Your Baby Will Love Blueberries!
Blueberries are definitely on the top of the list of “super foods” for baby! Not only are they rich in anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, fiber and vitamins A and C, blueberries are perfect just the way they are. You don’t need to cook them, puree them or mix them into anything! A simple squish of a soft, ripe blueberry with yours or baby’s fingers makes them a fun and tasty snack! Blueberries are portable, delicious and nutritious! What’s not to love?!
Highlighted Nutritional Importance of Blueberries
(nutrients and benefits found in one cup of fresh, raw blueberries):
- Vitamin A - supports baby’s immune system, skin, eyes, and bones
- Vitamin C - supports baby’s immune system, mucous membranes and respiratory system
- Niacin - this is another B vitamin that supports energy production in the body
- Folate – this is another B vitamin that supports brain and nervous system health
- Vitamin K – this is a critical fat-soluble nutrient for baby’s cardiovascular system and a vitamin necessary to enable the blood’s clotting capacity
- Potassium - this is an electrolyte mineral that supports healthy cardiovascular function and kidney function
- Magnesium – this is a mineral necessary to the body’s bone and skeletal health, and ultra-important in regulating energy production inside the cell
- Calcium – another mineral that regulate bone growth and skeletal development, and plays a critical role in some hormone production
- Sodium – this is another electrolyte mineral that similar to potassium is needed to regulate cardiovascular function and water balance in the kidneys
- Iron – is a blood-building nutrient and enhances the oxygen carrying capacity of red blood cells
- “The Magic” in Blueberries…they contain a powerful phytonutrient called Lutein – this compound is found only in plant-based foods and offers incredible health benefits and protection for baby’s eyes and heart
Blueberries are a Wonderful First Food
Blueberries can be given to baby around 6-9 months, served whole, raw, fresh and slightly mushed by your own or baby’s fingers. They are a great food to practice the pincer grasp and are also a wonderful first food for baby to practice self-feeding. If you decide to give blueberries to your baby sooner, it’s best to lightly steam (or even roast - yum!) the blueberries first to break down some of the fibers in the skin, then puree and blend with other fruits or veggies to serve with a spoon. Blueberries are not a common allergenic food, so unlike strawberries (which are often advised to wait to feed to baby until 12 months if there is a family history of allergies to berries), blueberries can be added to the baby food repertoire and enjoyed early on.
How to Select and Store Blueberries for Baby Food
When selecting blueberries, look for those that are darkly colored and not bruised or overly ripe. To store blueberries, simply rinse, drain and toss them into the refrigerator in a bag or a covered bowl. Blueberries will maintain their freshness for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. But, let’s face it – they won’t last that long because they will be gobbled up so quickly! It is very easy to freeze blueberries. Just place fresh blueberries in a freezer bag, remove all the air and store for up to 3 months. Blueberries do not lose their nutritional value over short periods of refrigerator or storage as the dark blue pigment in their skins protects their antioxidant compounds.