The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States has produced new guidance that states that babies should be given peanuts early – even at four months old – in order to reduce the risk of allergy. The guidance also states that children with other allergies or severe eczema should start on peanut containing foods between four and six month old (with medical supervision).
The full guidance document is available here.
Young children need snacks to help them get through the day, but as busy parents, we don’t always make the right choices for our children. This can have an impact on their future health and their nutritional choices. If we give them chocolate, crisps, biscuits and cakes for snack they get used to these sugar-laden products. If we then try to introduce more nutritional options, they don't want them. I can't say I blame them, I found it hard to cut processed chocolate out of my diet, and I was in my 40’s. So, as parents of young children, you have an opportunity to get food choices right, and it's not as hard as you think. You just need to be organised and create a “magic list” which you can develop and add too.
Here are just few suggestions for your “magic list”.
Natural Yoghurt: Purchase plain natural yoghurt to avoid the sugar (where possible organic) and sweeten it with natural seasonal fruits. Use individual fruits, or a variety in layers. Alternatively, you could blend the yoghurt with some fruit, then drop it onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and freeze it. The result is tiny, healthy, frozen yogurt drops.
Smoothies: Great as they can also hide all sorts of healthy foods in their creamy deliciousness. Always try to have a high proportion of vegetables and sweeten with apple, banana or avocado.
Banana Ice Cream: Easy to make up in advance and used as a delicious snack or pudding. Ideally you need a Nutri Bullet to make it easier. Simply put a sliced frozen banana in the bullet and add some coconut milk or almond milk. (Please note do not give almond milk to children with nut allergies). This is also a really good way to make use of bananas that are going soft. Just slice them in, put in the freezer and use as needed.
Hummus: Also easy to make and will keep in the fridge for around five days. It can be served with rice cakes, oatcakes or chopped up vegetables. You could have a small bag of chopped up vegetables ready prepared. You can use canned or home cooked chickpeas (if canned rinse well). Add peppers, red onions, tomatoes etc. There are also other types of hummus which you can make with avocado and beetroot, but they can wait for another blog.
Fruit: Keep it simple and offer seasonal whole fruit, cut up into slices. You could also make a face on the plate with the different fruit for your child for extra fun.
How wonderful that you can help ensure your child gets such a good start in life by providing foods that offers the body nutritional benefits which will support your child’s immune system and general health. Perhaps, get together with like-minded mothers and share your ideas, make it fun, experiment and enjoy.
Consulting Director & Nutritionist