Broccoli is a highly nutritious vegetable, but it can cause gas in babies. However, this does not mean that you should avoid broccoli at all cost. Instead, you should introduce when the baby is 8-10 months old. It is also advisable to introduce it later rather than sooner if your child has had digestive problems in the past. As with all foods, you should start by consulting your pediatrician before introducing broccoli baby food to your newly born child.
Nutritional Benefits of Broccoli for Babies
Broccoli is an excellent source of soluble fiber. As soluble fiber passes through the digestive track, it changes its form loosening a person’s bowel movement. This is unlike insoluble fiber, which remains unchanged causing constipation. However, too much of soluble fiber can lead to diarrhea and therefore, you should include it in your baby’s diet sparingly. Other than being rich in soluble fiber, broccoli is also rich in the following nutrients.
• Vitamin C, K, A (which comes from beta carotene), and B
• Omega-3 fatty acids
• Folic acid
Broccoli is also rich in other phytonutrients including sulforaphane, which helps in the fight against cancer. Some studies have also shown that taking a broccoli-rich diet helps when it comes to protecting the body against the development of heart disease. Broccoli also has inflammatory features, which assist in boosting the baby’s immune system protecting him against certain severe allergic conditions like asthma. All the nutrients that are available in broccoli are vital when it comes to healthy infant development. Therefore, you should include broccoli in your baby’s food.
How to Choose Broccoli for Baby Food
The best broccoli has tight florets with dark green, sage, or purple-green color. Avoid moldy looking broccoli, grayish ones, or the ones that have yellow flowers as well as bruised ones. When storing your broccoli, put it in an open, clear plastic bag and store in the fridge. When stored properly, it should stay fresh for four days.
Cooking Broccoli Baby Food
Broccoli should be steamed or sautéed in olive oil. Overcooking broccoli makes it lose its nutrients and it becomes tasteless as well. To avoid all the nutrients from leaching into the water, it is important that you cook it in a way that preserves them. Sometimes, broccoli is eaten raw, with all its nutrients intact. However, since it is too hard for your baby right, wait until he can handle hard food before he can eat it raw.
Broccoli Cooking Procedure
You can try several broccoli recipes, but it is important for you to learn the general way of preparing it before you learn the recipes. It is also necessary to note that although many people opt to separate the leaves from the stem, broccoli leaves are edible as well. They are a bit bitter and they are often added to soups or other dishes so that the other ingredients in those soups can absorb their strong flavor. When cooking broccoli, follow these steps.
• Thoroughly clean the stem and the florets and then cut the ends of the stems
• Separate the florets from the stems and peel off any hard layers on the stems
• If you are using large broccoli, cut the florets into halves, but if you have small ones, let them remain as they are.
• Use a steam basket to steam the broccoli or boil them for 3 to 5 minutes until they are soft
• Do not boil them excessively. Make sure that they retain their rich green color.
Making Broccoli Puree for Your Baby
Once you have steamed the broccoli, put it in a blender. Then process it until it becomes smooth. You can add a little water, milk formula or breast milk to make it smooth. You can make plenty of broccoli puree and then freeze it if you have enough time to do so.
Carrot, Broccoli, and Cheese Puree
You can make a classic combo for you 9-12 months old baby by mashing broccoli with potatoes and cheese. To make this puree, you will need the following items.
• 300g of peeled and chopped potatoes
• One medium sized carrot peeled and chopped
• 75-g of broccoli florets
• Four tablespoons of the usual baby milk
• 15g unsalted butter, and
• 40-g of grated cheddar cheese
• Once the ingredients are ready, mix the carrots and potatoes in a saucepan.
• Cover it with simmering water and cook until they become tender. This process should take approximately 20 minutes.
• While the potatoes are cooking, steam the broccoli for about 7 minutes to make them tender. You can add the broccoli to the potatoes and the carrots after 12 minutes of cooking.
• Once the potatoes and carrots are ready, drain the extra water and mash them with butter, cheese, and the broccoli.
The above ingredients will make enough puree for the baby. In fact, you can divide it into four portions and you do not have to worry about any wastage since it is suitable for freezing.
Fruity Broccoli Soup
To make this fruity soup, you will need the following items.
• One peeled or unpeeled, chopped and cored apple
• One peeled and chopped onion
• One chopped broccoli head
• A pinch of dried tarragon
• 2 cups of low sodium
• Olive oil
Once you have all the ingredients ready, proceed with the following process.
• Sauté the apple and onion in olive oil until tender
• Add the stock and let it boil
• Then add chopped broccoli, lower the heat, and let it simmer for 5 minutes
• Then puree the mixture with tarragon and serve when still warm.
Other Broccoli Baby Food Ideas
It is easy for your child to hate broccoli puree that does not have additional ingredients. Fortunately, you can add several other ingredients to it to make it yummy for the baby. Some of the recipes that you should include are as follows.
• Puree broccoli with butternut squash, peas, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower or carrots
• Gourmet broccoli puree which you make by blending cooked broccoli with sautéed onion and garlic and then stirring it in a blob of yogurt and a pinch of nutmeg.
• Including raisins in a cooking pot of broccoli and then you can puree them together. It may sound weird, but it is a wonderful combination.
• Try mixing cooked broccoli with mac & cheese or fine chop cooked broccoli and then mix it with your baby’s favorite soup or pasta sauce.
Broccoli florets have an unappealing texture, and therefore, your baby may hate eating it as finger food. However, do not give up. Instead, feeding him with this kind of food allows him to accept it over time. In conclusion, many methods of preparing broccoli to make your baby enjoy it exist. You only need to be creative about it, and everything will fine.