Fatty acids play an important role in infant nutrition. They help support the growth and development of baby's brain and give his immune system a boost.
But the goodness of sardines doesn't stop there - they are also a great source of calcium (especially when packed with their bones) and contain a range of other nutrients, including zinc, B vitamins, iron, manganese, copper and phosphorus.
A common concern when feeding fish to babies is their mercury content...
...but sardines, being both small in size and low on the food chain - contain either very little mercury or none at all, making them one of the safest types of fish for your baby to eat!
Another great bonus for parents is that sardines are relatively inexpensive, although quality does vary considerably from one brand to another and some of the cheapest varieties are also the most inferior in terms of taste and texture.
It's a good idea to check the label carefully and avoid buying sardines containing additional flavorings or preservatives for your baby. We also recommend avoiding those packed in a 'sauce', many of which contain added salt and (in our opinion) may taste anywhere from poor to unpleasant!
During the canning process, the sardines are cooked - and this softens their bones to the point where they can be crushed with a fork and safely eaten. Our babies have all enjoyed sardines mashed with their bones from around 7 months of age - but if you are concerned about feeding them to your little one, then look for boneless sardines instead. Do bear in mind, however, that they will have a lower calcium content than those with their bones intact!
How to Include Sardines in Your Baby Food
Sardines are deceptively delicious - so if you've never eaten them before, don't be put off by their less-than-appealing appearance (particularly if their skins are still on!).
Try these simple ideas instead - then your baby (and you!) will be in for a treat!
- Make a simple and nutritious lunch by stirring mashed sardines into scrambled eggs.
- Prepare a quick and easy salad by combining sardines with finely diced cucumber and cottage cheese.
- Create a tasty topping for bagels or toast by mixing mashed sardines with cream cheese and a touch of sweet paprika.
- Make a healthy sandwich filling for your baby by mashing sardines and avocado together, then finishing off with a little fresh, chopped cilantro.
- Cook a delicious dinner for your baby with a decidedly Mediterranean flavor! Just saute a little garlic in olive oil then add fresh, chopped tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes have broken down, then add mashed sardines and cook for a few more minutes. Toss with cooked spaghetti (chopped to size) or small pasta shapes and finish with a topping of chopped, fresh parsley!
Homemade Baby Food Recipes