Let’s talk about biscuits for babies, a topic that frequently comes up among moms. There’s often a hopeful expectation for a positive response. Interestingly, in India, it’s very common to introduce biscuits alongside milk to babies, and biscuits reign as the most popular snack for toddlers.
However, it’s essential to consider the nutritional aspects and potential health implications of feeding biscuits to babies. While biscuits for babies may seem convenient and enjoyable, they often contain preservatives, added sugars, and refined flours that may not be suitable for a baby’s developing digestive system. As a parent, it’s crucial to prioritize the well-being and long-term health of your child, making informed decisions based on scientific evidence and expert recommendations.
Remember, there are various other nutritious and age-appropriate foods that can be introduced during the weaning process, ensuring a balanced and wholesome diet for your little one. Consulting with your pediatrician or a registered dietitian can provide valuable guidance in choosing suitable alternatives and establishing healthy eating habits right from the start.
I still remember when I was weaning my son; back then, I wasn’t sure about what first foods were ideal, and since I had to start somewhere, I began with Cerelac. I had slowly progressed to fruits when one of my friends seemed shocked that I wasn’t feeding him Parle G biscuits in milk. She exclaimed, “You need to give babies biscuits in milk; everyone knows that. How can you not know this fact?”
Well, as a doctor Mom, I would rather follow scientific evidence rather than what everyone was doing, and I am glad I had the sense to refrain from feeding preservative-laden biscuits to my baby. The well-being of my child was far more important than succumbing to the pressure of feeding biscuits for babies simply because it was a common practice.
Many Moms think that biscuits for babies are very convenient food, and they’re not wrong. But it’s the kind of biscuits that makes all the difference between a preservative-laden diet lacking in essential nutrients and a fully balanced, wholesome one. So let’s come back to the million dollar question:
Are Biscuits For Babies Suitable?
Here’s the short answer: Absolutely NO!! While it is certainly not recommended for infants, I discourage store bought biscuits even for toddlers. However homemade biscuits and cookies with out preservatives and baking powder can be given to young children.
What goes into commercial biscuits?
To understand what your favorite biscuit actually contains, let’s take a closer look at the ingredients commonly found in biscuits for babies. For this purpose, I have researched two of the most popular biscuits given to babies in India – Parle G and Milk Bikis.
Typically, the ingredients of any product are listed in order of decreasing quantity. This means that the first ingredient in the list has the highest concentration, making it the primary ingredient in that particular product. Understanding these ingredients is important when it comes to making informed choices about biscuits for babies.
1. Wheat Flour
The term wheat flour can be misleading as some may think that it refers to whole wheat flour, when in reality, ‘wheat flour’ simply means that it’s refined flour, or maida.
Disadvantages of maida
- Maida is refined wheat flour, stripped of all its nutrients.
- The refining process removes not just the nutrients, but dietary fiber and proteins as well.
- Refined flour can mess up a baby’s digestion and may create constipation in babies.
Everyone knows that sugar is not advisable for babies, but the fact is that when it comes to commercial food, we never know how much sugar goes into each pack as the percentage is not mentioned on the label.
3. Edible Vegetable Oil
This refers to plain vegetable oil, which is among the safer ingredients. Dangerous substitutes include hydrogenated vegetable fats which are detrimental to health.
4. Invert Sugar Syrup
This is an ingredient listed on the labels of many biscuit brands, so what exactly is it?
Invert sugar is sucrose (a di-saccharide of glucose and fructose) that has been broken into free glucose and free fructose. Invert sugar is sweeter than table sugar (sucrose) because fructose is sweeter than both sucrose and glucose.
Why use invert sugar in biscuits?
The sugar crystals in invert sugar are smaller than sucrose, which results in a smoother texture of the final product. The smaller crystals also dissolve faster than sucrose crystals. Invert sugar retains moisture better and improves shelf life.
Is invert sugar healthy?
No, it isn’t. Since it contains unbound fructose, it is not recommended even for adults, and certainly shouldn’t be in young children’s diets.
5. Raising Agents
Raising agents include baking soda and baking powder which are generally not advised for babies and young toddlers.
A baby’s daily salt requirement is less than 1 gram which she is most probably getting from breast milk or formula. Any more and it can put a burden on her tiny post. Biscuit labels don’t mention the percentage of salt in them; hence it can contain a dangerous amount that can harm the baby.
7. Milk Solids
‘Milk solids’ refers to the dried powder left after all the water is removed from liquid milk. They are usually added for a smoother feel to the finished product. This can prove harmful for kids with a lactose intolerance problem. For others, it is still a processed product and a long way off from real milk. Besides, cow’s milk and milk products are not recommended for babies under 1 year.
Emulsifiers play a role in stabilizing the fat and water content in biscuits, although they are considered minor additives. It’s worth noting that most emulsifiers used in biscuits for babies are synthetic chemicals, and their usage is regulated by strict legal restrictions. However, recent studies have shown that emulsifiers may disrupt the balance of beneficial bacteria in our gut, potentially leading to digestive or bowel issues. Additionally, certain emulsifiers, such as soy lecithin, can pose challenges for individuals with allergies. Therefore, understanding the presence and impact of emulsifiers in biscuits for babies becomes crucial for informed decision-making.
9. Dough Conditioner
A dough conditioner is any ingredient or chemical added to dough to strengthen its texture or otherwise improve it in some way. It is a completely synthetic substance and something you definitely don’t want your baby to eat.
10. Added Flavours
Added flavors can include practically anything, from vanilla to fruit. In any case, they are 100% synthetic and not something you’d want anywhere near your baby!
In addition to all the above, Milk Bikis also has calcium salt , vitamin and potassium iodate. While these appear to improve the nutritional value of the biscuits, the truth is that they are in too small a quantity to be of any use to your baby.
What biscuits can I give my baby?
Now you know what kind of biscuits you can’t give your baby, so let’s get to the good ones that are safe for babies and kids. You can choose biscuits that fall into any of these categories:
- Whole wheat
- Without preservatives and additives
- No artificial sugar
- No salt
- No baking powder or salt
Since we had so many requests from Moms to prepare healthy cookies that fit the all above conditions…. We have launched Healthy Moppet Stick Cookies which is baked FRESH for every order, made with whole wheat and millets, No added white Sugar, No salt, No baking powder or salt, No Preservatives or Additives.
No time to prepare this cookies at home? Don’t worry, we prepare it hygienically and ship it to your doorstep
The best option is to bake your own biscuits, of course! To help you, we have a wide range of cookies recipes on the blog. Some of them may contain raising agents, so you can avoid them for young children.
We are continuing to add more cookies to our store, so keep following our updates on Facebook! As you see, there are so many alternatives available, and you don’t need to subject your kids to a pack of preservatives and processed ingredients. Eat natural and stay healthy!
Now if you don’t have the time (story of our lives) or if you’re not exactly the baking type, you can get these cookies delivered right to your doorstep. Yes, we have a collection of homemade cookies, made with 100% natural, fresh ingredients, in our store.
If your baby has recently started on solids, you might also be wondering what kind of feeding chair is best for your baby. Check out our detailed post – High Chair Vs Booster Seat: Your Ultimate Guide to Buying a Feeding Chair.