A food additive is any substance added to food that changes its characteristics. There are two types of food additives, direct and indirect. Direct food additives are those added to a food for a specific purpose in that food, such as sugar or salt. On the other hand, indirect food additives are those that become part of the food in trace amounts due to package storing or other handling. As a parent you decide what healthy foods to offer you baby. While preparing food for your baby, there are a lot of things to keep in mind and majority it is the amount of sugar and salt introduced in the food that counts. Salt and sugar both must be avoided in a baby’s food.
Many parents wonder about adding salt to their baby’s food. They wish to add more flavor to the baby’s food so that the baby is tempted to consume his or her food. It often seems that adding a bit of salt to baby food would not be harmful. But the truth is, adding salt to baby food may be dangerous. Also, it is not at all necessary to add salt in your baby’s food. Keeping high amounts of sodium out of your baby’s diet is important. Added salt in baby food may lead to a series of health issues including high blood pressure and kidney failure. The amount that is required by the baby’s body is already stored in the fruits and vegetables that are given to the baby in the normal food.
Babies only need only a very small amount of salt: less than 1g a day until they are 12 months. Your baby’s kidneys can’t cope with more salt than this. Before your baby is six months old, he will get all the sodium needs from breast milk or infant formula. Added salt can be started only when the child becomes at least a year old.
Sugar and other artificial sweeteners should not be added to the child’s diet unnecessarily. Refined sugar has no nutritional benefit and consuming it means consuming empty calories. The first few years of life determine your children’s taste buds for a lifetime and it is best to avoid them developing a lifelong taste for sugary products which can lead to weight problems and obesity. If you wish to add sweetener, add a little date water to the food. If it is required to be added in certain foods like sheera, then use jaggery as it is rich in iron and iron is a necessity for the growth of your baby. Other ideas include adding apricots, raisins and grated fruits like apple or pear. These can be added to yoghurts, cereals and even in dishes.
Ghee, Butter, Oil
There are different opinions on this subject. Some doctors feel that it is best to avoid all fatty additives like ghee, oil and butter until the child is at least nine months old. Other doctors feel that these substances are high in calories and thus calories are essential for baby’s growth. Ghee is usually unsalted which is good for babies. Ghee is preferred over butter because butter contains salt. It’s good to give ghee to baby just to add flavor because babies do not like bland food. So just add few drops in your baby’s food. Ghee also increases the energy value of the food.
Other Food Additives
However, you can add spices to your baby’s food. But it is advisable not to use hot spices in a baby’s early food as it is likely to upset his digestive system. Babies are used to spices as they get the taste from their mother’s breast milk. You can start adding herbs in your baby’s food as long as they are mild (such as basil). Perhaps not as a first food, when your baby is just getting used to eating. But you can start adding as soon as your baby has tried different foods so as to increase the flavors.