While most pediatricians recommend rice cereal mixed with breast milk as the perfect first food, I have an alternative; bananas. They are avoided because they have a lot of “carbs” but runners and mothers alike know; bananas are the perfect food. And for babies, bananas are the perfect first food!
Bananas ARE loaded with carbs, but let’s remember what carbs are – a nutrient that breaks down into a simple sugar. That means potatoes are carbs, bread is a carbohydrate and sugar is a carbohydrate; these are all examples of foods that are carbs. Bananas do break down into simple sugars, but they are also loaded with other nutrients that your body and a baby’s body can 100% use.
Bananas are a full fiber food, they are incredibly filling, getting almost all their substance from soluble fiber. They have 100% vitamin C which means bananas cn help ward off infections like the flu and keep your immune system running and bananas pump up the nervous system with energy from 100% B vitamins; riboflavin, thiamin and niacin, pantothenic acid and folate. Folate, you can remember from pregnancy, is used to help the brain and spinal cord form during those first few weeks of pregnancy. Bananas are the prefect pregnancy food too!
Now, bananas are a carbohydrate food; they are starchy and fibrous and sweet. But that doesn’t mean bananas behave like sugar. Because sugar has nowhere to go, it breaks down into fructose and glucose, and is gobbled up in the body. But a banana has so much more substance; a little protein, a little potassium, some fiber, so it takes some time and energy to reduce a banana meaning your blood sugar doesn’t spike with a banana compared to other sugary foods like candy or white bread.
Bananas are a prefect first food for babies because of the carbohydrate content. Because they supply so much energy to little ones, and kids are burning so much energy; growing, playing, learning, you can offer bananas as soon as a baby turns 6 months. Mashed in a bowl, bananas need no seasonings, just a simple spoon to offer that first tasty bite. Bananas provide iron for growing brains, bones and blood supply, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus for strong bones and potassium to keep the heart strong.
There’s no reason to avoid bananas; grab a bunch every time you’re at the store and fill up on the healthiest food around. Good food habits start early, make bananas a staple in your house and your baby and post-pregnancy body will thank you.