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7 Amazing Health Benefits Of Watermelon For Babies

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Watermelon is a tropical fruit containing 93% water and phytochemicals, which are found to be beneficial to human health (1). It is also a good source of multivitamins like B,C, and E and multiminerals like phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, and iron. All these nutritive components are pivotal for proper growth and development of your baby.

In this MomJunction post, we tell you when you can start giving watermelon for babies, its nutritional values, the potential health benefits it can provide and the various recipes you can try with the fruit.

When Can Babies Eat Watermelon?

Generally, watermelon is recommended for babies from eight months of age but some parents introduce the fruit at six months itself. This can be done too, provided you stay conscious about the possible allergic reactions to watermelon.

A few sensitive babies might get rashes if they eat any type of melon due to the acidic nature of these fruits. The signs of allergy could include rashes, diarrhea, runny nose, and vomiting. At times, watermelon may lead to acidity as the fructose present in the fruit may not be entirely absorbed by the baby’s gastrointestinal system.

However, generalities may not apply to your baby and hence you need to consult a pediatrician before making a choice.

Nutritional Value Of Watermelon

Here is the proximate nutritional composition of watermelon, raw (100gm)
Water (g)91.45
Energy (Kcal)30
Energy (KJ)127
Protein (g)0.61
Total lipid (fat) (g)0.15
Carbohydrate, by difference (g)7.55
Fiber, total dietary (g)0.4
Sugars (g)6.20
Calcium (mg)7
Iron (mg)0.24
Magnesium (mg)10
Phosphorus (mg)11
Potassium (mg)112
Sodium (mg)1
Zinc (mg)0.10
Fluoride (mcg)1.5
Vitamin C (mg)8.1
Folate (mcg)3
Choline (mg)4.1
Vitamin A, RAE (mcg)28
Carotene, beta (mcg)303
Vitamin A, IU569
Lycopene (mcg)4532
Phytosterols (mg)2

Source: USDA (2)

Read: Measures To Tackle Food Allergies In Babies]

Potential Health Benefits Of Watermelon For Babies

The nutrients in watermelon can benefit the baby in the below ways.

  1. Maintains water balance: The fruit helps in hydrating the body as it has 93% water and 7% flesh. It prevents dehydration, especially during summers. The electrolytes, sodium and potassium, help in reducing the chances of getting a heat stroke.
  2. Good for heart: Antioxidant lycopene, which is good for the ehart, increases in the fruit as it ripens. Watermelons are also rich in carotenoids like neurosporene, lutein, phytofluene, phytoene, and beta-carotene. Carotenoids help in keeping the vision intact and maintaining cardiovascular health.
  3. Boosts immune system: Vitamin C helps in fighting infections, strengthens the immune system, and supports iron absorption.
  4. Improves eyesight: Vitamin A supports in strengthening the little one’s eyesight, teeth, and mucus membrane.
  5. Bone development: Watermelon also contains calcium and manganese which help in the development of bones. Calcium is essential for hormone secretion, and magnesium helps in building muscle and nerve function in babies.

[Read: Calcium Rich Foods For Babies]

  1. Vitamin B complex: Vitamin B complex is a cluster of vitamins that assist in red blood cells production, development of the nervous system, strengthening the immune system, brain function, and regulation of carbohydrate metabolism.
  2. Aids in digestion: Watermelon is rich in dietary fiber, which helps in keeping the digestive tract healthy, preventing constipation, and irregular bowel movements.

If you are planning to add watermelon to your baby’s diet, you would want to choose the best quality fruit for them. We cover that in the next section.

[ Read: Health Benefits of Avocado For Babies ]

How To Select Watermelon?

Melons do not fall in the list of the ‘dirty dozen foods’ of pesticide contamination. You may choose an organic or a regular watermelon. But keep these things in mind while selecting one:

  • A fully grown watermelon is heavier. It should look smooth and a little dull on the top.
  • You can know if it is ripe by giving a good thump with your finger. A ripe watermelon should sound hollow when tapped.
  • Check for cuts, bruises, sagging depressions and spots, which indicate rotten or over ripened fruit.
  • In a fully ripened watermelon, the ground spot or underbelly turns yellow or creamy. Farmfresh watermelons are extra crunchy, and juicy.
  • Do not buy frozen or canned watermelon. Avoid buying pre-cut watermelons for babies as they have a high risk of contamination.

