Ensuring your baby gets the essential vitamins and nutrients is important, and canned vegetables pose a sort of conundrum.
Until your baby celebrates his or her first birthday, they will get their essential vitamins and nutrients from breast milk or formula. Even though they start eating solid foods and consuming other drinks, breast milk or formula is still the most important part of your child’s diet and should never be replaced.
When your child starts solid foods, usually between four and six months of age, there is no doubt that vegetables become an important part of your child’s diet. Vegetables are very rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients and play an important role in healthy growth and development. Certain vegetables contain certain benefits, but all are necessary for the health of your child.
While fresh and organic vegetables are preferred, your child will still get the essential vitamins and minerals from canned vegetables. The only downfall to canned vegetables is that they are stored in a liquid concentrate to ensure their “freshness”. While this concentrate contains ingredients that are not as healthy as eating a fresh vegetable, there is nothing that would cause your child any harm.
Can I Give My Baby Canned Vegetables? Answer: Not Recommended.
Some brands of canned vegetables are stored in natural juices. While these are still not as beneficial as fresh vegetables, those stored in natural juices are more healthy than those stored in liquid concentrates. This information is usually found on the front of the can, so be sure to check the labels to see how your vegetables are stored. If you want to buy ones stored in natural juices, you may have to switch brands.
Canned vegetables are found in many homes because of their affordability and convenience. As previously stated, your child will get the most beneficial nutrients from fresh organic vegetables, but canned vegetables will still provide your child with vitamins and minerals that will help them develop.
How to Prepare Them
When it comes to feeding your child vegetables, you need to make sure they are prepared so that your child can consume them without any choking hazards. If your child is under eight months of age, it is best to cook your canned vegetables and mash or puree them. Once your child is around eight months of age and has started to feed themselves, vegetables make a great finger food. Not only are they healthy, but they can be cut up for your child to easily feed to themself. Make sure to choose vegetables that are easy to mash in your child’s mouth, such as carrots, peas or potatoes. Some vegetables still remain a bit hard even after cooking, and these should either be avoided or thoroughly monitored while your child eats.
The Introduction is Key
Like with any new foods, you need to introduce new foods to your child’s diet three days apart. Once you introduce your child to one vegetable, make sure to wait at least three days before introducing them to another. This way, if your child has an allergic reaction, you will know which food caused it. For this reason, it is best to feed your child one specific canned vegetable instead of the mixed vegetable selection. Once your child has tried all the vegetables in a mixed vegetable can, you can give them those vegetables to ensure they get a variety.
If your child spits out a certain vegetable after the initial introduction, do not assume that your child simply does not like it. Sometimes a new taste or texture can cause your child to spit something out. It can actually take up to ten new tries to see if your child enjoys a certain food. If your child spits out peas, wait a few days and try again. The second time around, they may eat them up. Some children also do not like repetition. If you know that your child enjoys carrots, they may become tired of them if that is all they have for weeks at at time.
Veggies are Good
Remember, once your child is ready to start solids, vegetables are the best type of food. They are great for mashing for younger children and perfect finger foods for older children. While fresh organic vegetables will give your child the most benefit, there is nothing harmful about giving your child canned vegetables. You can always opt to purchase those stored in natural juices versus those stored in liquid concentrate.
If you have any questions about canned vegetables, or certain vegetables in general, it is best to consult with your child’s physician. He or she will be able to further discuss your concerns and answer your questions in more thorough detail.