Prunes are known to be great at relieving constipation, so if your baby is having trouble with her bowels, it’s natural to ask: Can I Give my Baby Prunes?
If you were to list out all the healthy foods to give kids, dry fruits take one of the top positions in the list. When we speak of dry fruits, we include almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, raisins, figs, apricots, prunes and more. We’ve already tackled the question of whether you can feed your baby nuts and figs, so today, we’re going to direct that question at prunes!
When it comes to prunes, they are usually available in either fresh or dried form. They may also be found semi-dried in packets or as tinned juice or syrup. Fresh prunes are actually plums, and in India, prunes are easier to find than fresh plums. Plums and prunes are both known as Alu Bukhara in Hindi.
Dried plums, or prunes, look black and wrinkled but they taste sweet and have a chewy and sticky texture. The most popular prune variety is made from the dried European plums which includes the Agen variety. In India high quality plums are grown in hilly areas of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh. Prunes are usually used in cooking both sweet and savory dishes.
Prunes are 31% water and contain 64% carbohydrates, 7% dietary fiber, 2% protein, and less than 1% fat. Prunes are also a good source of Vitamins K and B, as well as other essential minerals like iron and potassium. Here are some of the health benefits of prunes.
Health Benefits of Prunes
- Improves vision
- Helps digestion
- Controls the urge
- Helps to avoid deficiencies
- Promotes hair health
- Lowers blood pressure
- Prevents iron deficiency
- Helps to reduce appetite
- Helps to build bones and muscles
- Reduces cholesterol levels
- Lowers risk of colon cancer
- Maintains heart health
- Relieves Constipation
- Protects against osteoporosis
- Maintains skin and hair health
Can I Give my Baby Prunes?
Note: According to the WHO, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for babies till 6 months.
Once you’ve started your baby on solids after 6 months, it’s safe to introduce prunes in her diet. Prunes are excellent at relieving constipation in babies. It’s best to start out by offering a prune puree, moving to prunes as finger foods after 8 months. Some babies don’t like the taste of prunes; in such cases, it can be added to cereals or porridge or any other dish.
While introducing dry prunes, soak them in warm water or steam them until they are soft. Then puree them along with the water used for soaking. Prune puree can also be added as a natural sweetener in other baby foods. Prune juice can be given to babies after 1 year. Prunes packaged in juice or syrup may be higher in added sugar or salt, so it’s best to stick to whole dried prunes without any additives or preservatives.
Prunes and plums don’t pose a high allergy risk, but they do contain trace amounts of histamine. So it’s advised to be cautious and start with small amounts at a time. Prunes can cause gastrointestinal distress due to excessive sorbitol and fiber if consumed in excess.
While not mandatory, it’s better to follow the 3-day rule to be on the safe side, and start with a small quantity in the beginning. If the baby displays symptoms like itchy rashes, abdominal pain, burning sensation in the mouth, swelling of the face or shortness of breath, he needs to be rushed to the doctor right away.
Tips for Buying and Storing Prunes
Plums and prunes are considered to be one of the least contaminated fruits but opting for organic is always safer. When buying plums, opt for those with a deep purple or blackish color with firm flesh that gives very slightly on pressing. They shouldn’t have any bruising, soft spots or cuts. Avoid plums or prunes that are dried with sulphur or preserved using any kind of chemicals. Fresh plums are quite delicate and are best consumed within a week of buying them.
Prune Recipes for Babies and Kids
Dried prunes are similar to raisins in their uses. They can also be added in cereals, porridge or as a topping in pancakes and other baby foods. Here are few interesting recipes for your little one to try.
Prune Puree for Babies from Baby Foode
Oat and Chia Porridge with Prunes from BBC Good Food
Spiced Prune Chutney from Archana’s Kitchen
Prune Juice from Sharmis Passions
Chicken Prunes Biryani from Ocean of Recipes
Sticky Prune Cake from Sanjeev Kapoor