Learn about the benefits of applesauce for babies and how you can introduce this recipe to your baby’s diet, regardless of their age!
Applesauce, as its name implies, is a sauce made from apples. It traces its origin to medieval Europe and is said to be made to preserve apples for consumption during the seasons when it was unavailable or during times of drought. It finds mention in recipes as an accompaniment to meats as early as 1769. In modern times, applesauce is enjoyed independently too.
Applesauce made with unpeeled apples is more nutritious and using other seasonings such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, add to its flavor. The sauce is either sweet or tart depending on the taste of apples you use.
Applesauce is a healthy alternative to oil or butter in your cakes to keep them moist. You can also add it to your cereals as a natural sweetener or enjoy it as a dessert on its own.
The nutrition profile of basic applesauce per serving(100g):
- Calories: 52cals
- Protein: 0.2 g
- Carbohydrate: 14g
- Fat: 0.4g
- Calories from Fat: 4%
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Sodium: 0.08mg
- Dietary fiber: 2.4g
Applesauce for babies:
Applesauce is a great option when you are introducing your baby to solids. When your baby is between 6 and 8 months of age, you can feed him puréed or finely mashed apples. Applesauce, either store-bought or homemade, provides tasty nutrition for your baby.
You can begin by feeding applesauce made of only finely puréed stewed apples at first, then add little amounts of seasoning or puréed vegetables as your baby gets older. You can also add it to your baby’s cereal or rice. For toddlers, you can add it to baked foods as a sugar and butter substitute.
Benefits of applesauce for babies:
- It is a low-calorie meal for your baby.
- Carbohydrates present in the sauce keep your baby full and energetic.
- The skin and the pulp of apples contain a flavonoid Quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Vitamins A, C, and E in apples are essential for eye, skin, heart, and nerve health and boost your baby’s immunity.
- Presence of minerals like potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, manganese, and zinc. All these minerals are necessary for your baby’s healthy growth.
- Phytonutrients in apples act as powerful antioxidants that protect your baby from diseases.
- Soluble and insoluble fibers in an apple prevent constipation and diarrhea in your baby and help them to have smooth digestion. It helps make your baby’s stools firmer.
- Gluten-free, so there is no risk of gluten allergy.
- No added sugar, which makes it healthy.
- Improves your baby’s lung function and lowers their risk of respiratory diseases.
Making applesauce at home:
-For your baby between 6- 8 months of age:
Use sweeter varieties of apples such as Gala, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, or Braeburn.
- Wash and peel two apples.
- Core the apples and cut them into small pieces.
- Place the apples in a saucepan and pour enough water in it to cover the apples.
- Cook the apple pieces for at least 20 minutes until they are nicely tender.
- Cool till just warm, and purée it in a blender till it is smooth with no big chunks.
- If the sauce is too thick, you can add water or milk to make it thinner. Feed this to your baby with a spoon.
- You can store this in an airtight container in your fridge for a week. Feed your baby 2 or 3 teaspoons of applesauce, twice or thrice a day.
- Alternatively, you can microwave the apple pieces for 4 minutes and then purée it for quicker preparation.
-Applesauce recipes for toddlers:
You can follow the above basic recipe, but you can leave the apple skins on. You can try adding the below ingredients:
- Add ½ tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of lemon juice for extra flavor.
- You can also add a small piece of ginger.
- You may add one chopped carrot or one chopped sweet potato, or ½ zucchini or berries. Cook them with the apple.
Cook till the vegetables and fruits are very tender and then purée it. This enhances the nutritional value of applesauce. You can make applesauce grainier in texture for toddlers.
-For kids four years and above:
Applesauce can be added to your kid’s cereal, or you can bake his favorite cakes, muffins, and cookies, with applesauce instead of butter in a 1:1 ratio.
Precautions while feeding your baby applesauce:
- Consult your doctor before introducing applesauce for the first time to your baby.
- Applesauce may produce an allergic reaction if your baby suffers from pollen allergy.
- If you’re buying applesauce from the store, check that it has no added sugar or preservatives.
- For homemade applesauce, use only organic apples.
- Avoid adding white sugar while preparing applesauce.
- Preferably feed your baby freshly made applesauce.
- Follow adequate hygiene measures while preparing applesauce.
- Make sure you puree the apples finely, and there are no chunks that can choke your baby.
Now that you know the benefits of applesauce for babies and the recipes to include them in their diet, go on and give them the nutrition they deserve!