Hummus may already be a favorite in your home. So when can you get your baby started with this delectable delight? Can babies eat hummus? Read on.
Hummus has a sneaky way of finding itself on many a snack plate.
If it’s one of your go-tos, you may be itching to share this culinary delight with the latest addition to your family.
But can babies have hummus?
We’ve got the lowdown on things babies and hummus.
In this article 📝
- When can babies eat hummus?
- Can my 6-month-old have hummus?
- Is hummus good for toddlers?
When can babies eat hummus?
A staple in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean diets, the key ingredients in hummus are mashed-up chickpeas, tahini, lemon, garlic, olive oil, and spices.
The star ingredient here is the humble chickpea.
A plant-based protein punch, this legume can be a welcome addition to your baby’s first menu.
It goes by many names—garbanzo bean, Bengal gram, and Egyptian pea—and comes in different shapes and colors, the most popular one being round and beige.
Can my 6-month-old have hummus?
On your baby’s six-month birthday, a whole world opens up for their tiny palates.
Before this, the WHO and American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend an exclusive diet of breast milk or, if this is not an option, formula or a breastfeeding/formula combination.
But once your baby is around six months of age and good to go on solids, chickpeas can be introduced to their diet.
As a source of protein, fiber, iron, and healthy fats, chickpeas boast a host of dietary benefits—all of which are important for your baby’s early needs.
In fact, chickpeas hold such potential as baby fuel that there is continuous research being done on the use of them in both infant formula and as a first food.
So does that mean that babies can eat hummus with no trouble?
If it were solely down to the chickpea, smashed to perfection for safe, easy eating, perhaps.
But what about the other ingredients in the hummus mix?
Let’s take a look at the top three:
Made from toasted ground sesame, this tasty paste is used to create that delicious nutty flavor in hummus.
While it can be introduced as one of your baby’s first foods, it does come with an allergy warning.
As many as 17% of children with food allergies may be allergic to sesame – so it’s best to go slowly on this one.
That being said, experts actually recommend introducing allergens early and often.
“I suggest trying all the allergens in the early days,” says Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Kacie Barnes, “but one at a time so that you can pinpoint the allergen should there be a problem.
Hummus is a great way to introduce sesame, just do it on a day you’re not introducing another allergen!”
Lemons contain a healthy dose of vitamin C, as well as other important nutrients such as potassium and folate.
But they do have a downside – acidity.
Because the acid levels are so high in lemons, they can be hard on your baby’s stomach.
So again, starting off in small squirts is a good idea.
Luckily, traditional hummus tends to have very little lemon anyway so baby should be in the clear.
You should be able to introduce garlic to your baby once they get going on solid foods.
It’s nutrient-rich, containing – amongst other things – vitamins B6 and C and calcium.
In fact, it may even be a helpful addition to your diet when you are breastfeeding.
“I would also recommend adding a little bit of high quality extra virgin olive oil,” says Barnes, “to get some extra fat in there for baby.”
While garlic is not a common allergen, it doesn’t agree with everyone.
Like with all new ingredients, introducing garlic slowly should do the trick.
The bottom line? While the ingredients in hummus are generally safe, go slowly so that you can monitor for allergies and sensitivities.
As the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends, it’s a good idea to introduce one new food at a time, with about a three-day window in between.
One option is to start with chickpeas, and then build up to a more hearty hummus, one ingredient at a time.
Obviously, this is easiest to do if you’re making your own homemade hummus (which can be done easily in a food processor or blender).
Is hummus good for toddlers?
Hummus can become a staple of your toddler’s menu.
As a snack that is nutrient-rich and easy to prepare, it’s quite possible that it could become the snack of choice in your household.
But be warned—not all hummus is created equal.
As you may know, if you’ve stood in front of the hummus selection at your local supermarket, creativity abounds when it comes to this nutty nibble.
There is extra-garlicky hummus, red pepper hummus, and even chocolate hummus, not all of which are appropriate for or appealing to toddlers.
As Barnes says, “we definitely want to steer clear of anything spicy or anything with added sugar or sodium for babies.
I also like to look for olive oil as the added oil as its such a great source of fats!”
Best-case scenario? Make your own so that you have total control over the ingredients. But knowing that time is often of the essence, reading labels will do.