Growing babies need food that will nourish their bodies. For the first few months, that nourishment will come from formula or breast milk. Eventually, around four to six months of age, it’s up to the parents to decide the best food to try first. Sweet potatoes, bananas, and green beans are popular selections. However, apples and applesauce might be one of the best choices.
Why Applesauce is Good
Applesauce is full of vitamin C, antioxidants, and other nutrients your growing baby will need. Since you can’t give apple chunks to your infant, serving them applesauce is a great way to benefit from the nutrients it provides.
Since apples come in many varieties, you can introduce them to your baby to help them adjust to different flavors while leaving the texture relatively the same
High in Fiber For Happy Poops
As you transition your baby from the bottle to solid foods, you’ll likely face periods of diarrhea or constipation.
Applesauce is a safe choice to help alleviate these symptoms. It is light on the digestive system and is packed with fiber and pectin.
It acts as a binding agent to help harden your baby’s feces. But it also induces a bowel movement if they are constipated.
Choosing Your Applesauce
When it comes to applesauce or any baby food, you have two choices: buy pre-made jar baby food or make your own.
It’s a pretty simple process if you own a food processor. However, if you don’t own one, you might want to consider buying one to make your baby food.
Buying Pre-made Jar Baby Food
Jarred baby food is convenient, portable, and has a long shelf life. But, when you are buying any prepared food, it’s a good practice to read the labels.
It’s essential when buying baby food to know there is no added sugar or cinnamon. It’s not recommended for babies under six months of age to have cinnamon.
Check with your pediatrician before introducing spices to make sure you both agree that your baby is ready.
Make Homemade Applesauce
Making homemade applesauce is easy when using the food processor! It creates a smoother consistency to prevent small chunks that your baby can choke on.
It doesn’t matter what type of apple you choose, but it’s better if sweet, organic fruits are used. (Apples are high on the Dirty Dozen list, which is a list of foods that are high in pesticides.)
Sweeter apples are Fuji, Ambrosia, Gala, and Honeycrisp, to name a few. Tart apples to avoid are Granny Smith, McIntosh, Pink Lady, and Cortland.
How To Make Applesauce
- To get started with the applesauce, get started by washing and peeling the apples. No skin should be left on the apple since this is a choking hazard.
- Remove the core and then cut it into small chunks.
- Boil the pieces in a pot of water until they are tender (which would be about three minutes). If you’re not sure of the tenderness, take a fork and attempt to pierce the apple. If it penetrates quickly, they are ready for the next step.
- Remove the boiled apples from the heat and dump them into the food processor or blender. You can add formula or breastmilk to the mixture if you need to change the consistency. It should be thin enough to slide right off of a spoon.
- You can store the applesauce in an airtight container in the freezer, and when it is time to feed the mixture to your baby, thaw the applesauce in the fridge overnight.
If there are any leftovers, they can be stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Homemade applesauce does spoil more quickly, so only unthaw what you think you might use.
Additionally, it has a higher chance of growing bacteria if it isn’t sealed in the proper container. Unless it has been frozen, it is not recommended to feed your baby applesauce older than three days.
Some people say that the best flavors come from baked apples. You do this by placing them in a glass dish and baking them at 350 degrees for approximately 30-40 minutes.
Once they are tender, remove them from the oven, and mash them with a potato masher or blend them in a food processor.
A third method is to steam the apples. With this method, the apples tend to retain more nutrients! Bring a pan of water to a boil and heat the fruit for around ten minutes.
Again, use a potato masher or food processor to make the apples a smooth consistency that is easy for your baby to swallow.
Wait To Introduce Apple Peels Until 8 Months
As your baby grows, you can try leaving the peel in, but not until they are at least eight months of age.
There are other benefits to consuming the peel, such as more fiber and phytochemicals. For example, Catechin, chlorogenic acid, phlorizin, and quercetin help prevent cell damage, heart disease, cancer, and Type 2 Diabetes. Eating an apple peel can also help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease in adults.
Advantages to Homemade Applesauce
It might be more time-consuming to make homemade baby food versus picking some up at the store. But the time is definitely worth the advantages.
The process to make jar baby foods includes bringing the product to high temperatures to kill bacteria. However, this also kills some of the nutrients the food provides.
With homemade foods, you know the ingredients are fresh, and you can adapt your recipe as your baby’s tastes change.
Yes, jar baby food has a longer shelf life than freshly made baby food. But there are also added ingredients, like starches, that help preserve the fruits and vegetables.
When preparing your food, you can control what goes in the food processor. You’ll always know what you are feeding your baby.
Helps Prevent Fussy Eaters
With jar baby food, the texture will be the same no matter what brand you purchase.
When you control how the food is made, you can play with the flavors and the textures to help prevent your baby from developing picky eating habits.
Remember that babies under four months old should not be fed solid foods.
Other Benefits Provided by Applesauce
When you start introducing solid foods to your baby, you will continue to breastfeed or give a bottle of formula. These contain most of the calories your baby needs each day.
Applesauce is a low-calorie addition for your baby to supplement their bottle. The carbohydrates found in an apple will provide energy and keep your baby full.
Vitamins and Minerals
You already know about vitamin C, but applesauce also contains vitamin A and E that help with eye, skin, heart, and nerve health.
These vitamins also help support a healthy immune system. Minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, and zinc contribute to a baby’s growth.
Simply Wait for That 6 Month Milestone
So, can your baby have applesauce? Absolutely! There are many benefits to serving this sweet treat to infants older than four months of age.
You’re providing numerous health benefits that will help your child grow while slowly introducing them to a new flavor and texture.
Please remember, this article is not intended to replace medical advice from your pediatric doctor.