Many parents feel anxious about the idea of feeding nuts to children. This is natural considering the impact that nut allergies can have. However, nuts like macadamias are so packed full of nutrients that they are actually an excellent food source for babies and children.
Many pregnant women think they should avoid macadamias to reduce the risk of their baby developing a nut allergy. However, there is no reason to do so. There is no evidence that this is effective. It goes against the recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) and the Australian Dietary Guidelines. There are many benefits to eating nuts like macadamias while pregnant and the only reason a mum-to-be needs to avoid them is if she herself is allergic to them.
Breastfeeding and baby hood
Recommendations state that breastfeeding mothers should also continue eating nuts like macadamias and enjoying their many nutritional benefits to support their own and their baby’s health. The skin to skin contact that babies have with their parents also has an important influence on a baby’s development. Many parents prefer to choose to use natural products during this time and macadamia oil is a greasy, light-weight moisturiser that can nourish skin naturally during this time. It also makes a great oil for baby massage.
The messages around babies and first food can be confusing and recommendations have changed regularly over the last few years. However, current recommendations say that introducing nuts into a baby’s diet early is the best approach. The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy now recommend introducing foods according to what the family usually eats at around 4-6 months of age, regardless of whether the food is considered to be a common allergen. Whole nuts shouldn’t be given to children, but nut butters, pastes and flours are fine to use.
This is good news for parents who love the creamy delicious flavour of macadamias. They can mix a small amount (1/4 teaspoon) of macadamia butter in a baby’s vegetable puree and, if there is no allergic reaction, gradually increase the amount with each meal.
Macadamia baby foods
Nuts have many nutritional benefits, so it makes sense that commercial baby foods include them, along with wholegrains, fruits and vegetables, to help ensure store-bought foods are as healthy and delicious as home-made ones. Leading the charge in this area is Brookfarm who has recently launched a range of baby foods that include the goodness of ground tree nuts, as well as whole grains.
Nuts for Life have developed this delicious macadamia, peach and ginger puree that is just as delicious for parents as it is for the children!
Macadamia, Peach and Ginger Puree
- ¾ cup (100g) macadamias, roughly chopped
- 2cm piece ginger
- 410g can peaches in natural juice, drained and roughly chopped
Finely grate the ginger. Place in a sieve and press to extract as much juice as possible. Discard solids and place juice in a food processor.
Add the macadamias and peaches to the processor. Pulse until smooth.
Serve as a puree to dip with rusks, a topping for porridge or rice cereal or fold through yoghurt.
Toddlers and older children
Nuts like macadamias can represent a choking risk, but there is no reason why children of all ages can’t enjoy the unique creaminess of macadamias. Spread nut butter on toast fingers for toddlers and as they get old enough to be able to chew hard nuts properly, make sure that they are sitting down when they eat so that they can concentrate on chewing properly.
How do you incorporate nuts into your baby routine?