02 March, 2012
How to Prepare Lentils for a Baby
Lentil purees are among the most popular foods favored by babies. Lentils are a healthy source of key nutrients, such as fiber and protein, that your baby needs for proper development. You can prepare a nutritious lentil puree quickly and easily. A lentil puree might also be combined with healthy ingredients to add flavor, texture and nutrition to your baby's diet.
The foods you offer your baby play an important role in his growth and development. According to Healthy Children, a website from the American Academy of Pediatrics, nutritious foods support physical and mental health. During the first 6 months of life, breast milk or formula provides your baby with all of the nutrients he needs. As he gets older, solid foods help supplement his increased need for certain nutrients. Lentils are a healthy solid food option that provide key nutrients, and can be introduced to your baby at around 6 months of age.
Lentils are a healthy way to ensure that your baby gets certain nutrients that support her growth. One tablespoon of cooked lentils supplies your baby with a healthy dose of protein, which encourages growth and supplies her with energy. Your baby also gets iron for brain development, zinc for a healthy immune system and calcium for strong bones. Lentils also provide your baby with tiny amounts of vitamin C, folic acid, potassium and vitamin A.
Saute one chopped white onion and one-quarter of a bell pepper in one tablespoon of oil. Cook the vegetables for about four minutes, and then add a skinned and chopped tomato. Saute for about one minute. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of uncooked lentils over the vegetables. Pour in 1 cup of water or sodium-free broth. Stir in 1 1/3 cups of pureed vegetables, such as sweet potatoes or green beans. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Cook until the lentils are soft. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Cool before serving to your baby.
Combine lentil puree with other ingredients, such as vegetables, because lentils on their own can be difficult for your baby to digest. Use your baby's favorite vegetables to help encourage him to eat lentils. Substitute the sweet potato or green beans in the recipe with any vegetable puree, such as peas, carrots or squash. Do not add salt or sugar to your baby's lentils because they can decrease the nutritional value. A sprinkle of dried herbs, such as cinnamon or ginger, might enhance the taste of the lentils and expose your baby to new flavors.
- KidsHealth: Feeding Your 8- to 12-Month-Old
- Healthy Children: Childhood Nutrition
- Starting Solids: The Essential Guide to Your Baby's First Foods; Annabel Karmel
- United States Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
- Parenting: The 5 Nutrients All Babies Need
- monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images