Zucchini For Baby: Safety, Nutrition Value, Benefits And Recipes

Zucchini for babies can be safe from the age of eight months or more, depending on when your baby begins to eat solids. These are also called courgettes, and it is classified as fruit in botanical sciences. However, in cooking practices, zucchini is considered a vegetable from the Cucurbitaceae or squash family. Although this has been used in recipes of various cultures, a recent hype was given as a superfood for babies since it is packed with nutrients and various compounds with medicinal properties (1). Keep reading this post as we tell you about the safety and benefits of zucchini for infants.

Is Zucchini Safe For Babies?

Yes, zucchini is safe for babies. However, it is generally not recommended as a weaning food or your baby’s first solid food. If you are planning to introduce it to your baby, then consult a dietitian first.

When Can You Introduce Zucchini To Babies?

Babies can eat zucchini once they are eight months old. However, if the baby has started their solids earlier than the age of six months (which is not recommended by the World Health Organization), then you can include zucchini in their diet before the eighth month.

Nutritional Value Of Zucchini

The striking feature of zucchini is the presence of some highly beneficial bioactive components. These components are known to have positive effects on human health (2).

100grams of zucchini, when cooked with skin (and without oil), provides the following nutrients.

Name Amount RDA (per day)
Water 95.22g
Energy 15Kcal
Fiber, total dietary 1g
Sugars, total including NLEA 1.71g
Calcium, Ca 18mg 270mg (7-12 months)
Magnesium, Mg 19mg 75mg (7-12 months)
Phosphorus, P 37mg 275mg (7-12 months)
Potassium, K 264mg 700mg (7-12 months)
Sodium, Na 3mg 200mg (7-12 months)
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 12.9mg 20mg
Folate, total 28µg 32µg (7-12 months)
Choline, total 9.4mg
Vitamin A, RAE 56 350

 Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture (3) and World Health Organization (4)

Health Benefits Of Zucchini For Babies

Zucchini is considered to have a number of therapeutic properties. It is believed to cure asthma, cardiovascular diseases, and much more (5). Below is the list of potential health-promoting properties of zucchini.

  1. Antioxidant property: Zucchini has bioactive compounds such as lutein and beta-carotene. These components are believed to have potential antioxidant properties that help boost immunity. An in-vivo study demonstrated potential anti-genotoxicity and chemopreventive effects of zucchini. However, more extensive research is needed to establish these claims  (2).
  1. Immunity-boosting property: Zucchini has a fair amount of vitamins A and C that in conjugation with a well-balanced diet could help boost immunity. Apart from boosting immunity, vitamin A and C also help in repairing cells, maintain healthy bones, skin, cartilage, and teeth (6) (7).
  1. Support muscle activity: Zucchini has a considerable amount of potassium. Potassium is an important mineral that helps regulate fluid balance and muscle contraction (8).
  1. Promotes digestive health: Good digestion is important for babies. The high water content of zucchini is believed to promote digestion. Besides, the vegetable also contains dietary fiber that might also be helpful in boosting digestion.
  1. Overall health: Zucchini has small quantities of most vitamins and minerals. Nutritional diversity is helpful for the overall health of the baby.
Related  Top 10 Healthy Baby Weaning Foods And How To Start Them

Zucchini has its health benefits. But does it have its share of side effects?

Side Effects Of Zucchini For Babies

There are no known adverse effects of eating zucchini. But in some cases, you might find an extremely bitter zucchini. The bitterness in zucchini indicates high amounts of cucurbitacin. Cucurbitacins are compounds that can be toxic and might lead to fatal complications. However, cucurbitacin poisoning is extremely rare, and usually occurs due to excess consumption of squash vegetables. Taste the zucchini before feeding it to the baby. If it tastes too bitter, then avoid feeding it to the baby.

Easy To Make Zucchini Recipes

Introduce zucchini as a puree, and then gradually make it part of other baby food. Below are some baby food recipes that incorporate the use of zucchini.

1. Zucchini and apple puree

Zucchini and apple puree for baby

This delicious recipe is ideal for young babies who have not yet started chewing food. A smooth and creamy blend of zucchini with apple would give a pleasant taste and refreshing feel to the baby.

You will need:

  • 1 finely chopped medium-sized zucchini, preferably organic zucchini
  • 2 finely chopped small apples
  • Water

How to:

  1. Place a deep bottom pan on medium flame and add two cups of water in it. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Put the zucchini and apple pieces in the steamer over the pot. Let zucchini and apple steam for about 10-15 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Once done, put zucchini and apple aside and let them cool.
  4. As they return to room temperature, place them in a blender and blend until you get a smooth paste.
  5. Add water to adjust the consistency. Serve it in a bowl or small cup.

2. Zucchini and nuts smoothie

Zucchini and nuts smoothie for baby

This recipe is ideal for babies between the age of eight to ten months. Besides zucchini, the recipe has beneficial fats from nuts. Nuts are also rich in some minerals, which are essential for physiological processes. However, before you introduce nuts for your baby, consult a pediatrician to stay informed on allergies.

