Because it’s a somewhat healthy choice for adults, many parents ask can I give my baby hummus? When your baby is old enough to start eating solid foods, watching them experience new tastes and textures is an exciting time for all parents alike.
Most babies can usually start to enjoy solid foods around four to six months of age. Most children usually start with cereal, fruits and vegetables.
Around the eight to nine month milestone, it is time to start adding more tastes and textures to their diets, while still making sure everything is easy to chew and swallow.
Jarred meats are added to their diet along with other fruits, vegetables and snacks with thicker, coarser textures.
Can I Give My Baby Hummus? Yes, at the 6 Month Mark for Most Babies
One healthy and tasty treat your baby should try is hummus (also known as hommos). Hummus is a food dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and blended with other simple ingredients, such as garlic, red pepper or spinach.
The earliest known recipe to contain something like hummus dates back to 13th century Egypt. Today, it is most popular throughout the Middle East, but it has gained popularity across the globe. It is also a great source of complete protein, iron, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin E.
The ingredients in hummus vary from brand to brand, and it is important to check the label of your hummus before deciding if it is safe for your baby.
Concerns with Tahini
The ingredient in most hummus that concerns most parents is tahini, which is a paste made from sesame seeds and oil. Sesame seeds are one of the top ten most allergenic foods, so if there is a family history of food allergies, of if your child suffers from other allergies, it is best to delay introducing hummus to child’s diet until after the one-year mark.
Hummus can generally be introduced to babies around the nine-month milestone as long as it is bland. Babies’ intestinal systems are not fully developed yet, and they may have trouble digesting certain spicy ingredients. Plus, hummus does contain cooked chickpeas and garlic, two ingredients that are known to cause gas.
How to Introduce
When introducing hummus, always start with a small amount and serve with foods you know your child already enjoys (carrots, crackers, etc.). This way, if your child gets an upset stomach, you know the culprit. After the initial introduction, it is best to make sure you do not feed your baby something “new” for at least three days. This allows time to ensure your baby does not have an allergic reaction to hummus.
Spicier hummus can be introduced to children around 24 months of age. Older children are more accustomed to new foods and have a more developed intestinal system. Small doses of spicy food can be given to children under the 24-month mark, but must not be started until after a child’s first birthday. If your child is has shown a sensitivity to new foods, it is recommended to more bland foods for the time being. Food allergies are not really a big concern at this point, but spicy foods have been known to cause irritation to the digestive tract.
How to Make Your Own
If you are worried about the tahini and cannot find a commercial brand without it, hummus is quite simple to make at home. There are plenty of easy recipes available in cookbooks or on the Internet. Plus, making hummus at home allows you to add ingredients you enjoy (or sneak in ingredients your child may not like but needs in his or her diet). Get creative with your recipes and try making your hummus with something out of the norm. It may just become a new family favorite.
Remember that hummus is a great healthy food for your child to enjoy. It is easy to prepare and soft enough to not be a choking hazard. There are so many different ways hummus can be used, making it the perfect dish to have on hand for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time. Place it on a cracker, use it as a sandwich filler, roll it in a pita, or just dip a vegetable in it…the possibilities are endless, delicious and safe for the whole family.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, it is always best to check with your child’s doctor. He or she will be able to better assist you and discuss any questions you may have.