Broccoli for Baby
Broccoli is definitely one of the best food choices for baby. This green cruciferous veggie has been shown to lower cholesterol, aid in detoxification, rebuild vitamin D stores, and help combat inflammation. Steaming ensures the broccoli retains the most nutrients and that it won't become too mushy - a characteristic many kiddos frown upon. Many kiddos may turn their noses up at broccoli, but it's easy to hide when blended into a sweet apple puree or combined with savory asparagus.
Highlighted Nutritional Importance of Broccoli
Vitamin K - this vitamin is vital for the blood clotting process and healthy bones
Vitamin C - helps to heal small cuts and scrapes and helps keep gums and teeth healthy
Folate - this B vitamin supports brain and nervous system health
Pantothenic Acid - this B vitamin supports the immune system, healthy hormone production and basic metabolic function in baby's body
Vitamin B6 - this vitamin supports normal brain development and function and helps regulate the body's natural sleep cycles
Chromium - helps the body break down and store fats, carbohydrates and protein and helps regulate blood sugar
Phosphorus - this mineral is vital for healthy bones and teeth (about 85% of your body's phosphorus is found in bone!)
Manganese - this potent antioxidant helps to form baby's bone and cartilage
Copper - this trace mineral (only needed in small amounts) is essential for forming red blood cells and helps support the heart and blood vessels
Choline - this nutrient isn't a vitamin or a mineral, but is still worth mentioning for the important role it plays in baby's brain development
How to Select and Store Broccoli for Baby Food
According to the EWG, broccoli is not one of the "dirty dozen" foods that are most highly contaminated with pesticides, so purchasing organic is a personal choice.
When purchasing broccoli at the grocery store or farmers market, choose broccoli that is uniformly colored, either dark green or purple-green (depending on variety) and with no yellowing. The stalk and stems should also be firm without slimy spots. It is best to use broccoli within a few days, since the Vitamin C content starts to quickly degrade within a couple of days. Store unwashed broccoli in a baggie in the refrigerator and it should stay fresh for up to a week.
When ready to prepare the broccoli, run it under cold water, remove the florets from the stalk and slice them into quarters for even cooking. Think twice before removing the stems and the leaves ; they're completely edible and have their own unique flavor profile. To help retain the most nutrients and flavor, light steaming for about 5 minutes is the best cooking method. This will also make broccoli easier to digest for baby and kiddos.
Broccoli is delicious on its own as a nutritious finger snack, but is a great addition to savory and sweet purees as well!
Recipes using Broccoli