Ovaltine has been around for quite some time now, and was even featured as the radio clue in the movie The Christmas Story. But is it something that is actually good for you to drink, and is it something that you’d want to give to your baby for optimum health.
In almost every instance it’s not a good idea to give your baby processed foods, and one can almost make an across the board statement as to giving your baby mass-produced foods. There are simply too many preservatives, too many low-grade foods, and too many possibilities that the food in question contains things that your baby won’t be able to handle, or that will be detrimental to their health in the long run.
Since it does contain vitamins many people will assume that it is healthy. But in actuality it is mostly sugar, and therefore is something that you’ll want to hold off on until they’re older. There’s no need for a baby to consumer large amounts of low-grade sugar, and so you don’t need to give them Ovaltine because any nutritional benefit it contains is overshadowed by the amount of sugar it has. In an 11 gram serving, 9 grams of it is sugar. So it’s chocolate-flavored, chocolate-colored sugar. Not something to put on your “must feed my baby” list.
Can I Give My Baby Ovaltine? Answer: Not Recommended
When big food corporations make a product like Ovaltine, they make it assuming that it will be used by adults and children. Babies need special consideration during these early years of development, and you should avoid products that come in powder form or are otherwise heavily processed, and not specifically intended for infant use. Later on when they’re a toddler you’ll need to make the determination on whether you’re going to introduce them to these foods, and how much of their diet will consist of foods made by the big companies, or if you’ll go more towards organic and all-natural foods from local suppliers.
The First Ingredient is Sugar
The biggest reason you don’t want to get into the habit of giving your baby Ovaltine is that it is mostly comprised of sugar. This is not pure cane sugar, but rather just ordinary industrial grade sugar that has been linked to problems like tooth decay, diabetes, food cravings, high blood pressure, and more. And that’s in adults, imagine what it’s doing to a baby’s still-forming system.
The Second Ingredient is Alkalized Cocoa
If you thought you’d be getting the health benefits that can come from cocoa in the form of antioxidants, most of them will have been destroyed during the alkalization process. While this process might make the cocoa taste better, and look more like what we expect chocolate to look like, it strips the cocoa of its natural essence and makes it so there isn’t much health benefit remaining.
What’s interesting and indicative of how large food conglomerates obscure data like this is that on the Hershey’s page about Alkalized Cocoa there’s no mention of the effects it has on the antioxidants. It only lists the benefits for manufacturers such as improving the functionality of the cocoa.
A Mix of Vitamins and Minerals
They highlight that this still comes with an assortment of vitamins and minerals, but your baby should be getting these through the foods they’re eating, or the breast milk they’re drinking. It’s best not to give your baby a catalog of vitamins in the form of unnaturally fortified products like this one, but rather to give these to them in the form of whole foods pureed and easy to digest.
Overall, Ovaltine is not something that you would want to go out of your way to make sure your baby gets their daily serving of it. In fact, you should hold off until they’re able to move around and are highly active so they’re able to burn up the excessive amount of sugar it contains. You might also want to nix the idea altogether, because this doesn’t seem like the nutritional superfood it is often thought of as. For your own enjoyment, it does seem to be more nutritious than a typical packet of hot chocolate, since it does contain some vitamins whereas hot cocoa usually does not.