Broccoli is considered one of the most suitable foods for the first complementary food. It is most often introduced after or together with courgettes and cauliflower.

Broccoli plays an important role in complementary feeding, because it has many health benefits [1] and rarely causes allergies.

Moreover, a lot of different dishes can be prepared with this product and served beautifully. As a rule, mothers want to know how many months of age their child can have broccoli, what exactly it is good for, and whether it is harmful or not.

Broccoli for baby food – at what age to add it to the diet?

broccoli for babyYou can start introducing broccoli into a baby’s diet even at a very young age. Starting at about 6 months of age. This is the age at which doctors allow children to be fed solid food. It is best served as mashed cabbage, crushed in a blender. Broccoli puree [2] is a very healthy product.

If industrial formula is used to feed the baby, cabbage can be introduced at 5 months of age.

Expert opinion
Eva Fernandez
Pediatrician, pediatric gastroenterologist - Doctor's experience: 10 years
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If your child does not like the specific taste of the vegetable, it is recommended to replace it with zucchini or pumpkin.

Rules for introduction into the diet

broccoli for baby foodUp to the age of 12 months, it is sufficient to feed the vegetable to children 2-3 times per week, replacing one meal with the product. At 1.5–2 years of age, it is recommended to increase the portion by 2 times, offering cabbage every day.

It is useful both raw [3] and as part of various dishes. After the age of 2, broccoli can be used in salads and as a side dish with meat or fish.

Every child has individual developmental differences. The following is general information, not a 100% recommendation. In order not to harm your child, we ask you to consult a specialist first. Before giving your child broccoli – consult your doctor or nutritionist!

For children of this age, it is best to cook broccoli with steam. This will make the plant soft and the baby will be able to chew it. You can give the whole florets ready to eat. In this case, the child can take them in his hands and eat them independently. This way you will not only feed your baby, but also develop him. If you think that the stem of the plant is too big – you can cut it. You can also cut the skin off the stem to make it more tender.
At this age, the motor skills of the hands begin to develop stronger. For your baby to develop grip reflexes, cut the plant into small pieces. The smaller the slices, the more he will develop his index finger and thumb. If small slices are still difficult to grasp – cut the product a little larger.
The more your child gets older – the better he can eat solid foods. Gradually decrease the cooking time for broccoli. Harder cabbage will be healthier for your child’s digestive system. You can also give this type of cabbage to your child by adding it to other dishes.

How to introduce broccoli puree to complementary foods

Once a plan for introducing new foods has been drawn up, a plan for the first complementary food—vegetable puree—should be devised.

Day New product portion in grams Portion of puree in teaspoons
First 3 grams Half a teaspoon
Second 5-10 grams 1-2 teaspoons
Third 15 grams 3 teaspoons
Fourth 20-25 grams 4-5 teaspoons
Fifth 50 grams 10 teaspoons
Sixth 80-100 grams 20 teaspoons
Seventh 120-150 grams 30 teaspoons

Daily allowance

The first time the baby is given 0.5 tsp of pureed puree or 1 tsp of courgette mixture. If no allergic reactions [4], digestive disorders [5], or other negative symptoms occur the next day, the portion can be doubled.

Expert opinion
Eva Fernandez
Pediatrician, pediatric gastroenterologist - Doctor's experience: 10 years
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Gradually, over the course of 7 days, the volume increases and reaches 40–50 g. At 7-8 months, 120–150 g are allowed, at 1 year old up to 200 g of puree.

Is broccoli healthy for babies?

Is broccoli healthy for babiesThis plant contains a large number of useful vitamins and trace elements. It contains a vitamin set of A [6], B6 [7], C [8], and K vitamins [9]. Plus, it has folic [10] acid, zinc, and iron. All these minerals and elements are very important for the development and strengthening of children’s bodies.

In addition to the classic broccoli [11], there are several related plants. They are no less useful for children than our heroine. For example, – romanesco, which grows in Italy. The English love purple sprouted broccoli. And then there is rapini (or broccoli rabe), – it is also useful but more bitter.

By the way, did you know that in broccoli, we only eat the inflorescence?

Is broccoli a common choking hazard for babies?

