Should asparagus be on your baby’s menu? When they are ready to be introduced to solid foods, creating meal plans can be challenging. As parents, we only tend to think of giving our children the most obvious fruits and vegetables.
Being introduced to solid foods is an exciting time for your baby, as they get to experience new tastes, textures and temperatures. While we tend to stick to whatever is readily available in jars sold at the grocery store, it is okay to look towards other food options, such as asparagus.
Asparagus is a vegetable that is low and calories but also a good source of potassium and folate. There are healthy antioxidants in its stalks and it provides some essential nutrients, including vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc, and calcium. It also provides a good amount of dietary fiber, rutin, vitamin A, protein, folic acid, vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin K, riboflavin, manganese, iron, phosphorus, and selenium. Extremely green asparagus is very high in vitamin C.
Can I Give My Baby Asparagus? Answer: From 8-10 Months
Most babies are introduced to solid foods between four and six months of age. Until then, formula and breast milk provide all of your child’s essential nutrients. Your baby will give you clear signs to let you know that he or she is ready for solid foods.
Some of these signs include head control, sitting well with support, chewing motions, significant weight gain, growing appetite and showing curiosity about what you are eating.
When to Start Solid Foods
For most infants, you can start with any pureed solid food. Discuss with your child’s pediatrician if they have a preference as to if your child starts with fruits or vegetables. Once your baby is ready to take on pureed fruits or vegetables, asparagus will provide your child with a solid dose of vitamins and minerals.
While it is healthy, asparagus, in a similar fashion to cauliflower or broccoli, is not really the best option for your baby’s first vegetable. It is known to be the cause of gas and may prove difficult for your baby’s developing stomach to handle, unless you puree it. Asparagus makes a great finger food, and the best time to give it to an infant is between eight and ten months old.
When making asparagus at home, there are plenty of ways to prepare it for your baby. You can steam the asparagus on the stovetop until they are tender. You can stir fry the vegetable in a skillet with oil until the asparagus is crisp. You can even microwave it to save time. After you have cooked your asparagus, you can either puree it in the blender or food processor for smaller children, or cut into very small pieces and serve as finger food for an older child.
If you would like to add asparagus to your child’s diet, there are plenty of recipes available in baby cookbooks or on the Internet to help you add asparagus to other food items, such as casseroles, soups and chicken. Fresh asparagus is often the best choice when cooking, but canned and frozen are just as good.
Also, asparagus is found by the USDA to contain the least amount of pesticides, so you do not have to buy organic.
What Goes With Asparagus
Remember that all new foods should be introduced to babies at least three days apart. Asparagus pairs well with carrots, potatoes, squash, brown rice, lentils, pasta and chicken. If you plan on introducing asparagus to your baby paired with another food, make sure you pair it with one your child has already consumed.
This way, if your child does have an allergic reaction, you will know that asparagus was the culprit. Signs of an allergic reaction may include diarrhea, vomiting, a swollen face, wheezing or a rash. If any of these symptoms occur after your child eats, call 911 immediately.
Vitamins and Minerals
Though an uncommon choice, asparagus is a great source of vitamins and minerals for your baby. Being able to serve it as a puree or finger food keeps it on the menu as your child grows. Remember, though, that asparagus can cause gas, so minimize their intake and watch for signs of bloating.
Also, if serving as a finger food, make sure to cut the asparagus into very small pieces to refrain from becoming a choking hazard. If you have any concerns about feeding asparagus to your child, consult his or her physician to discuss.