Almonds are known for their nutty texture and mildly sweet flavor. Sweet almonds have a nutrient-rich profile, thus making its way into baby’s diet. While adding almonds to your infant’s weaning diet in an age-appropriate way can be beneficial, its potential to trigger allergic reactions cannot be undermined.
Read this post to know about the safety of almonds for babies, the nuts’ nutritional value, possible health benefits, and more.
Is It Safe To Give Almonds To Infants?
Yes, almonds, fed in an age-appropriate way, are safe to consume for babies and toddlers. However, do not serve whole almonds to a baby since they might choke on it. Instead, feed almonds to the baby in a paste or powdered form that is easy to swallow.
Almonds can provide nutrients, such as MUFA, fiber, protein, biotin, and vitamin E (1). Besides, the dynamic phytonutrient profile of the nuts offer various health benefits, which we will discuss later in the post (2).
When Can You Start Giving Almonds To Babies?
Babies above six months of age can start consuming almonds in a paste or powdered form,as part of their well-balanced weaning diet (3). Whole almonds or any other whole nuts should not be fed to children below the age of five years (4).
Stay alert towards any sign of allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance while introducing almonds to the baby. If anyone in your family has a history of food allergy or the baby has other food allergies, then consult a pediatrician before introducing almonds (5).
Soak the almonds overnight in water and either crush or grind it into a paste. Feed one-eighth of teaspoon when introducing. Soaking helps release anti-nutrient components in the almonds.
Nutritional Value Of Almonds
Almonds have considerable amounts of carbohydrate, fat, protein, and essential nutrients that can contribute to your baby’s recommended intake. Below is the approximate nutritional composition of one ounce (28.35g) of unroasted almonds (6) (7) (8) (9).
|Total lipid (fat)||14.2g||–|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||6.11g||–|
|Fiber, total dietary||3.54g||–|
|Phosphorus, P||136mg||275mg (AI)|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||7.27mg||4mg|
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, World Health Organization, and Oregon State University
*AI = Adequate intake
Along with continued breastfeeding up to at least 12 months, adding almonds to your baby’s diet in moderate amounts can enhance the overall diet’s nutritional value.
Possible Health Benefits Of Almonds For Babies
Almond intake,as part of a weaning diet,can provide the following health benefits to a baby.
- Supply energy:Infants and toddlers need energy for growth, development, and activity (10). One ounce of almonds provides 164 Kcal of energy that can significantly contribute to an infant’s energy needs. Besides, it could give some protein necessary for growth and sustenance.
- Support gut health: Research studies indicate that apart from maintaining healthy bowels, the dietary fiber from almonds also has prebiotic effects associated with an array of health benefits, such as enhanced gut health (11) (12).
- May boost brain health:Almonds are widely considered a brain power-boosting food due to the presence of vitamin E. Research indicates that the vitamins from almond may protect the brain from oxidative damage in the long run (13).
- May develop and strengthen bones: Almonds contain a significant amount of potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus that can potentially contribute to bone development and strengthening (14) (15).
- May enhance immunity and overall health: Almonds contain several essential micronutrients and bio active phytochemicals, like polyphenols. The secompounds may improve immunity and overall health through their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hypocholesterolemic, and insulin-sensitivity enhancing effects, in the long run (11) (16) (17).
- Absorb vitamins: They help absorb fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for bone development.
Possible Side Effects Of Almonds For Babies
Almonds are generally safe to consume.However, just like any other food, they do have their share of potential side effects.
- Gastric disturbances: Excessive consumption of almonds can cause the ingestion of high amounts of dietary fat and fiber. These may result in gastric disturbances, like indigestion, diarrhea, or stomachache in some babies.
- Allergic reactions: Some babies can be allergic to almonds on contact or consumption. Babies allergic to birch pollen can display cross-reactivity with almonds (18) (19). Check for allergy signs, such as hives, swelling of the mouth, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, etc. Discontinue feeding almonds or any product that may contain almonds and consult a doctor promptly.
Babies under 12 months of age should not consume almond milk. If your baby is older than 12 months, and is allergic or intolerant to cow’s milk, then consult a pediatrician before considering almond milk as a staple alternative.
Tips To Select And Store Almonds
Follow these simple tips to select and store almonds.
How to select almonds
Almonds are available in two forms.
- Shelled almonds are only the nuts with the hard, wooden shell removed.
- Unshelled almonds have the hard, wooden shell intact. You need to break the shell to get the nut inside.
Shelled almonds (without outer shell)
- Prefer sealed almonds to the ones sold in bulk bins.
- Check the packaging date to purchase fresh produce.
- If buying almonds from a bulk bin, take them from a reputable store.
- Choose almonds that are uniform in size and brown in color.
- Avoid almonds with pits, cracks, spots, and stains.
- Avoid almonds with a sharp, bitter odor that indicates rancidity.
- If buying pre-roasted almonds, prefer dry-roasted almonds without added sugar or salt to oil-roasted ones.
- Speak to the store attendant to know about the bulk bin almonds’ date of procurement and whether they have any other added ingredients.
Unshelled almonds (with the outer shell)
- Choose unshelled almonds that do not make much rattling sound when shaken. Too much rattling sound indicates that the almond is shrunken or aged.
- Check the shell carefully and ensure that they are uniform in size and do not have any cracks, stains, or holes.
How to store almonds
- Store unshelled almonds sealed in a bin or container in a cool, dark place away from heat, moisture, and air.
