-metabolic components of avocado, alongside its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, help boost the immune system of babies. The unsaturated fats make avocado one of the healthiest fat consumption options for growing infants.
Contrary to popular belief, babies need fat to properly develop; even human breast milk contains fat, alongside baby formula, as well – where, in most cases, a beaming third of the formula consists of fats. The goal is not to omit fat from a baby’s diet; it’s to introduce the safest option that will ensure proper developing without risking obesity.
As your baby slowly starts to add more variability to its diet, avocado becomes more and more plausible as a healthy food option that will safely provide your little one with everything they need to continue to thrive.
The disadvantages of avocado fall short comparing to the benefits. The most prominent drawback of introducing avocado to your baby’s diet is the caloricity. Although avocado aids weight loss and muscle repair when given in smaller amounts, a daily dose of more than a hundred grams might start to slowly build up and show. This is why some people prefer to not get their baby used to avocado as part of their regular feeding routine, as constantly measuring the amount might be hard to track.
However, serving avocado in moderate amounts at least every now and then is a favorable move for your child’s well-being.
How to serve avocado for a baby?
First of all, you need to pick a decent avocado (follow this guide if needed); when in the store, look for an avocado that is dark-green in color with a bumpy texture.
The fruit needs to be firm, but not too firm (gentle pushing should result in slight yielding of the shell – too mushy means rancid, whilst too hard means it did not fully develop and ripen).
When sliced open, the avocado should have a green texture that shifts to yellow around the pulp. For best nutritional value, we suggest that you try and pick avocado from a re-seller that doesn’t use pesticides.
Now, you need to think about the fact that babies are very specific when it comes to tasting things for the first time. If the scent, taste or texture are unfamiliar to your child, he/she might spit it out without even attempting to properly taste it. The uniqueness of the avocado doesn’t help the situation, either.
This is why the best way to introduce avocado into your baby’s diet is to incorporate hints of avocado into other dishes, and then slowly moving on to those where the avocado dominates in taste. Depending on how old your child is, and how far along his or her teething is, you might want to prepare avocado differently. Luckily enough, avocado can be mashed into a purée, making it more appropriate for those on the lower end of the spectrum.
Here are some ideas you can use for inspiration when starting to prepare dishes out of avocado for your baby:
- Avocado and banana
This is a good way to first introduce avocado, but also a good mineral bomb for your active, happy baby. Simply mash half an avocado with one whole banana with a fork. You can add a little bit of milk into the mix if you need any extra moisture. If your child is over one year old, you can even add some honey, to make it even sweeter and more likely to become a favorable dessert for your little one.
- Avocado and apple
Another good mushy, fruity combo – mash half an avocado with a fork. For babies that know how to chew, grated apple will do the trick. Grate above the bowl with the mashed avocado to contain any of the remaining apple juice. For the younger ones that come fresh from formula, you can substitute the grated apple with half a cup of unsweetened applesauce (you can add a homemade version by boiling apples and putting them in a processor).
- Avocado yogurt
The simplest solution for babies still relying on liquids – mash half an avocado with a fork and mix in half a cup of plain Greek yogurt. You can add some mashed fruits if you want to be extra, but it isn’t a necessity.
- Avocado and tofu
Add one half of mashed avocado to a blender with one teaspoon of olive or avocado oil (choose it wisely) and half a cup of tofu. Process for a smoother texture.
- Avocado, rice, and veg
This is for when you start to introduce more texture to your baby’s diet. Mash avocado with your fork again, only this time with steamed vegetables such as cauliflower or broccoli. Mix this with half a cup of plain cooked rice. The rice in this recipe can be substituted with pasta later on. You might even want to add olive oil or avocado oil and a little bit of milk to make it a more appropriate texture for a pasta sauce.
- Avocado, beans, and meat
Avocado can be mixed with one-third of a cup of white, canned beans to make a great side dish for cooked ground turkey or even boiled chicken breast. The mix can be put into the blender with the chicken breast and processed further to make chicken purée.
- Avocado toast
When your baby got used to biting into more crunchy foods, such as toast, avocado toast is by far one of the healthiest options for a quick breakfast dish. You can make it more baby-friendly by toasting the bread only lightly and then cutting it into squares or strips. Add one to two teaspoons of milk to the mashed avocado for added moisture. You can also make a dip instead of a spread for the toast strips. One idea is non-traditional guacamole, where jalapeños are substituted with just a little bit of lime juice, and some tomatoes and basil for added taste.
Apart from making dishes, you can also simply mash one avocado with perhaps a little bit of milk to make a substitute for baby food. Note that you should only make as much as your baby will eat, or if you happen to make more – seal it in the refrigerator with some additional method and use within the next 72 hours.