Broccoli is an excellent choice for babies. It is member of the cabbage family and is extremely nutrient dense. Broccoli is best given to an infant between 8-10 months old. If your baby has had any digestive issues, it would be best to introduce broccoli into the diet later rather than sooner.
Broccoli can be served to babies raw as long as you are sure to cut the stems off. Raw stems can be difficult for babies to chew and can be a choking hazard. Cut broccoli into small pieces but keep it large enough that your baby can use their pincher grasp to pick up the pieces and practice their self feeding skills.
Broccoli is very high in Vitamin C and is a great source of soluble fiber. This makes broccoli wonderful to add to baby food recipes. Soluble fiber is the fiber that helps loosen up the bowels as it changes its form as it passes through the digestive tract. An overabundance of soluble fiber in a diet may produce diarrhea. Insoluble fiber does not change its form or make up and simply helps to add bulk and too much of it may cause constipation.
1 bunch – steamed broccoli contains :
Vitamin A – 19809 iu
Vitamin C – 161.7.0 mg
Niacin – 8.0 mg
Folate – 310 mcg
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – .73 mg
Vitamin B6 – .62 mg
Vitamin E – 11 mg
Vitamin K – 118 mg
Contains some other vitamins in small amounts.
Potassium – 1499 mg
Phosphorus – 358 mg
Magnesium – 118 mg
Calcium – 516 mg
Sodium – 245 mg
Selenium – 5.7 mg
Iron – 5.5 mg
Contains zinc, manganese and others
When cooking broccoli you should always steam it or sautee it in olive oil. If sauteeing it for your baby, please be sure that you thoroughly cook it; do not serve it al dente’ if you will be making broccoli finger food.
Avoid microwaving broccoli. Microwaving causes all vegetables to loose some nutrients but broccoli is affected more than most. Microwaving broccoli causes it to loose more nutrients than any other vegetable. Steam or boil broccoli for the shortest amount of time needed to maintain the highest quality of nutrients. Broccoli may also be baked or roasted for a slightly different texture. This may be harder for younger babies and children to chew since it does not get as soft as steaming or boiling.
There have been some isues with the validity of these studies however we always prefer to use a cooking method other than microwaving. Broccoli may also be baked in casseroles and other recipes.