Adding pickle in your child’s diet will certainly broaden his/her taste range. It is always a good idea to expand your child’s appetite. Pickle is certainly one nutritious finger food which your toddler might enjoy. There are various health benefits of pickles as far as your child is concerned. Pickles are rich in vitamin A along with iron and potassium. Along with strengthening bones this tangy food item also improves your child’s digestion and improves digestion. However, there are various concerns associated too with pickles. This fermented food alternative can prove to be harmful depending on the salt content, sugar content and added flavors.
Introducing Pickle to Your Child:
It is a high possibility that when for the first time you are trying to introduce pickle to your kid he/she would not have tasted anything like that before. The “sour” taste of pickle can create sudden jitters for the toddlers. For that reason you must take cautious steps before introducing the same as your child mustn’t grow a permanent reluctance for the food. It is advised that fermented products like pickles should be introduced in small amount. If he/she is still a baby then you can just dip your finger into a jar of pickle and then make him/her taste the juice of the same. It is obvious that your cute one will make that “sour” face but you must stay confident and encourage him or her to taste the juice more as even the juice alone is beneficial. Now if your child is a toddler or pre-schooler then you can introduce pickle in smallish amount as a side to the foods they already eat. It is better not to make a huge deal about the newly introduced food (in this case pickle) as otherwise they might grow permanent rejection.
Health Benefits of Pickles
Fermented foods like pickle offer several health benefits to your little one.
1. Boosts-Up Energy Level:
The level of iron contented in pickles (cucumbers) is likely to boost –up the overall energy level of your child as it increases blood circulation and enhances the growth of the red-blood cells in your child.
2. Improves Digestion:
The good bacteria present in pickle is known to improve the digestive health of your child and decreases chances of gas formation and constipation. It also cures other tummy related problems.
3. Ensures a Healthy Heart:
All the processed food that your child eats have a negative impact on his/her heart and in the long run they might even cause serious damages. However, consumption of fermented foods like pickle can actually ensure a healthy heart of your child. This is because pickle is rich in fibre that ensures healthy functioning of your child’s organs.
4. Strengthens Immunity:
Pickles are rich in Vitamin C and that helps your child to fight-off common cold & cough and tendency of suffering from regular fever. Pickle contains around 35% of the required amount of Vitamin C, which your child must consume, along with other minerals which boosts the immunity.
5. Healthy eye & skin:
Pickle is rich in Vitamin C along with a considerable amount of Vitamin A. These essential vitamins act as antioxidants and help your child relish a healthy skin and eyes.
6. Strengthens Bone:
The Vitamin K content along with other essential minerals in pickle helps in the formation of bones in the early developmental stages of your child.
Precautions While Feeding Pickles:
While introducing pickles to your child is definitely a good idea but at the same time there are certain things that you must look out for.
1. Sodium Content:
Pickles are fermented by using salt and sugar. Salt contains a high amount of sodium. Doctors recommend less than 1000 mg of sodium per day for the toddlers. This is because of the fact that sodium can damage your child’s kidney. There are many brands of pickles available which have more than 1200 mg of sodium. You must select pickle varieties which are low on sodium content. There are brands which have as low as 12mg of sodium. You can choose them for your toddler.
2. High Sugar Content:
Available brands of pickles undergo quite a lot of processing and fermentation. You must check the label of your pickle brand to be sure that it is not too high for your little one. According to experts the recommended amount should not cross one table –spoon per day per year of the age of your child. To put it simply 15 to 45 grams of sugar for your toddler. Normally a pickle jar, bought from the store, contains 5 grams of sugar. This is quite a high amount when you consider pickles are just finger foods.
3. Added Flavors:
Apart from the preservatives in terms of sugar and salt there are various added chemicals in the pickles available in the stores. These natural flavors or added flavors are synthetic chemicals which can be harmful to your child.
Recommendation: On one side pickles are very healthy choice and it also helps your little one to experiment with tastes. But on the other side the pickles, which are available in the store, contains high level of sodium, sugar and added flavor. This is harmful for your child. That is why it is important that you find a suitable alternative. Homemade pickles is perhaps the best suited alternative for you little child.
In order to prepare homemade pickles you will require fresh and crisp cucumbers, a handful of dill, some cloves and garlic and little amount of salt and pepper. You should allow it to ferment for 3-4 days and then start giving it to your little one slowly till he/she adjusts to the taste.