Everything You Need to Know About Bananas for Your Baby Including Recipes
As a parent, you continually look for healthy foods to feed your baby so that he or she develops into a healthy adult. One of the best ways to ensure your child eats whole, nutritious food is to make baby food yourself. Banana makes an ideal ingredient for baby food, thanks to its health benefits and its ability to easily mash into food appropriate for your baby.
Nutritional Benefits of Banana
Bananas are a nutritional powerhouse. This fruit has long had a reputation as a rich source of potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral that acts as the electrolyte that balances sodium. Sodium is the main electrolyte that sits outside of the cell, while potassium sits inside the cell. Many cellular activities work through the exchange of sodium and potassium. For your muscles, including the heart, to optimally function, you need to have the right balance of the electrolytes sodium and potassium.
Eating a diet high in potassium, which is easily done with bananas, helps to reduce the chance your baby will grow up and develop high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and other chronic diseases, thanks to its role in fluid balance and cellular processes.
As an added bonus, bananas are also high in essential vitamins, especially vitamin B6, vitamin B2 and vitamin C. The B vitamins are important for brain health and for creating energy on a cellular level. Both of these are important for a developing infant. Vitamin C is a major antioxidant and helps to strengthen the immune system so your baby can fight disease.
Additionally, bananas are easy to digest, which is good for a baby just starting to eat solid foods. This fruit also protects against stomach ulcers by helping the stomach and intestines produce the mucus needed to line the digestive tract and prevent damage from acid.
As with any food, care should be taken with eating too many bananas. In some cases, constipation might occur when consumed in excessive quantities.
Below is the nutritional overview of one medium banana:
- 105 calories
- 1.29 g of protein
- 0.39 g of fat
- 26.95 g of carbohydrate
- 3.1 g of fiber
- 6 mg of calcium
- 0.31 mg of iron
- 32 mg of magnesium
- 26 mg of phosphorus
- 422 mg of potassium
- 1 mg of sodium
- 0.18 mg of zinc
- 10.3 mg of vitamin C
- 0.037 mg of Thiamin (B1)
- 0.086 mg Riboflavin (B2)
- 0.785 mg Niacin (B3)
- 0.433 mg B-6
- 24 ug Folate (B9)
How to Buy and Store Bananas
Buying and storing bananas is pretty straightforward. If you plan to use the bananas right away to make the baby food, choose a ripe banana. These are generally bright yellow with little to no green. If there are brown spots on the peel, then it has become too ripe. However, if you plan to store them, you should opt for bananas that are at least a little green to allow time for them to ripen.
When choosing foods for your family, especially your baby, you have to choose whether to go with organic. Bananas are generally fine to buy non-organic, since they are not part of the "dirty dozen" foods (the foods that rank the highest in pesticide contamination). There are still benefits to choosing organic, though.
When to Introduce Bananas to Your Baby
Generally speaking, you should introduce solid foods between four and six months of age. Bananas are often a good starting point, so you can start introducing them at four months.
Although they are not one of the top allergens, some people do have a banana allergy. It is more common in those who are allergic to or sensitive to Latex. If you suspect a possible banana allergy, consult with your pediatrician to determine the right time to introduce banana to your baby.
Ways to Cook and Prepare Bananas for Your Baby
Because bananas are a very soft food, they are really easy to make for your baby. Many parents simply mash a banana with a fork or spoon and feed it to their baby. Once your child is used to eating solid foods, they can often eat a banana cut into bite size pieces. As an added bonus, their peel protects them, so you do not have to wash them. That is why many parents carry them as snack foods.
Of course, you might wish to do more than just smash the banana to feed your baby. They make a great base to add to other ingredients when making your own baby food, or you can choose to put them in a food processor or baby food maker.
Easy to Make Banana Baby Food Recipes
Basic Mashed Bananas -- good for infants as young as 4 months
- 1 ripe, fresh banana (no need to cook it)
- Formula, breast milk or water (if needed)
Step 1: Peel a ripe banana and cut it into small pieces
Step 2: Mash it with a fork (use a food processor or blender if preferred)
Step 3: Add water, breast milk or formula as needed
Rice Pudding with Bananas -- good for infants 8 to 10 months old
- 1 cup brown rice - cooked
- 1/2 cup pureed banana
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt - whole milk preferred
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- dash of ginger or cinnamon
Step 1: Place ingredients into a saucepan and warm gently, stirring often.
Step 2: Place warmed, combined ingredients into blender or food processor to create the preferred texture.
Banana and Avocado Baby Food -- good for infants as young as 4 months old
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 ripe banana
Step 1: Peel and mash banana
Step 2: Peel ripe avocado, removing the pit
Step 3: Remove meat of avocado and mash
Step 4: Blend with a food processor or blender to reach desired texture
Bananas Fried -- good for infants between six and ten months old
- 2 ripe bananas
- ginger or cinnamon
Step 1: Heat 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat on a small frying pan
Step 2: Peel and slice the banana into small pieces
Step 3: Sauté banana in the heated frying pan
Step 4: Add spices to taste and mash for desired texture
Bananas make a good base for many recipes appropriate for babies. You can mix several other fruits with it, including pears, apples, peaches and kiwi. You can also add them to yogurt or cereals. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn more hints.