Avocados are an appropriate first food to introduce to your baby. Easy to prepare, they have a creamy texture and mild flavor that ease your infant into the world of complementary foods. This fruit also happens to be rich in monounsaturated fats like omega-3s, which are important in brain and central nervous system development. Avocados are a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamins C and E, and folate. Your infant should be at least 6 months of age before you introduce solid foods like avocado. Earlier introduction could displace adequate caloric intake and vital nutrients found in breast milk or formula.
Avocado Selection and Storage
Some avocado varieties will darken from green to dark purple as they ripen. The best way to determine whether an avocado is ripe is through gentle pressure, however. Place the avocado in the palm of your hand and gently squeeze. If the avocado yields to gentle pressure, it’s ready to eat. If it's mushy or soft, this indicates the avocado is overripe. Avocados can be stored at room temperature or, to delay the ripening process, in the refrigerator. Firm avocados can take four to five days to ripen.
Slice, Scoop and Peel
Begin by rinsing your avocado, then slice it slowly down the center lengthwise around the seed. Lay the avocado lengthwise and begin cutting at the smaller end. Next, use a spoon to gently scoop out the seed and slice your avocado into wedges. If your avocado is ripe, the skin should be easy to peel away. Simply cut away any black spots or blemishes on the flesh.
Mash or Puree
Your baby should first begin with pureed food, then slowly progress to mashed food and finally tiny pieces. For infants who have just started pureed foods, puree avocado in a food processor, adding breast milk, formula or water as needed to provide the desired thickness. As your infant grows, avocados can simply be mashed with a fork. At age 1, serve them sliced as a finger food. Avocado puree is like a peeled banana, best used within 24 hours due to browning. Your baby's belly is much smaller than you think, and a serving size for infants age 6 months to 1 year is only 1 to 2 tablespoons. Avocado is similar to bananas and apples in that it's usually well tolerated. Observe age-appropriate portion sizes to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort.
Mix and Match With Ease
All new foods should be introduced one at a time. Watch for symptoms of food allergy such as of diarrhea, rash, hives or vomiting. Consult with your child’s pediatrician right away if you suspect your child is having an allergic reaction. Once your child has been introduced to other solid foods, avocado is very versatile and goes well with them. Try mixing pureed avocado with infant cereal, chicken puree, bananas, applesauce or sweet potatoes. Because it has a mild flavor, this fruit can be paired with just about anything to add a delicious taste and nutrient-packed option to your little one's diet.
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