When things chill off outside it’s nice to have a warm bowl of chili to combat the cold. But is it something that your baby can have?
The first thing to consider is all of the spices. Everyone likes their chili a certain way, and if your recipe calls for a lot of different tongue melters it’s definitely best to keep it away from your little one. The next thing to consider is if it’s a healthy choice for your baby. They might not be used to foods with so much going on. Also, the fat and salt content are likely too high for them.
Their bodies are still in the developmental phase, and just aren’t suited to tackle a food like chili that is full of different spices and contains so many ingredients.
Can I Give My Baby Chili? Answer: Not Recommended
Baby Center says its best to wait for 24 months before introducing spicy foods to your baby. But besides the spices, chili is a complex food and it’s also a good idea to introduce foods in stages, building up the ingredients as you go along. With the beef, beans, tomatoes, onions, cheese and other toppings, there are a lot of things your baby might disagree with.
Most of us would have to admit that chili without spice isn’t chili at all, and for some the spicier the better. Even mainstream chili like the kind served at Wendy’s has some spice to it because that’s what people expect. So the chances are that the chili you’re thinking of giving to your baby would be considered very spicy by baby standards. Remember that their taste buds are still developing as well, so what we consider bland they might find spicy.
Introducing More Complex Foods
It’s best to disassemble the ingredients in chili and introduce them one at a time over their first two years. That way you can make a spiceless chili for them before they hit the two year mark, because if you’re using lean meat, it can actually be a healthy meal with the protein from the beef, and carbs from the beans, and assorted vegetables that you think they’ll like.
The only problem is that any recipe you do come up with for baby chili is likely not going to appeal to the rest of your family, so it might be kind of a waste to make a batch of it just for your baby.
Baby and Beef
Most chili recipes call for beef as a foundational ingredient. While some parents don’t want to give their babies too much meat too early, other parents are OK with introducing meat at the same time as other solid foods. Be sure that it’s ground up well, and that your baby only gets small pieces at a time, because it can be too hard to chew up for them, even if their teeth have come in.
Baby and Beans
Some babies respond well to beans, while in others it causes massive amounts of gas, similar to adults. If you are going to feed your baby beans try to stick to the organic brands, and rinse the beans after draining the water out. This can help cut down on how much gas is produced during digestion.
Easy on the Cheese
Cheese is one popular topping for chili that should be kept to a minimum when giving it to your 2 year old. It can cause constipation, and any health benefits are overshadowed by the fat content and the cholesterol. Most of the time it’s just a sprinkle, but for a toddler that may even be too much. You may want to consider skipping it altogether, unless you find that they’re very active and can handle heavier foods.
It’s good to remember that your baby won’t be a baby for long, and they’ll be eating with the rest of the family soon enough. There’s no need to rush them along on their development to give them foods like chili. While it may get tiresome preparing them meals that are separate from the rest of the family, it’s important that they get all of the nutrients they need from foods that are appropriate for their age and their body’s development.