Carrot For Babies - Health Benefits, Nutritional Value And Side Effects
Carrot has high nutritional value and many health benefits. So, it is an integral part of any baby's diet. Check out our list of carrot baby food ideas to introduce this vegetable in your baby's diet.
By Dr Shyam Kumar
Introducing solid foods in your baby’s diet is an important step in his dietary milestone. Carrots are perfect as your baby’s first solid food due to their smooth texture, sweet taste, nutritional value and many health benefits.
Carrot puree and carrot juice can be introduced to babies 6 to 8 months old. On boiling, carrots become soft and spongy in consistency. Your baby will love her mashed carrot diet as it is easy for her to swallow and digest. Also, the smooth texture is perfect for your baby’s soft mouth and gums.
Carrots are an integral part of a six month baby food chart as they contain a variety of nutrients to help safeguard the little one against illnesses. Carrots are rich in vitamin A which is important for eye health. They also contain vitamin B6 which is good for the hair, skin and liver. The presence of vitamin K helps in proper blood clotting. Carrots are also a good source of fibre which is essential to prevent constipation.
We have listed some major health benefits of carrot and its nutritional value below followed by some interesting carrot baby food combination ideas.
Health benefits of carrot
- Improves eye health: Carrots contain beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A which is beneficial to vision and maintaining eye health. Beta-carotene is a natural pigment which gives the carrot its bright orange colour. Carrots are also a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin. Both these compounds decrease the risk for age-related macular degeneration.
- Prevents constipation: Carrots are low in calories and high in fibre. Foods rich in fibre tend to loosen up the stool, promote bowel movement and prevent constipation in babies.
- Good for the skin: Most health benefits of carrots are attributed to the presence of beta-carotenoids. This compound reduces inflammation and promotes faster recovery from skin disorders. Potassium present in carrots reduces skin dryness, and helps reduce scars and blemishes. The anti-healing properties of vitamin C helps the skin recover faster from external injuries.
- Has anti-cancer properties: Phytochemicals present in carrots provide protection against heart disease and cancer. A study by Christensen et al titled, ‘Bioactive polyacetylenes in food plants of the Apiaceae family: Occurrence, bioactivity and analysis’, published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis (2005), demonstrates the anticancer properties of polyacytelenes present in vegetables of the carrot family.
Nutritional value of carrot, raw (per 100g)
- Calories 41 kcal
- Carbohydrate 9.6g
- Dietary fibre 2.8g
- Sugar 4.7g
- Protein 0.93g
- Fat 0.2g
- Folate 19mcg
- Vitamin A 16,706 IU
- Vitamin C 5.9mg
- Vitamin K 13.2mcg
- Calcium 33mg
- Iron 0.30mg
- Magnesium 12mg
- Phosphorus 35mg
- Potassium 320mg
- Sodium 69mg
- Zinc 0.24mg
Data based on USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) - National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
Carrot baby food ideas
Carrots can be given either alone or in combination with a variety of vegetables and fruits. Try mixing carrot purée with any of these: broccoli, green beans, sweet potatoes, lentils or rice. Here is an extensive list of carrot baby food combination ideas based on your baby’s age.
1. Baby age: 6 to 8 months old
- Carrot purée for babies
- Mashed carrot for babies
- Carrot juice for babies
- Carrot and spinach purée
- Carrot and potato mash for babies
- Sweet potato, apple and carrot purée
- Quinoa, apple and carrot purée
- Carrot ginger purée
- Carrot apple sauce
- Steamed carrots
- Boiled carrots
2. Baby age: 9 months to 1-year-old
Carrot for baby finger food: If your baby loves his carrot purée, chances are, he would be eager to put his hands into a bowl of soft, chopped carrots. But, make sure you steam or roast the cut pieces until they are squishy enough. This is a nice way to have your baby munch on this nutritious vegetable. Carrot is an excellent baby-led weaning food packed with nutrients.
Baby-led weaning foods: Baby-led weaning involves starting the child directly on solids or finger foods instead of weaning from breast milk to puréed or mashed up preparations of veggies and fruits. This is a practice trending in Western countries. As soon as your baby is old enough to sit up and grab objects, you can let her choose the healthy food she likes. This allows her to learn to chew and self-feed herself. But, always seek your paediatrician’s advice before introducing solid foods to your baby.
Baby food combinations with carrots
- Carrot banana baby food
- Carrot and pear baby food
- Broccoli carrot baby food
- Carrot oats porridge
- Carrot beetroot soup
- Carrot potato soup
- Carrot tomato soup
- Carrot finger millet pancake/ragi carrot dosa
- Carrot, corn and pumpkin baby food purée
3. Baby age: 1 to 2 years
- Carrot milkshake for toddlers
- Orange and carrot juice with ginger
- Carrot rava upma/carrot sooji upma
- Apple, banana and carrot muffins
- Carrot oat muffins
- Carrot walnut muffins
- Carrot halwa
- Carrot smoothie
- Carrot juice with milk
- Roasted carrot
- Semolina carrot cake
- Sooji kheer for babies
How to select and store carrots for baby food
Fresh carrots are firm with smooth exteriors and are bright orange in colour. Avoid carrots with any pits, scales or outgrowths on the surface. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer layer. Wash the carrots in running water to remove any dirt or mud. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
Side effects of carrot in baby food and precautions to take
- It is prudent to wait until your baby is six months old before you introduce carrots in her diet. This is due to the presence of nitrogen in carrots which can cause anaemia in infants.
- Chopped pieces of carrot can pose a choking hazard to your baby. Hence ensure the pieces are boiled or steamed well enough so that they attain a mushy consistency.
- Your baby may develop allergy to certain foods. Hence always consult the paediatrician when introducing solid foods in your baby’s diet.
- Carrots contain fibre and carbohydrates which may sometimes remain undigested in the intestine. This gets fermented and releases gas which can cause bloating and flatulence.
- Some parents like to give their baby frozen carrot to chew on to soothe the irritation because of teething. Frozen carrots for baby during teething are not advisable as giving small pieces can be a choking hazard.
Carrot is a superfood which is essential for the overall well-being of your baby and his development needs. Go ahead and try out these baby food ideas for your baby.
About the author:
Written by Dr Shyam Kumar on 5 September 2019; updated on 7 November 2019
The author holds a degree in Homoeopathy with an MBA in Hospital Management and has worked across multiple disciplines including healthcare and technology. As a nature lover, he attended the world's first underwater CEO's conference to combat marine pollution.
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