They say there’s always room for Jell-O, but what about for babies? At first it might seem like the perfect sort of food for them, since it doesn’t require teeth to eat. But of course there’s the sugar to consider, as well as the lack of any nutritional value.
Of course, you can always buy the sugar-free varieties of Jell-O, but those contain artificial sweeteners so it’s back to square one. So even though this seems like a colorful and tasty treat to give your baby, it’s something that they don’t really need, and so that you could hold off on it at least through the first year.
Unless you put fruit in your Jell-O, there’s really not anything in it that’s going to give your baby any sort of nutrients, vitamins, or any other beneficial substances. That’s why most moms will opt out of giving their babies something like Jell-O, and when they do, they will limit the intake to just a few bites.
Can I Give My Baby Jell-O? Answer: Not Recommended
You don’t want to deprive your baby of every new taste sensation out there, and since Jell-O comes in a multitude of flavors it is something that you’ll eventually want to let them enjoy. However, while they are still so young and their system is still developing you’ll want to give it as much help as possible in the form of nutritious foods.
Healthier alternatives would be puréed fruits without the sugar, so that your baby it’s all the nutrients, as well as different flavors that they can sample. The older they get the more you can experiment with different types of fruits, eventually getting into some of the more tart and citrusy fruits that are too harsh for younger babies.
The Problem with Artificial Sweeteners
The reason you don’t want to get into the habit of giving your baby sugar-free Jell-O, or other foods that are claiming to be sugar-free is that they replace the sugar with artificial sweeteners. A better alternative would be to let your baby enjoy eating things that are sweetened with all-natural sweeteners like pure cane sugar. But even those should be kept to a minimum because you don’t want your baby’s blood sugar levels to peak and plummet.
The other reason why you don’t want to get into the habit of giving them Uber–sweet things is that they will most likely develop a liking for it. Just like adults, babies can develop a sweet tooth if they are encouraged to. Once they get a taste for the sweet stuff, they might turn their nose up at foods they used to like. It is a way of developing a habit that otherwise they would not have, so be careful about what you’re doing.
The Importance of a Balanced Diet
In the first year your baby is like a blank slate. You want to keep that slate as clean as possible for as long as you can. Of course, they are going to be introduced to all sorts of foods and ingredients at some point when they start eating food that the rest of the family is eating, but when they are relying on you for all of their intake you have almost total control over what goes in. It is very important to set a good foundation, because it can last for several years to come, and even carry over to times when they are able to make their own food choices.
When to Introduce Sweets and Treats
It’s best to save the sweet stuff for when your baby is older, and you can use it as a negotiating tactic. Usually around one and a half to 2 years old you could start introducing things like Jell-O to them, as well as other fun treats. It’s great to see their face light up when they have something that is really delicious, especially if it is a food that you enjoy.
The older your baby gets, the more they will appreciate the food as well, and you can teach them that these sort of foods are meant to be enjoyed every once in a while, and not as the basis of their everyday diet.