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Do we need to avoid certain foods so our baby doesn't get a food allergy?

gisèle gual — mar 19, 2019

Now that we all are (over)informed, it is difficult to be able to identify what is true and what is not in all the things we hear or read about children’s diet. And especially about eating foods considered allergenic or not easily digestible.

It is even more important for parents of children aged between 4 months and 3 years, because it is when cases of food allergy appear more often.

Yet, the new recommendations are clear: food diversification should start between 4 and 6 months old and no food is banned!

From the beginning?

Yes, from the beginning because an “early” introduction of allergenic foods can indeed induce a certain tolerance!

Let’s talk about the different foods which are more often feared or avoided:

Foods with gluten (bread, pasta):

babies can eat these as early as 5 - 6 months old! Change meals by replacing potatoes with other carbohydrates such as little pastas you can mix in the first vegetable purées/sauces, then later simply served with vegetables or in a soup; give a bread crust to your kid as soon as he is able to eat some (at about 9-12 months old); prepare semolina for snack time…

Vegetables which are “difficult” to digest: 

onions, garlic, tomato, pepper… all these vegetables are said to be difficult to digest and therefore to be avoided for a child. Nonsense! You can cook and use these very tasty foods, which make us travel just by eating them, without any concern!

Spices:

very very hot spices aside, all spices and aromatic herbs are allowed! They are actually recommended because you can naturally season meals without any added salt and your child can discover different tastes and smells. So, add some parsley, thyme, coriander, cumin, rosemary, black pepper, cinnamon, mint, vanilla, etc!


Fish:

big predators such as tuna, eel or monkfish aside, all fishes are allowed for a baby or a child. You can cook them steamed (with a few herbs, of course, to make them tasty!), in foil, in a veggie sauce, with a bit of coconut milk… There are hundreds of ways to cook fish and make your kid love fish!

Fruits:

all fruits are allowed and, even if it is always better to pick season fruits, nothing prevents you from helping your kid to discover new tastes by using frozen or dried fruits. For example, porridge with a few frozen strawberries, a fruit purée with a bit of coconut, dried fruits as a snack…

Nuts (walnut, hazelnut, pistachio…):

if we obviously avoid whole nuts for a small baby to prevent him from choking, nothing prevents you from using them as a powder in a dish, a fruit purée, a pudding, a porridge… Then, as from 3 years old, as a healthy snack!

To conclude: if your child doesn’t have any known allergy, all foods are allowed as from diversification, and then, are even recommended to help him in his sensory discoveries!

Article by Gisèle Gual, pediatric dietitian.