Nuts can be an important part of your child’s healthy diet. It help them reach their recommended intake of protein each day, as well as count toward their daily fat allowance.
While I’m personally was too nervous to introduce my children to nuts the very first time, I became later more confident and made the nut an essential part of my children daily diet.
Are nuts a choking hazard for toddlers?
Whole nuts is one of the foods that toddlers shouldn’t eat.
Children under five should avoid whole nuts due to the risk of choking. There are serious, potentially life-threatening choking hazard related to the tree nuts.
When to introduce nuts for babies?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric, it is better to introduce allergens including nuts to babies soon after they start solids unless there is a family history of food allergies or the baby has had or has eczema.
That may help prevent nut allergies altogether.
The group says: ( there is now scientific evidence that healthcare providers should recommend introducing peanut-containing products into the diets of ‘high-risk’ infants early on in life – between 4 and 11 months of age – in countries where peanut allergy is prevalent because delaying the introducing of peanut can be associated with an increased risk of peanut allergy).
More than 95% of kids are NOT going to develop a nut allergy no matter when nuts are introduced to them.
How to serve nuts for babies under one year?
For Babies under 1 year old, you can:
• Mix a teaspoon or two of almond or peanut butter into a bowl with some yogurt. Make sure the mixture isn’t too thick, and stir it well before giving it to your baby.
• Spread almond, peanut, or cashew butter on a piece of toast and serve it to your baby as finger food. Even babies as small as 6 to 7 months can bring finger foods to their mouth to suck on them. They may not be able to bite off pieces yet, but they will successfully lick off the omega-3-rich nut butter!
• You can use nut powders and sprinkle them into your baby’s food.
• You can bake with nut flours like almonds flour.
• Add some mixed nut powder to your baby’s smoothie.
How to serve nuts for toddlers?
For Toddlers 1-4 years old, you can:
• Use all the above serving ideas for babies.
• Use nuts milk like almonds milk as a substitute for cow’s milk in breakfast cereal.
• Finely chopped nuts and seeds that are baked in cookies or bread can be fine.
• Grind walnuts with herbs into a paste to garnish grilled chicken.
How to serve nuts for older kids?
Children 5+ years old should be able to grind nuts using their own teeth. ( always remember that children are different).
After your child be 5 years old, you can add new serving suggestion to his/her diet.
• You can use all the above suggestions for babies and toddlers.
• They can eat nuts as a snack.
• Add them to trail mix.
• Sprinkle them on a salad.
• Chopped walnuts make an excellent addition to a yogurt parfait.
• Try chopped almonds with feta cheese and olives in a Mediterranean style salad.
Why to add nuts to your child’s diet?
Adding nuts to your children balanced diet can be great for their health, for the following reasons:
#1: nuts are great source of many nutrients:
Nuts are highly nutritious. One ounce (28 grams) of mixed nuts contains :
• Calories: 173
• Protein: 5 grams
• Fat: 16 grams, including 9 grams of monounsaturated fat
• Carbs: 6 grams
• Fiber: 3 grams
• Vitamin E: 12% of the RDI
• Magnesium: 16% of the RDI
• Phosphorus: 13% of the RDI
• Copper: 23% of the RDI
• Manganese: 26% of the RDI
• Selenium: 56% of the RDI
Some nuts are higher in certain nutrients than others. For instance, just one Brazil nut provides more than 100% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for selenium.
The carb content of nuts is highly variable. Hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, and Brazil nuts have fewer than 2 grams of digestible carbs per serving, while cashews have almost 8 digestible carbs per serving.
#2: nuts are rich in antioxidants:
Nuts contain compounds called polyphenols which have a protective effect in the body. They do so by helping to neutralise unstable molecules called free radicals which can cause damage. A study looking at the protective effect of walnuts and almonds suggested their polyphenol content increased antioxidant capacity which in turn helped to protect cells from damage.
#3: nuts can fight inflammation:
Walnuts are high in a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid called ALA, which has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects. This comprehensive review found that diets rich in walnuts reduced several markers of inflammation in the body. Reducing inflammation can decrease the risk for almost every chronic disease, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
#4: Nuts are one of the brain foods that can boost your kid’s intelligence:
They are a great source of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which are healthy fats that help your child’s heart and brain work better.
Read more:Top 25 foods that boost your kid’s intelligence
#5: Nuts are a good source of Calcium:
Almonds would be natural plant food with a very high percentage of calcium. In a serving size of 30g there is 75 mg of calcium.
Children who get enough calcium start their adulthood with the strongest bones possible. Source
Read more:Help your child grow taller with these 5 proven tips
#6: Nuts are rich in beneficial fiber:
Fiber is an important nutrient that most children and adults are not getting enough of each day. Fiber helps keeping things moving in the digestive tract. A diet that includes good sources of fiber may help prevent constipation.
Here are the nuts with highest fiber content per 1 ounce ( 28 g) of serving:
• Almonds: 3.5 g
• Pistachios: 2.9 g
• Hazelnuts: 2.9 g
• Pecans: 2.9 g
• Peanut: 2.6 g
• Macadamias: 2.4 g
• Brazil nuts: 2.1 g
#7: Nuts are a good source of plant-based protein:
Getting enough protein on a daily basis is essential for your child’s overall health. Protein also is vital for child growth and development. If a child is growing slowly or is small for their age, they may not be getting all the protein and nutrients needed for a healthy growth.
Adding nuts to your child’s diet helps increasing the amount of protein they get daily.
Here are the nuts with higher protein content per 100 gram: source
• Peanut: 24.4 g
• Almonds: 21.2 g
• Pistachios: 21.1 g
• Cashews: 15.3 g
• Walnuts: 15.2 g
• Hazelnuts: 15 g
• Pine nuts: 13.7 g
• Pecans: 9.2 g
• Macadamia nut: 7.9 g