How To Store And Feed Watermelon To Babies?

  • Wash the fruit under running water.
  • Store it in a clean, dry place if not cut. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the lycopene and beta-carotene levels in watermelon rise when they are stored uncut at room temperature.
  • Cut the fruit into small pieces, remove the seeds, and then feed it to your little one.
  • Store the cut watermelon in the refrigerator in an air-tight container or wrap it with a food grade plastic over the side that has been cut. Refrigerate the cut melon for not more than 24 hours, if using for your baby.
  • Bring the refrigerated melon to room temperature before serving it to your baby, to prevent a cold.

If your baby is unable to eat the tiny solid watermelon pieces, try mashing them up a little.

You can mix melons with foods such as bananas, carrots, avocado, peaches, blueberries, chicken, yogurt, etc.

Caution: Watermelon is full of seeds that increase the choking risk. Remove all the seeds before giving the fruit to your baby. Feed the baby only when they sit in an upright position.

[Read: Kiwi Recipes For Babies]

Watermelon Recipes For Babies

Here are more ways to offer watermelon to your baby. Try these simple watermelon recipes to provide refreshing fruit treats to your little one.

1. Watermelon Puree

Watermelon Puree

Image: iStoc

Preparation time: 10 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 watermelon (cut, de-seeded)

How to:

  1. Place the slices in a blender and make a watermelon puree for baby.
  2. If you would like, add any other food or cereal to thicken it up.

By adding in other fruits to the watermelon puree, you may expose your baby to different flavors. Other fruit purees that go well with the watermelon puree include avocado, banana, or mango.

Note: Do not freeze melon puree. The frozen watermelon puree gives a thawed product that could be tasteless and gritty.

2. Watermelon Salad

Watermelon Salad

Image: Shutterstock

Preparation time: 15 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 small banana (sliced)
  • 1 small peach (diced)
  • 1/2 cup watermelon (cubes)

How to:

  1. Mix all the fruits in a bowl and mash a little to serve as finger food.

Note: You may mix yogurt to the fruit salad.

3. Watermelon Soup

Watermelon soup

Image: Shutterstock

Preparation time: 15 minutes

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup apple juice (unsweetened)
  • 1tbsp natural yogurt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup watermelon

How to:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon if desired.

4. Watermelon Juice

Watermelon juice for babies

Image: iStock

Preparation time: 10 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 cup sweet watermelon (cut and de-seeded)

How to:

  1. Puree the watermelon slices in a blender.
  2. Strain the juice and squeeze the flesh
  3. Feed the extracted juice to your baby.

[Read: Blackberries For Babies]

5. Berry Melon Punch

Berry Melon Punch

Image: Shutterstock

Preparation time: 15 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 cup watermelon (diced, de-seeded)
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • 2 strawberries (chopped)
  • 1tbsp sugar syrup

How to:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a food processor by adding enough water.

6. Watermelon Smoothie

Watermelon smoothie

Image: Shutterstock

Preparation time: 15 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 cup chilled, chopped watermelon
  • 1/2 cup banana slices
  • 2tbsp coconut milk
  • 1tbsp vanilla ice cream

How to:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a juicer and mix to make a soft smoothie.

Serve watermelon when your baby is ready for it. The refreshing fruit aids in the overall health of your darling. Be careful about the choking hazard and allergies associated with the melon fruit. Do not be alarmed if you see red color baby poop as it is common after a watermelon feed.

Have some watermelon baby food recipes to share with us? Do leave them in the comment section below.

References:

1. Ambreen Naz et al.;Watermelon lycopene and allied health claims;National Centre for Biotechnology Information (2014)
2. Watermelon, raw;Full Report 09326; USDA
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