Beetroot is one of the most popular vegetables in our country: it is well stored, grows well in household plots, is inexpensive, has a pleasant taste and a huge amount of nutrients in its composition. Beets are present as the main ingredient in a wide variety of dishes - soups, side dishes, salads, snacks. But it is precisely about this root vegetable for the nutrition of infants that many doubts arise - is a vegetable suitable for introducing it into complementary foods, when and how children under one year old can be given raw and boiled beets to eat, drink beet juice?
Why are there restrictions on the use of the product?
For all its useful qualities beets are not introduced into complementary foods too early.
That is, this is far from the first vegetable that it makes sense to introduce a child to. Beets have several disadvantages.
- The root crop is able to accumulate a large amount of nitrates, which the baby's body cannot cope with.
- Beetroot is one of the most potentially allergenic vegetables (for details on how beet allergy manifests itself in children and adults and how to fix this problem, read here).
- When eaten at an early age, beets can cause diarrhea.
At what age can complementary foods be given?
From how many months or years to start giving beets to children, is it possible for an 8 or 10 month old baby to eat a vegetable and in what quantity?
In some countries, for example, in India or the UK, beets are given to babies during breastfeeding from the age of six months (you can find out about whether beets are allowed with HS and how to correctly introduce this vegetable into the diet of a nursing mother here). Our pediatricians advise not to rush and wait eight months. Only at this age it is recommended to introduce beet puree into the baby's diet, necessarily mixed with other vegetables or cereals.
Attention! As a first complementary food, beets are given only boiled and mashed. At first, you should limit yourself to half a teaspoon.
If the baby tolerates the root crop well, then gradually you can increase the amount to three tablespoons. It is not recommended to give beets more often than twice a week. In this case, the total volume of root vegetables in vegetable purees should be a maximum of 30%.
Starting from ten months of age, children can add beets to soups and salads, add them to vegetable casseroles and pancakes.
What is better to eat before a year: raw or boiled vegetable?
Without a doubt, in its raw form, the root vegetable contains much more vitamins and minerals, but up to a year old beets can be given to children only thermally processed, that is, when it is boiled, baked, or steamed.
A raw vegetable has a very strong irritating effect on the baby's intestines and is more likely to cause allergies. In a boiled root vegetable, part of the vitamins is destroyed, however, the amount of fruit acids that adversely affect the children's digestive system decreases. Plus, during the cooking process, most of the nitrates goes into beet broth, which is not eaten. The most useful elements: fiber, pectin, iron, magnesium, potassium and many others - are preserved in the boiled vegetable.
For children suffering from intestinal colic or with a tendency to food allergies, even boiled beets are introduced into complementary foods only from 12 months. If you introduce beets into the baby's diet too early, intestinal problems may begin - diarrhea, indigestion. If there are nitrates in the vegetable, the baby's body, unable to cope with them, may show signs of poisoning.
How is the root vegetable useful, are there any contraindications?
- Beetroot is a very useful root vegetable, in its composition it contains the amino acids necessary for children, organic acids, pectins, glucose and fructose, minerals and trace elements, including iron, iodine and folic acid. The vegetable contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus.
- Beetroot is an indispensable aid in the treatment of iron deficiency anemia in children, as it contains iron, which is easily absorbed by the child's body.
- For constipation, pediatricians prescribe beet puree or juice to babies - they are able to cope with intestinal problems better than most drugs due to the fruit pectins contained in beets.
- Beetroot contains antioxidants that enhance immunity in babies.
- A useful root vegetable increases the appetite of the little ones, also due to the large amount of trace elements and the stimulation of the formation of red blood cells, it has a positive effect on the activity and development of the brain.
- Strengthens eyesight, improves the state of the nervous system of babies thanks to the betaine contained in the composition.
- Like most vegetables, beets, due to the presence of fiber, improve the functioning of the digestive tract. The root vegetable saturates the child's body with vitamins, reducing the risk of developing diseases associated with vitamin deficiency, such as rickets, night blindness, glossitis, stomatitis.
