Benefits of Sweet Potatoes for Babies
Benefits of including sweet potatoes as part of your children’s diet
Besides being a great source of energy, sweet potatoes contain high quantities of vitamin C. They’re easy to digest, so your little ones can begin eating sweet potatoes from as early as 6 months.
Another benefit is that sweet potatoes are slightly sweet – thus their “sweet potato” alias. This makes them appealing to young palates that are often prone to reject new flavors.
But these are just a few of the advantages of sweet potatoes. Below we’ll list even more:
Sweet potatoes stimulate the immune system
This is something very important for very small children, given that they’re at an age when they should avoid getting sick. By eating sweet potatoes, they can reduce their possibilities of catching a cold or other contagious illness.
Sweet potatoes contain vitamin D
Vitamin D is very important for the body, as it boosts energy, strengthens bones, and is beneficial to heart health. This vitamin is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” and is an important factor in your child’s growth and development.
Sweet potatoes have a high calorie content
Unlike adults, babies need to put on weight rapidly – especially during their first year of life. In this time span, babies grow faster than any other time during their lives.
They increase an average of 10 inches in height and triple their birthweight. For this to happen, babies need to get enough calories.
Every 100 grams of sweet potato contains about 90 calories. This makes them one of the best options for a child that needs to put on weight.
Sweet potatoes are a source of vitamin A
Besides the vitamins that we already mentioned above, sweet potatoes also contain a high amount of vitamin A. In fact, the vitamin A content in sweet potatoes is almost as high as that of carrots.
The beta carotene that this vitamin produces aids in the prevention of vision problems, various types of cancer, and cardiovascular defects.
Therefore, sweet potatoes with orange pulp are more beneficial than those with yellow or white pulp.
Sweet potatoes are a great food for pregnancy as well
Sweet potatoes provide the body with a high amount of folic acid, making them a great option for pregnancy. This is especially true when a woman has a particularly high need for this vitamin.
Furthermore, folic acid improves brain function and helps to prevent certain types of illnesses.
Methods for preparing sweet potatoes
Another great aspect of sweet potatoes is that there are multiple ways to prepare it. However, in order for your baby to reap maximum benefits, you should prepare this vegetable according to the following guidelines.
- You should use very little water when cooking sweet potatoes. This is due to the fact that the water absorbs part of the mineral salts. However, the majority of a sweet potatoes’ nutrients are in the root’s interior.
- It’s important to wash and peel sweet potatoes before feeding them to your baby. This makes them easier to digest.
- Another great way to cook sweet potatoes is by steaming them. This method allows a maximum retention of the nutrients.
- From the time your baby is 6 months old, you can combine sweet potatoes with other ingredients like green peas or squash.
- You can also use sweet potatoes to make puree, mixing it with a small amount of olive oil for taste. However, don’t add salt to the recipe unless your baby has already reached his or her first birthday.
Why should you wait until 6 months to introduce solid foods?
Before you start feeding sweet potatoes to a baby, parents should wait until their little one reaches 6 months. Before this age, babies receive all the nutrients they need through their mother’s breast milk, or through fortified baby formula.
Furthermore, the probability of an allergic reaction is much lower if foods are introduced at the right time. Also, babies may have difficulty sleeping if they receive solid foods when they’re too young.
Proper nutrition is a vital part of a baby’s growth and development. Therefore, parents need to pay special attention to the foods they give to their little ones.
Without a doubt, sweet potatoes are an excellent option when introducing solid foods.