- For shelled and packed almonds, read the storage instructions given on the pack. Most manufacturers recommend:
- Consumption within one month of opening the package.
- The product stays sealed for freshness unless opened for use.
- Refrigerate unsealed packages for longer shelf-life.
How To Include Almonds In Your Baby’s Diet?
The following are the various ways to include almonds in a baby’s or toddler’s solid food diet. Try to give blanched (soaked and peeled) almonds.
Soak raw almonds overnight. Make a paste or grate it into a fine pulp. Combine with a saffron thread and a pinch of cardamom to further enhance the nutritional properties and flavor. Mix it with pureed fruit.
- Blanched almonds can be turned into a fine almond paste or powder without any pieces or lumps in it.
- Introduce no more than half a teaspoon of paste or powder. You can add it to the baby’s cereals, porridges, and purees.
- Check for signs and symptoms of allergy/sensitivity. Follow a three-day wait rule and introduce no new food within the stipulated time.
- After the baby gets adjusted to almonds, gradually increase the amount to one teaspoon.
- For older babies and toddlers, serve almond paste or powder as part of pancakes, smoothies, and other food items.
- You can use almond flour in your baking recipes, such as cake and muffins, for a toddler.
- For toddlers, mix coarsely ground almonds to soups, salads, sandwiches, and rolls.You may use almond oil as a salad dressing or use almond milk for shakes and smoothies.
Quick And Healthy Almond Recipes For Babies And Toddlers
Here are some easy-to-prepare and delectable almond recipes that you can try for your baby and toddler.
1. Almond and apple puree
The delicious mix of almond paste and apple puree is suitable for babies above six months.
You will need:
- 1/2 cup homemade apple puree (fresh)
- 1 cup almond (soaked and peeled)
- Put the almonds in a thick bottom food processor or blender and blend to make a fine paste. Ensure no lumps or small chunks are left.
- Mix half-teaspoon of almond paste to apple puree and serve.
- Store the remaining paste in an airtight container in the refrigerator for no more than three to four days.
2. Almond milk
The alternative to dairy is suitable for toddlers.
You will need:
- 1 cup raw almonds (soaked overnight or two days)
- 2 cups water
- Drain and rinse the soaked almonds under cool running water.
- Put them in a blender/food processor, add water, and blend continuously for two to three minutes or until the almonds blend into opaque white water.
- Place a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth over a bowl and pour the almond milk over it.
- Hold the cloth or strainer firmly and press out the fine almond meal thoroughly, and squeeze out the milk.
- If you wish to add sweetener, opt for brown sugar, and serve right away.
3. Almond smoothie
The mouth-watering and nutritious recipe is suitable for babies aged eight months and older.
You will need:
- ½ cup almonds (soaked and peeled)
- 1 cup banana (chopped)
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (unsweetened)
- 1 cup water
- Blend all the ingredients until you get a smoothie with flowy consistency.
- If needed, add water to adjust its consistency and serve immediately.
- For older babies and toddlers, add seeds and nuts powder, and serve topped with chopped fresh fruits.
4. Oats and almonds porridge
A healthy breakfast recipe for babies older than 12 months.
You will need:
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 banana (pureed)
- 1tsp almonds powder
- 1tsp almond pieces (thinly sliced)
- 1tsp cinnamon powder
- 1tsp brown sugar (optional)
- Put a thick-bottom pan over a low flame, heat the milk, and add banana puree, almond powder, and cinnamon powder.
- After 40 seconds, add the oats with constant stirring, and cook for over two minutes.
- As milk thickens and oats look cooked, switch off the flame, and let the porridge cool.
- Transfer some porridge to a serving bowl, garnish with grated almonds, and serve while still warm.
- You can top the porridge with brown sugar and some thinly sliced fruits.
Almonds are nutrient-dense and can be a healthy addition to your baby’s regular diet. You can make almonds a part of several baby food recipes but add it in moderate amounts. Start with a small quantity to make sure there are no side effects.
2. NyoNyo Win et al.; Phytochemical, Nutritional and Antioxidant Activity Evaluation of Seeds of Almond (Terminaliacatappa L.); International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications
3. Weaning – Introducing your baby to solids; Allergy.UK
4. Foods to avoid giving babies and young children; NHS UK
5. When, What, and How to Introduce Solid Foods; CDC
6. Almonds, unroasted, FDC ID: 784364; Fooddata Central; USDA
7. Feeding and nutrition of infants and young children; WHO
8. Zinc; Oregon State University
9. Phosphorus; Oregon State University
10. NutritionalNeeds; Wicworks, USDA
11. David P. Richardson et al.; The nutritional and health benefits of almonds: a healthy food choice; Researchgate
12. Prebiotic Potential Of Almonds; Science Daily
13. Repeated administration of almonds increases brain acetylcholine levels and enhances memory function in healthy rats while attenuates memory deficits in animal model of amnesia; Science Direct
14. Charles T Price et al.; Essential Nutrients for Bone Health and a Review of their Availability in the Average North American Diet; NCBI
15. Calcium and Bone Health; Help Guide
16. Alison Kamil and C.Y. Oliver Chen, Health Benefits of Almonds beyond Cholesterol Reduction; American Chemical Society
17. Can eating almonds prevent Type 2 diabetes?; Diabetes UK
18. Almonds; Anaphylaxis Campaign
19. Tree Nut Allergy; American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
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