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10 Natural & Healthy Alternatives to Sugar for Babies

by Shalini Santhosh Kumar | May 17, 2017

by Shalini Santhosh Kumar May 17, 2017 5 Comments

Natural Sweetener Dates powder Early Foods

All the new moms are generally advised to avoid using refined sugar in their baby’s foods till the age of 1 yr.  Refined sugar, has 0 nutrition and only creates more cravings for sweet foods. This can lead to more junk cravings, obesity, low immunity, cavities etc. The addiction to sugar is easy and is known to be equally and alarmingly additive as drugs like cocaine!

Here is a simple background to help your child crave less sugar or junk. Our gut or digestive track is filled with bacteria (both good & bad).  These microbes develop by the age of 2 years. The good bacteria help enormously in digesting our food, making more nutrients, build a strong immunity by fighting against infections etc. While the bad ones are craving for junk inviting more infections. Now if you help develop more good bacteria in your child’s tummy early on, your child automatically will not crave for junk. It’s as easy as that.

So we are sharing a few simple natural alternatives for sugar that are loaded with nutrition. Some can be made in a jiffy at home too.

1. Dates Puree or Dates Powder:

Dates is a super food for babies. It cannot be given as a whole, since babies cannot chew them well.  Soak fresh dates for 3-4 hours, pulp it up and use as a puree, or use dried dates powder for an instant & quick addition to your recipe. You can add dates puree or powder to porridges, laddoos, fruit purees, desserts you make at home, smoothies, milk etc.

Check out our store to buy organic dry dates powder, that comes super handy to make quick meals & during travels.

 Dry Dates Powder Early Foods

2. Honey:

Honey Natural Sweetner for Babies Early Foods

Raw honey, which is not filtered or heated has tremendous anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-septic properties.  When its not heated, it retains active enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, minerals that are vital for developing a strong immunity in children.

 Note: Honey can be given to babies only after they complete 1 year.  Babies younger than one year’s gut is not sufficiently developed to fight off the bacteria present in honey, which could lead to botulism.

3. Apple Puree/Sauce:

Apple Sauce Early Foods for Babies

Apples can be introduced to babies after 6 months. It is rich in dietary fibre and the perfect first food with a natural sweet taste and abundant nutrients to begin with.

For a simple puree, you can peel, chop & steam the apples and whizz off in a blender to make a puree.  This puree can be then cooked for 10 mins with a little ghee to make a thick sauce that you can store for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Apples are also known to be a good detoxifier. The pectin in apple combines with any radioactive or toxic heavy metals like mercury, aluminum, lead etc in the body and eliminates them through the digestive tract.

4. Nendrapalam Powder (Raw banana powder)

Raw Banana Powder Early Foods

This originates from the land of bananas – Kerala, and was traditionally used for babies as a sweetener. It can be introduced after 6 months of age, after other basic first foods are incorporated in your baby’s diet. It has high fibre content aiding easy digestion and preventing constipation in babies.

5. Figs Puree:

Figs Puree Early Foods

Figs are one of the highest sources of readily assimilable calcium in the plant world. They are highly alkaline in nature too and build up good gut bacteria. They are phenomenal for weight loss, excellent laxative so great for babies suffering from constipation, improves immune system and protects liver.

 Figs are mostly eaten in its dry form when not in season. It can be introduced to babies 8+ months. Just soak dried figs for few hours, blend into a puree that can be used in your baby’s food for a nutritional boost.

6. Maple Syrup:

Maple Syrup Early Foods Natural Sweetener for Babies

Real maple syrup is a treasure, made more interesting by the fact that it's only possible to produce it in the northern part of North America. Specific weather conditions create the magic that allows the sugar maker to transform watery sap into authentic golden syrup that can only be labeled Pure Maple Syrup. The sap of this maple tree looks like water, with just a hint of mapley sweetness. The particular sap used to make syrup is different from that produced by the tree at other times of the year. This sap flows in the late winter and early spring (around the time of what the Native Americans called the “sugar moon”). After the trees start to bud and produce leaves, the quality of the sap dramatically changes and cannot be used to produce syrup.

