Berries are the tiny heroes of the forest that have saved the lives of many wayward travellers. Throughout history berries have been cultivated for long enough so that we can enjoy isolated strains of perfect strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.
Besides being delicious and nutritious, berries come with an additional accolade that makes them a great source of vitamins for babies and small children. Apart from strawberries, the rest of the berries are some of the least allergenic foods on a long list of allergens that many people tip-toe around.
Are berries safe for children to eat?
Berries can be introduced in the food regimen of children as young as six months. Once the child has gotten used to soft and pureed food without any allergies occurring, berries can be made part of the menu as a readily-available snack that replaces any packaged or processed food in quality and nutrition.
Things to consider before giving berries to children
There are some things that need to be considered before giving berries to a child: berries shouldn’t be given if there is a skin eczema and the child has had food allergies.
Strawberries are considered an allergenic food which calls for caution. The safest way to give strawberries or any other berries to small children is to introduce this food in a few careful steps.
The first time only two or three berries should be given. From that moment on the parents or caregivers should look out if there are any reactions such as redness on the skin or face. The second time the berry should be given two or three days later. Then, the child can be given more than few berries but no more than a moderate handful. If there is no allergic reaction you can now include berries as part of the child’s diet.
Each of these berries contain the tiniest seeds. It is very likely that a small child’s digestive system isn’t going to break down the microscopic glaze that protects the seeds, but this is not a cause for concern. The seeds are tiny enough and are passed through the digestive system without any problem.
Why should berries be part of every child’s nutrition?
There is one particular thing about berries that people tend to overlook: they can almost pass for candy! Berries come in colors that are attractive, especially strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.
Candy is a sore spot for every parent, especially those parents who want to avoid giving processed sugar, food colours and other unsavoury ingredients to their children. So, unless you haven’t considered this before, berries make the perfect replacement for candy!
The tangy flavour of either of these berries is packed with natural sugars. Berries contain carbohydrates too. Except for strawberries, all of the berries we mentioned above have more than 10 grams of carbs per 100 gram serving. Translated into the language of fun and games- this means children get extra carbs to burn, and healthy carbs too!
Berries are antioxidants, so if your child has been helped to processed snacks, berries are the perfect way to keep the balance in the digestive system on the good side.
Furthermore, berries contain vitamin C, vitamin K1, manganese and many other elements, promote good heart health and feed the brain the goodness that helps improve memory and cognition. There is certainly more to berries than this but in the end, it is the taste that always keeps us coming back for more. So, enjoy.