However, peanut butter is a high risk food for babies under 1 year for this is the time when the risk of developing allergies is quite high. It is wise to start peanut butter for your baby at least after the age of 1½ years. This is because by the time your child reaches this age, the digestive system grows strong enough and the immune system responses to new foods subside. But, overlooking at the disadvantages of peanut butter, there are numerous health benefits associated with peanut butter for children.
About Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is prepared from dry, roasted [peanuts. This paste is usually used as a spread on sandwiches or toast for children. Peanut butter is a healthy food loaded with nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, niacin, monounsaturated fatty acids, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, pyridoxine, thiamin, calcium, manganese, magnesium, sodium, phosphorous, copper, zinc, selenium, iron, and essential vitamins.
Another interesting fact about peanut butter is that it is available in two popular varieties – creamy and crunchy. While children and women generally like the creamy variety, men usually like the crunchy variety.
When Can I start giving Peanut Butter to my Child?
It is advised to avoid giving your child peanuts and related foods before the age of six months. These foods include peanut butter, peanut oil and some snacks. Also, avoid giving peanuts or nuts to children below five years of age to prevent the risk of choking.
Peanut Butter Health Benefits for Children
The health benefits of peanut butter for children include a good supply of protein for body development, supply of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, ample supply of essential fats for brain development, and sufficient supply of Resveratrol – an immune booster.
Some detailed benefits of peanut butter for children are:
Healthy Physical Development: Peanut butter is loaded with protein. Protein is a crucial ingredient for developing a strong and healthy body on the inside. As you know, protein content is good for strengthening all the muscles of the body along with muscles existing in the organs. Peanuts and peanut butter are really high sources of protein in the plant kingdom, thus being an excellent source of protein for your child.
Rich in Reservatol: This highly beneficial biochemical is found in high amounts in peanut butter. Reservatolhas lately gained high popularity for its potential to fight diseases, thus enhancing the immune system.
Potassium Enriched: Excess sodium in your child’s diet can put stress on the cardiovascular system. Well, potassium can counter the negative effects of sodium. Furthermore, it also helps proper functioning of the nervous system as well as heart. There are peanut butter brands that contain added salt and twice the amount of potassium than sodium. There are also, unsalted varieties that are more heart healthy.
Healthy Source of Antioxidants: Peanuts are loaded with antioxidants. These antioxidants provide inner protection to the child’s body. Furthermore, antioxidants in diet are highly helpful to counter the attack of free radicals produced during metabolism while preventing tissue and DNA damage.
Fiber Enriched: A 2-tbsp serving of peanut butter contains about 2 grams of dietary fiber. Although not completely filled with fiber like other fibrous foods, peanut butter can help supplement the fiber intake from other foods. Fiber keeps the digestive system regulated by promoting healthy bowel movements. Furthermore, it also helps keep mid-meal hunger at bay. For adults, the fiber in peanut butter also fights heart disease, obesity, and type2 diabetes.
Loaded with Nutrition: It is a less known fact that peanut butter is loaded with nutrition. A single serving of peanut butter contains 3mg of powerful antioxidant vitamin E, 49mg of bone-building magnesium, 0.17mg of immunity boosting vitamin B6. It has also been proved through research that eating peanuts reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and similar chronic health conditions.
Healthy Brain Development: Peanut butter is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, the same found in most fish. These Omega-3 fatty acids are best for your child’s brain development. With growing age, your child needs a regular supply of these fatty acids. Putting it simple, peanut butter is as good as fish in making your child smarter.
Healthy Source of Various Vitamins and Minerals: Besides being a rich source of healthy fats and protein, peanut butter is also loaded with vitamins and minerals like riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, vitamin E, folate, iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and sodium. Each of these vitamins and minerals are crucial in the physical and mental development of your child.
Aids Weight Loss: Calling peanut butter a diet food, with 180-210 calories per serving might seem counterintuitive. However, it features the amazing combination of proteins and fiber that is amazingly filling and keeps you feeling full longer thus making you eat lesser quantity overall. Furthermore, there is nothing more indulgent that licking peanut butter off the spoon. This indulgence, in moderation, helps your teenage child fight cravings and stay on track.
Precaution Tips with Peanut Butter
Although peanut butter provides many health benefits to children, it is recommended to be on the lookout for allergic reactions. Peanut and peanut butter fall under the category of high risk foods that can induce allergies. Sometimes, these allergies can take a severe form, leading to anaphylactic shock that can be even fatal. Therefore, be on the lookout for allergic reactions like inflamed mouth, lips, choking, nausea, reddening of skin, breathing difficulty, etc.
It is always better to consult your pediatrician before starting with peanut and peanut butter with your child. Doing this would help you determine if your child might develop allergies to peanut or other tree nuts. Also, try to find out is your family has a history for peanut allergies. This would make things easier for the doctor to determine if your child can develop an allergy to peanut butter. Peanut butter, if eaten in moderation, is kid-friendly and highly nutritious food loved by all kids.
Peanut Butter Nutrition Facts
Before giving your child peanut butter, it is important to know more about its nutritional value. Every serving of 258 grams contains:
|AMOUNT PER SERVING
Calories – 1517
Calories from Fat – 1088
|% Daily Value|
|Total Fat 130gms||200%|
|Saturated Fat 27gms||133%|
|Total Carbohydrate 52gms||17%|
|Dietary Fiber 15gms||62%|
|Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%