Can babies eat hummus? Hummus is a great food for adults but is it safe for babies too? Find out in this informative article.
Hummus is a nutritious, creamy dip made using chickpeas that originates from the Middle East. It can also be used in other recipes to add flavor, nutrition, and taste. Basically, the dish is made of chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, tahini paste, salt, and lemon juice. Other ingredients like cumin, spinach, beets, and spices can be added to enhance its taste.
Nutritional benefits of Hummus
- Chickpeas have a high plant protein content. 100 grams of chickpeas provide 20.47 grams of protein. When accompanied by whole grain bread, it complements the proteins found in whole grain and supplies all essential amino acids needed for the body.
- It gives satiety and curbs unhealthy snacking.
- Tahini paste is made from sesame seeds and has rich amounts of protein methionine.
- Hummus is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, B vitamins, and minerals such as iron, folate, phosphorous, copper, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and potassium.
- Calcium is necessary for healthy bones and teeth, nerve function, and blood clotting. Both, chickpeas and tahini paste have an abundance of calcium.
- Chickpeas are rich in fiber and therefore, they help in lowering cholesterol levels.
- Improves heart health.
- Acts as a good diet for weight loss.
- The rich iron content in chickpeas and tahini help prevent and heal anemia.
- The complex carbohydrates in Hummus make it a good addition to a diabetic diet.
- High Antioxidant content in Hummus boosts general health and prevents premature aging.
- Olive oil, garlic, and chickpeas have anti-inflammatory properties that help alleviate pain in inflammatory diseases like osteoarthritis.
Can babies eat Hummus?
The NHS, in its guide for parents, recommends Hummus as a weaning food for babies over six months old. Hummus is packed with nutrition and it’s a good addition to your baby’s diet, especially if you are a vegetarian. It supplies the plant proteins needed for a healthy body. Growing babies need a lot of iron, and chickpeas are rich in iron. Lemon juice supplies vitamin C, which boosts collagen production, strengthens bones, teeth, and gums, and improves iron absorption.
Hummus also provides polyunsaturated fats needed for brain development in babies. Fatty acids and vitamin C strengthens your baby’s immune system. Studies show that chickpea fiber promotes the growth of good gut bacteria and helps prevent constipation.
The general rule is to introduce solid foods to a baby from 6 months of age. Hummus can be introduced in your baby’s diet between 6 to 8 months of age. It is better to start with a bland hummus without adding olive oil, tahini, or garlic. However, you can add a bit of seasoning for taste. As with all new foods, start by giving only a small quantity and monitor your baby for around three days to see if there is any allergic reaction. If the baby likes the taste and has no digestive issues, then add Hummus in your baby’s diet. When your baby is a year old, add olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and tahini for added benefits and a great taste.
It is better to feed your baby fresh Hummus prepared at home and avoid commercially available ones, which might have added preservatives and other chemicals to prolong shelf life.
Hummus Recipes for Babies (Without tahini paste)
What You Need
- A can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp boiled cooled water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove
- 3/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Blend all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Adjust the salt as per taste, however, it’s advisable to keep the salt in moderation for younger babies. You can skip adding lemon juice, clove, and cumin for younger babies.
Hummus Recipe With Tahini Paste
What You Need
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1-2 tbsp tahini paste
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves (peeled and crushed)
- 3 tbsps of olive oil
Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Add a pinch of salt for taste. Initially, just feed your baby creamy chickpea paste without the other additions. You can add little amounts of the other ingredients when the baby becomes 12 months or older.
For babies one year and older
Follow the above recipe and add 1/2 tsp ground cumin for extra flavor. Give your baby vegetables like carrots or cucumber cut into thin sticks to dip into the Hummus. Alternatively for younger babies, blend vegetables like raw carrots, peas, or roasted beets with the other ingredients to make a vegetable hummus.
Precautions to observe
- Some legumes cause allergic reactions; therefore, check for allergy when introducing chickpea for the first time.
- Tahini is made from sesame seeds, which are basically nuts; they also have the potential to trigger allergic reactions.
- Introduce potential allergy-causing foods one at a time to the baby’s diet.
- Always keep a bottle of Benadryl syrup handy to tackle allergic reactions.
- Both chickpeas and garlic have the potential to cause gas problems in babies. Avoid if your baby suffers from colic or has other digestive issues.
- Too much salt in the diet can harm the developing kidneys in young babies. Use salt cautiously or omit it while preparing Hummus for your baby.
So now that you know that babies can eat hummus, include it in your baby’s diet with less salt to give them a health boost. Try these recipes and let us know your suggestions and queries!