When Can You Give Your Child Wheat Germ?
Parents often relish the day they can start adding some variety into their baby’s diet. Who doesn’t love to see those excited faces as the spoon gets closer? Fortunately for parents today, the list of foods deemed suitable for babies is quite a bit longer than it used to be; it now includes foods like eggs, fish and, yes, wheat germ!
Up until 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended waiting to give babies highly allergenic foods such as nuts, wheat, eggs and fish until after a year. But because no compelling evidence was found showing that waiting prevented allergies, the academy changed its recommendation.
“You can introduce wheat germ just as you would introduce wheat to a baby, which is to say any time after 4 to 6 months,” says registered dietician Bridget Swinney, author of Baby Bites and Healthy Food for Healthy Kids. It’s still important to exercise caution with your baby’s diet. In some cases, where allergies already exist in a family or the child seems to be highly reactive to foods, you may want to put off certain foods. And nuts should be served to babies only in the form of nut butters to avoid choking. Talk to your pediatrician if you are unsure whether you should introduce certain foods to your child.
Why introduce wheat germ?
The first foods you give your baby should be nutrient dense, with vitamins and minerals to help support growth. Wheat germ fits right in. “Wheat germ provides an excellent source of vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant for a baby’s eyes and brain,” says Swinney. It also contains other important vitamins, including folic acid, magnesium, thiamin, phosphorous and zinc, all necessary for growth and development.
Ways to incorporate wheat germ into your baby’s repertoire
“Because of wheat germ’s texture, I’d suggest adding just a sprinkle mixed in with baby’s other cereal,” says Swinney. “Before adding any other new foods, wait at least four days to check for signs of allergy.” Wheat germ also works well added to yogurt, mashed with avocado and sprinkled into mashed bananas. For older children, use wheat germ instead of breadcrumbs for breaded chicken and fish, in mac ’n’ cheese or in meatballs.
Try the following recipes as your child gets older and is used to sampling a variety of foods:
How do you use wheat germ in the recipes you make for your family?