Maple syrup can be given to babies who have completed 1 year only. Because like honey the chances of botulism increase if taken by babies younger than 1 year.

7. Raisins Syrup:

Raisin Syrup Early Foods Sweetner for Babies

The ideal time to start feeding your babies with raisins can mostly be around 8-10 months of age. Use very little of it in a meal, as it can be sweeter than sugar.

You can make it easily at home by soaking raisins for a few hours and blending them to make a thick pulp. Store this for 2-3 days in a fridge for instant use in your baby food  recipes.

8. Apricot Powder:

Apricot Powder Natural Sweetner for Babies

Apricots are high in minerals and beta carotene.  Rich in Iron, Copper, Cobalt, it makes it good for treating anemia & any digestive issues. You can use this for your 6+ month baby in its cereals or fruit & veggie puries.

If you are using dried Apricots to powder, try to find those that are organic and do not contain preservatives or sulphur dioxide.  Some babies are allergic to sulphur and this tends to be high in sodium.

9. Palm Sugar:

Palm Sugar Natural Sweetner for Babies Early Foods

Palm Sugar can be given to babies above 6 months.  It is made from the sap present in the flower buds of a palm tree. The sap is heated to remove moisture content and made into a thick syrup. This is then crystallized to make palm sugar.

 It can be added to milk, porridges, puddings, other sweets etc. instead of white sugar. It has a number of minerals like potassium, zinc, manganese, copper; vitamins & phytonutrients.

10. Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is made from the sap of a coconut tree. The flowers of coconut palm contain the sap that is cut and collected in containers. Its heated to evaporate moisture and then crystallized to form a powder.

Coconut sugar has vital nutrients and is also low on glycemic index compared to refined sugar. That being said, real coconut is far more nutritious than eating its sugar. But yes, its definitely a better alternative when you want to bake cookies, cakes, puddings etc for your little one. 

Finally a little summary of the Top 3 nutrients in each of the Natural Sweeteners:

Sweetener

Top 1

Top 2

Top 3

Dates powder

Iron

Potassium

Calcium

Honey

Folate

Choline

Betaline

Apple Sauce

Vitamin C

Iron

Potassium

Banana Powder

Potassium

Calcium

Phosphorous

Palm Sugar

Iron

Zinc

Potassium

Figs puree

Calcium

Iron

Magnesium

Maple Syrup

Magnesium

Calcium

Potassium

Coconut Sugar

Protein

Calcium

Potassium

Raisins Syrup

Vitamin B

Iron

Potassium

Apricot powder

 Iron

Copper

Cobalt

 

On a final note, babies are still developing their taste buds and really cant taste as well as you can. So these natural sweeteners can taste bland to you but your little ones will accept it easily. And the more earlier you start, the more easily they can avoid sugar cravings.

Please consult your doctor before introducing any of these new foods to your little one.

Drop in your feedback or questions if you would like to know more about these products.




5 Responses

Arfa
Arfa

October 26, 2018

Jaggery can be given to 6 month+ babies with porridge n meal

Kakali
Kakali

May 15, 2018

Can I use dry dates powder in my 6+ baby’s food??

Deepa
Deepa

May 26, 2017

Why isn’t jaggery in the list? Isn’t it a healthy alternative as well?

Shalini
Shalini

May 18, 2017

Samiksha – You can try our porridge mixes that contain almonds, dates or pumpkin seeds. These have healthy fats and I am sure regular feeding of these organic products can help your baby gain weight. But nevertheless, if your baby is happy, running around, eating – then there is nothing to worry. Just give it time. He will become okie.

samiksha
samiksha

May 17, 2017

my baby is 20 month old but his weight is only 9.1 pls suggest some weight gain food s

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