With moderate consumption and introduction into the diet at the right time, beets have practically no contraindications to use. With an excessive passion for boiled beets, it can cause a weakening of the intestines in a child., while beet juice sometimes causes colic and discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract. It is believed that excessive consumption of root vegetables inhibits the absorption of calcium in the child's body, so it should not be abused.
How to introduce complementary foods: step by step instructions
How to choose a product?
For the introduction of complementary foods, the most important thing is to choose the right starting product. It is ideal to buy beets from farm stores or use a vegetable garden.
Note! When buying in a store, preference should be given to medium-sized, dense, bright fruits without white veins. Such root vegetables are not only tastier, but also contain a minimum of nitrates.
Cooking meals for babies
First of all, beet puree is introduced into the child's diet.
- For its preparation, small beets must be thoroughly washed with a sponge, cut off the top (the maximum amount of nitrates accumulates in it) and boiled until tender.
- It is not recommended to remove the skin - underneath it contains a large amount of vitamins, plus the beets boiled in the skin have more taste. It is worth removing the skin after cooking.
- The peeled root vegetable is crushed with a blender and must be mixed with vegetables already familiar to the child - zucchini, carrots, potatoes.
It is worth starting with half a teaspoon, in the future the amount can be increased. There should be no more than a third of the finished beetroot puree. When the baby gets used to complementary foods, the root crop can be given separately, it is also recommended to introduce it in pureed form in soups.
To prepare beetroot juice, the root crop must be thoroughly washed, cut off the top and doused with boiling water. In the presence of a juicer, the juice is prepared in it like apple juice. If this device is not available, you can grate the beets on a fine grater and squeeze the juice with gauze.
The finished drink must be insisted for several hours in the refrigerator, periodically removing the foam. Then dilute at least 1/2 with water or apple juice.
Important! Raw beet juice is a very difficult product for a child's body. Due to the active fruit acids it contains, it irritates the gastrointestinal tract and can cause indigestion, diarrhea, and increased gas production. Pediatricians do not recommend giving beet juice to children under 12 months of age, but even at this age, you should start with a few drops, previously diluted with water.
Boiled root vegetable puree with cereals
Beetroot puree from boiled root vegetables goes well with cereals - buckwheat, pearl barley, barley, wheat. In porridge cooked in water, you can add, depending on the age of the child, up to three teaspoons of beet puree.
Complementary foods are introduced neatly, like any new product in the diet - in the morning.
After the start of the introduction of beets into the diet, it is necessary to carefully monitor the child's reaction and exclude possible allergies. At the first redness or rashes on the baby's skin, it is necessary to sound the alarm.
How can you give a baby at 1 and 2 years old?
At 12 months, the baby can begin to eat not only beet puree, but also borscht in small quantities, beetroot casseroles in combination with other vegetables, baked or steamed vegetable cutlets with beets.
From two years old, a baby can eat almost the same food as adults - that is, he can be pleased with vinaigrette, beet salad, vegetable stew with beets or juice - always diluted with water or any familiar drink.
The low-calorie fortified root vegetable beet is considered the second most popular vegetable after potatoes in our latitudes. We advise you to familiarize yourself with our materials about whether the name of this vegetable depends on the variety or area where it was planted and grown, or whether beets and beets are one type of plant, as well as in what form it is better to be consumed by pregnant women and given to pets.
Are there allergies?
Allergy to beets in children may occur due to the content of ammonium sulfate in it - a popular fertilizer for root crops. Sulfate intolerance is a fairly common occurrence in babies. Read more about whether children and adults are allergic to this vegetable and how it manifests itself here.
Important! If, when introduced into the diet of beets, a child has: allergic rhinitis, redness and watery eyes, skin rashes, pain and bloating; vomiting or diarrhea - you should immediately stop using the root vegetable and consult a doctor.
Thus, beets must be introduced into the diet of healthy children - their benefits are very high, and if used correctly, negative consequences are minimized.