Mushrooms are a flavorful treat that come in a great variety of textures and tastes for your baby, and you, to enjoy.
Here are a few words of caution about mushrooms, information about their healthy benefits, and a few ideas for serving them.
When it comes to mushrooms, stick to what you can buy in a store. Mushrooms are a fungus, an organism that feeds on organic material, and they can grow just about anywhere.
There are plenty of types of mushrooms in the wild that will make you very sick, but the mushrooms sold in your grocery store or farmers market won’t be one of them.
There is no strict recommendation from medical organizations or the government against eating mushrooms, once babies start eating solid food. Many organic, healthy eating, and parenting websites suggest waiting until children are about 10 to 12 months old before introducing mushrooms into their diet. Some pediatricians and natural food experts recommend always cooking mushrooms before eating them, especially for children.
Researchers have found a number of benefits to including mushrooms in your diet, and that goes for babies too.
Some mushrooms have more potassium than a banana. They also are a good source of iron, fiber, and selenium, an important mineral. If they have been exposed to light while they grow, several varieties of mushrooms are one of the best plant sources of vitamin D you can eat. Vitamin D helps build strong bones and may help fight against colon cancer.
A small percentage of people may be allergic to mushrooms. The risk is particularly low when eating mushrooms but because mushrooms are a fungus, they release spores into the air. Those spores can cause allergies similar to the kind caused by pollen or mold.
Mushrooms can be a good option for a baby who needs soft foods that can be cut to a safe-to-eat size. Mushrooms have a lot of flavor, some wonderful vitamins and minerals, and are soft enough to be eaten by someone who only has a few teeth. If you decide to serve them raw to your baby, be sure to wash them carefully first.
Mushrooms can be a main dish, side dish, or a great addition to any dish. They can be sautéed, grilled, roasted, baked, or cooked just about any way you can think of.
Here are a few kid-friendly recipes from around the Web that feature mushrooms deliciously.
- Sauté mushrooms with butter or olive oil, garlic, and a little salt and eat them as a meal with rice or pasta, a side dish, a topping for meats, or with other veggies like spinach, green beans, or potatoes.
- Cute meatloaves in a muffin tin are full of veggies for healthy kids — and those following a paleo diet!
- Swap the meat for a portabello mushroom in burgers or cheesesteaks.
- This creamy pasta with mushrooms and spinach can stand on its own for a meal, or make a great side dish.
- Three ingredients in a slow cooker and you’ve got a tasty meal with portabello mushrooms and chicken.
- Let’s be real: Just about anything tastes good inside a tortilla with some melted cheese! Mushroom quesadillas are a good, friendly introduction for your little one.
- Rice, peas, mushrooms: Mushroom risotto is based on three simple ingredients with a delicious, comforting flavor.
And, of course, mushrooms make a great addition on pizza or in tomato sauce.
Remember that if your baby or toddler doesn’t love mushrooms on the first try, switch up the recipes and try another day. It’s worth it to get your little one to like these flavorful, vitamin- and mineral-rich disease fighters into their diet.