Infant nutrition

How to give children nuts without fear of choking


When they reach 6 months of age, with the start of complementary feeding, babies begin to try different foods little by little. The order is completely irrelevant and, in fact, it should vary between families, since the main idea is that, by trying these foods, the baby prepares to participate in the usual menus of his own family. What about walnuts or pistachios? How to give nuts to children without fear of choking?

During the last 50 years, the recommendations have varied so much that the way our parents and grandparents fed us has little or nothing to do with what we will do with our little ones. Today, two main concepts are perfectly established:

- That an early introduction of solids does not benefit the baby.

- That from 12 months, the baby can eat practically the same as an adult, always respecting allergenic foods in the case of children with a family history of allergies.

However, when we talk about the introduction of nuts, the subject generates great controversy. To begin with, the most widespread trend in our country is the diet based on purees and crushed foods, so that the baby does not have the need to chew, and therefore does not learn to do so. While this trend is changing, for years it has remained the only way to feed babies, unnecessarily lengthening the shredding stage even beyond 2 years.

Nuts as such have no place in this diet, since the baby would be unable to manage their chewing. In this case, adding them to the puree may be a possibility, although, given the fatty nature of this food, they should only be added as a replacement for the teaspoon of raw olive oil that is usually added to vegetable puree.

If the feeding has been regulated by the baby, the confidence of the parents in the chewing abilities of their little one will be the only clue to ensure that he is ready to eat nuts. It is very difficult to establish a specific age, since, depending on each child, it can vary between 18 months and 5 or 6 years, even more if the child has some added difficulty.

Nuts are one of the foods that have a higher concentration of nutrients related to the brain or memory, making them ideal in childhood, when learning is at its best.

Specifically, contain unsaturated fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and trace elements, which are essential essential nutrients for good growth and optimal intellectual development. These nutrients are those that, although they are essential for the optimal functioning of the body's organs, the body cannot synthesize them by itself and must be provided through the diet.

Omega 3 fatty acids are the essential fatty acids found in nuts. The most important in children's diet are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), whose functions are related to the development of the brain and sight, in addition to being key to the proper functioning of the communication systems between neurons and cells.

Among the minerals, the content of selenium stands out, important for its link to the immune system thanks to its antioxidant power, and related to the absorption of vitamin E, and copper, which enhances the absorption of iron as it facilitates its transport and the absorption of vitamin C, closely related to the absorption of this mineral.

In addition, copper participates in the formation of hemoglobin, and is essential for the development and maintenance of bone structures, tendons, connective tissue and the vascular system, also forming part of various enzymatic units.

Nuts also contain zinc, a mineral widely distributed in the body, necessary above all for the maintenance of intestinal cells, for good bone health and for a good functioning of the immune system; and magnesium, which in addition to being key for bones and teeth, is vital for the transmission of nerve impulses, the contraction and relaxation of muscles, the transport of oxygen and the functioning of numerous enzymes.

Taking into account the relationship between the contribution of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and their caloric content (mainly the fat contribution), the healthiest nuts are not peanuts, so widely spread, but chestnuts, hazelnuts and almonds, followed by pistachios and walnuts.

And now that you know both the benefits of nuts and the most correct way to introduce them to children's diets, it's time to get down to business. Here are some recipes made with today's star ingredient: nuts.

You can read more articles similar to How to give children nuts without fear of choking, in the Infant Nutrition On-Site category.

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