Almonds are well known for their health benefits, and many Moms give kids almonds every morning. But Can I give my Baby Almonds? Find out in this post.
If someone asked me to pick just one healthy ingredient from my kitchen, I would pick almonds. Of course, I love the nutty flavor and crunch, but what’s more important is that they are pretty much the best of all nuts. They are loaded with healthy fats, protein, fiber, magnesium and vitamin E.
Almonds are actually the seeds of the almond tree, Prunus amygdalus. Almonds have a hard shell outside, called the hull, and the seed inside, which is brown. When this seed is soaked in hot water, the skin peels off, revealing the white embryo. The United States produces about 63% of the world’s almonds, with Californian almonds being among the most popular varieties.
Almonds are used in various world cuisines, and in different forms. While almonds are eaten raw, they are also cooked and used as garnish. Almonds are available as whole almonds, sliced almonds, almond flour, almond oil, almond butter and almond milk. The latter is an excellent option for those who are vegan or lactose intolerant. Almond oil is also used for external application on skin and hair.
Nutritional Benefits of Almonds
- Helps lower bad cholesterol
- Protects against diabetes and cancer
- Boosts brain development
- Aids digestion & improves metabolism
- Improves immunity
- Reduces inflammation
- Prevents birth defects
- Strengthens bones & teeth
- Prevents anemia
- Promotes Heart Health
- Aids proper functioning of nerves & muscles
- Nourishes hair and skin
Can I give my Baby Almonds?
Since almonds come under the nuts category, it should be introduced with caution, due to the risk of allergy. If your baby has no history of allergy or food sensitivities, she can start having almonds after nine months, in a small quantity every day. Whole nuts pose a choking risk, so it is advised to grind it to a powder and add to baby’s food. Never give whole almonds to a child unless you are absolutely sure that he can eat it without choking, usually after 3 years of age.
Almond peel has tannin acid which is considered an ‘anti nutrient’, which means the nutrients of almonds won’t be fully absorbed by the body if eaten with the peel. Peeling the skin also makes the almonds easily digestible. To peel almonds easily, soak the almonds in warm water for a few hours or overnight, after which the peel will come off easily. Start feeding your baby about half a spoon, gradually building up to 2-3 spoons.
Always follow the 3 day rule when introducing any new food to your baby. For babies with a family history of nut allergies, pediatricians recommend introducing almonds after one year. Be careful and watch out for allergic reactions like hives, rashes, vomiting, runny nose, wheezing, swelling of the lips and face and itchy eyes. Rush your baby to the hospital if any of these reactions occur.
Note: Almond milk is not recommended for babies under one year.
Tips to Choose Almonds
Almonds can be sweet or bitter, with sweet almonds being better for babies. Whole almonds are available in different forms like plain, salted, sweetened, spiced etc. For babies and young children, go for the plain variety, keeping the following tips in mind:
- Choose bright brown almonds which are uniform in size and feel heavy
- Avoid almonds with cracks and spots and those with a rancid smell
- Opt for shelled or unshelled almonds and avoid processed almonds
- If buying shelled almonds, shake one near your ear. If it rattles too much, it indicates an almond that is shrunken or aged
- If the inner part of the almond is yellow or has a honeycomb texture, then it is spoilt
Storage Tips for Almonds
- Unpacked almonds have to be transferred to airtight containers immediately
- Packaged almonds are best stored in a cool dark place or refrigerator and can stay for up to a year
- Almond paste can be stored in the refrigerator for over 2 months
- Well sealed almonds can be stored in the freezer to extend their shelf life
- Keep almonds away from humidity for increased shelf life
- The maximum shelf life is 2 years, after which they are likely to go bad
Almond Recipes for Babies and Toddlers
- Dry Fruits Powder (You can also get this here)
- Mixed Nuts Powder (You can also get this here)
- Homemade Almond Milk Recipe
- Date Almond Milkshake for Toddlers
- Almond Shortbread Cookies
- No Bake Energy Balls
- No Cook Dry Fruit Modak
- Caramelized Nuts Snack
- Super Quick Badam Halwa
- Dry Fruit Balls for Toddlers
- Chocolate Trail Mix
- Homemade Muesli
You can also check out our homemade kajal recipe that uses whole almonds as well as these 100% natural almond products:
- Masala Milk Magic
- Multigrain Health Drink
- Sprouted Ragi Malt Drink
- Immunobooster Drink Mix
- Dates Smoothie Mix
- Sathumaavu Mix
- Sprouted Sathumaavu Mix
- Millet Sathumaavu Mix