You will need:

  • 1 ½ cups whole fat milk
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachio, and raisins)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
Related  9 Easy Homemade Recipes To Make Custard For Babies

How to:

  1. Place all the nuts in a grinder and grind till it turns into a fine powder. Place aside the blended nuts.
  2. Now add the ingredients (except nuts powder) in a blender and blend well until you get a smooth liquid. To adjust the consistency, you can add more formula milk or water.
  3. Once the blend looks smooth, add the nuts mixture and give a final blend for two to three minutes.
  4. Serve it to your baby in a broad-mouth sipper cup or in a cup.

Tip: To get some variety, you can try this recipe with yogurt instead of formula milk or water.

3. Cheesy zucchini omelet

Cheesy zucchini omelet for baby

Omelet is most loved for its easy and quick preparation. Besides, it provides high-quality protein and other essential nutrients to your baby. You increase the protein content of the omelet by adding some cheese to it.

You will need:

  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup onion, chopped finely
  • ½ cup zucchini, grated
  • 1 green chili, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp refined oil
  • Black pepper, as required
  • Salt, as desired 

How to:

  1. Take a bowl and put zucchini with salt in it. Mix well and keep the bowl aside.
  2. Meanwhile, take another bowl. Break the egg, pour it into the bowl, and give a thorough whisk.  Now add cheese, salt, and black pepper in the bowl and whisk again. Once done, keep the bowl aside.
  3. Now take zucchini and press it between your palms firmly. Ensure that zucchini leaves all the water and gets dry.
  4. Add dry zucchini to egg mix and give the entire mix a good whisk for a minute.
  5. Finally, take a flat pan and keep it on medium-flame and spread oil on it. As the oil heats, put onions on the pan and fry them until they get brown.
  6. Pour egg mix on the onions and let the omelet cook. As you cook the omelet, ensure that both the sides turn light brown.
  7. Serve it hot with bread or you can slice it into long pieces and give it to your baby as finger food.

Tip: To add more color and nutritional value, you can add capsicum and corn to this omelet. You can also add steamed zucchini, as it is soft and easy to incorporate into the omelet.

4. Zucchini soup

Zucchini soup for baby

You can feed a warm soup to your baby anytime during the day. Soup also makes an ideal early dinner for babies who can readily be put to bed after a sumptuous meal.

You will need:

  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 ½ cup vegetable stock
  • Olive oil

How to:

  1. Sauté the onion and garlic in a small pan with olive oil until it turns tender.
  2. Cut the potato into small cubes and add it to the pan and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes.
  3. Now add cubed zucchini and cook for an additional five minutes.
  4. Now add the vegetable stock and allow it to come to a boil. Stir in the yogurt and done.
Related  Healthy And Interesting Food Ideas For 15-Month-Olds

Tip: To make this soup wholesome, you can add ½ cup of oats along with other mashed vegetables, such as pumpkin and carrots.

5. Zucchini and Carrot Fritters

Zucchini and carrot fritters for baby

This recipe is good for babies who have begun chewing their food. It makes an ideal finger food, especially while traveling with babies.

You will need:

  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 small onion
  • ½ cup multigrain flour
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil

How to:

  1. Wash all the vegetables well and grate the carrot and zucchini and set aside.
  2. Chop the onion and then mix all the vegetables together in a bowl.
  3. Add ricotta cheese, egg, flour and pepper and mix well. You can add water to change the consistency.
  4. Lightly grease a frying pan with olive oil and add spoonfuls of this mixture on the pan and allow it to cook till golden brown.
  5. Serve it hot with a homemade sauce or a cup of hot milk.

Tip: For a more roasty flavor, add roasted zucchini into the mix and fry.

6. Zucchini bites

Zucchini bites

This simple recipe is a fantastic and satisfying snack for babies who will enjoy every bit of these crispy bites.

You will need:

  • 2 cups grated zucchini (about 250g)
  • ½ cup of grated cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp oat flour
  • ½ tsp mixed Italian herbs

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the grated zucchini on a clean cloth and squeeze the liquid into a bowl.
  3. Add the drained zucchini and the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix them well.
  4. Form ½ tbsp balls and flatten them into round-shaped balls on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for around 15 minutes or until crispy on the sides.

Zucchini is introduced to babies preferably after eight months. Zucchini may not be a superfood but has important nutrients that confer antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties. Zucchini may be offered to babies in the form of puree, smoothies, soup, or omelet after combining with other vegetables or nuts. Avoid peeling zucchinis if you don’t want to miss on higher fiber content, and also, avoid giving them to babies if they taste bitter. Try out various zucchini recipes for babies to add variety to their diet while also addressing their nutritional requirements.

Key Pointers

  • Zucchini is safe to give to an eight-month-old baby and contains highly beneficial bioactive components.
  • Zucchini has antioxidant properties and can boost immunity, support muscle activity, and promote digestive health.
  • Avoid feeding bitter zucchini to the baby due to high amounts of cucurbitacins.
  • Incorporate zucchini into the baby’s diet using healthy and tasty recipes, such as cheesy zucchini omelet, zucchini soup, and zucchini and carrot fritters.
  • Zucchini can be pureed with other fruits, such as apples, or offered as a smoothie.

Get on to a delectable and nourishing recipe for creamy zucchini soup that will enhance your little one’s health. Craft this easy and nutritious dish, a superb choice for your kid’s lunch or dinner.

Article written by Baby Plumbing

Related Post