There are many rumors that a child may have respiratory problems after eating broccoli. Let’s face it – this plant can cause such a reaction in very rare cases. At the same time, it is not on the list of banned products. In any case – consult a doctor beforehand. [12]

Expert opinion
Eva Fernandez
Pediatrician, pediatric gastroenterologist - Doctor's experience: 10 years
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It is also important to know how to cook and slice the plant. This is to ensure that the child does not choke when eating. It is best to cook this type of cabbage by steaming. During cooking, the fruits should become tender and soft. Then you can cut them in half. If you want to keep your child as safe as possible, you can cut off the whole stem part.

Is broccoli a common allergen?

Is broccoli a common allergen?
Is broccoli a common allergen?

Broccoli is recognized as a hypoallergenic product and is therefore suitable as the first complementary food, including for children who are at risk of allergies. American experts have investigated the allergenicity of broccoli as a complementary food and noted its good tolerability and digestibility. [13]

Expert opinion
Eva Fernandez
Pediatrician, pediatric gastroenterologist - Doctor's experience: 10 years
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If the baby, after eating broccoli, has a rash on the cheeks, peeling, red spots, or a stool disorder, of course, the mother should consult her pediatrician. Very often, the culprit may not be broccoli, but something else. The cause of the allergic reaction may be substances that were used to treat the plant during its growth and storage. Using industrial purees for complementary foods reduces the likelihood of such a reaction, as the manufacturer checks the raw material thoroughly. But you still can’t rule out an individual child’s reaction to the vegetable itself. Your pediatrician can help you understand the true cause of the reaction.

Contraindications

Despite the obvious benefits of broccoli for children, it is important to consider circumstances in which its consumption should be restricted:[14]

  • in the presence of digestive diseases (especially pancreatic diseases);
  • when acidity is high;
  • if you are allergic to the product.

Expert opinion
Eva Fernandez
Pediatrician, pediatric gastroenterologist - Doctor's experience: 10 years
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If a child shows a strong dislike for broccoli, this may indicate an iodine deficiency in the child’s body. As a result, this should not be overlooked.

Broccoli: selection and storage rules

The main points worth considering when choosing broccoli are

  1. Fresh produce retains the most vitamins (frozen produce retains only part of them);
  2. The colour of a good product is dark green (sometimes purple). A yellowish colour on the cabbage indicates that it is overripe;
  3. There should also be no sluggish inflorescences. And, of course, no dark spots or mold on the surface!
  4. Broccoli should be sold in its packaging: in food wrap or in a bag;
  5. Store the product in a container or bag in the refrigerator. The vegetable should be consumed within 3 days (maximum 5 days);
  6. If a longer storage time is required, the broccoli can be frozen. Before doing so, divide it into florets, rinse them, and dry them thoroughly.

Broccoli: selection and storage rules

NOTEIf these conditions are met, the broccoli retains all of its vitamins

Recipe: Lemony Broccoli for baby food

To prepare it, you need:

  • Broccoli (one floret)
  • lemon
  • Vegetable oil (olive oil is best).

Preparation method:

  1. Rinse the plant thoroughly under running water then separate the stem part.
  2. Cook everything in a steamer. Cook until the cabbage becomes soft. At the same time, you can heat vegetable oil.
  3. Pour warm oil into a bowl. Then add some lemon juice. Mix everything thoroughly to make a sauce.
  4. Then cool the cooked broccoli and cut everything in half.
  5. After that, add the sliced vegetables to the bowl with the sauce. Stir everything well so that the sauce covers all the pieces.
  6. This dish can be served as a stand-alone meal or with something else.

Lemon Broccoli
Recipe: Lemony Broccoli for Baby Food

Conclusion

We can say that broccoli in complementary foods is a godsend for mothers because it provides the baby with a lot of useful elements, is quite easy to prepare, and allows you to diversify the child’s diet and offer him lots of interesting and tasty dishes.

Video: Broccoli for baby food

What foods does broccoli go with?

Broccoli goes best with beef, parmesan and anchovies. Of fruits and vegetables, cauliflower and lemon.

How much cooking?

Boil the broccoli in water for a short time - 5-7 minutes is enough.

Can your baby have cauliflower?

Yes, you can. Cauliflower is good because it rarely causes allergies. It has a neutral taste and children are usually happy to eat it.

Can seaweed be used by children?

Seaweed should not be offered to children until they are three years old.

When is it better to give broccoli, in the morning or in the afternoon?

A good time to get to know the product is in the first half of the day. In case there is any reaction from the body, you will find out during the day and not at night.

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