Tofu - that's just for vegetarians, right?
Tofu is a highly nutritious food that, rather than being seen as just
an alternative to meat, should be included in your baby's diet on its
Tofu is part of the legume family. It is fermented soymilk curd - the
process by which it is made compares to the way that cheese is made
from milk. Tofu is a rich source of protein, calcium, iron, fibre and
fatty acids - key components for good nutrition.
There are two basic types of tofu - hard/firm tofu, often used in
recipes that needs a consistency which holds together well - and soft or
silken tofu, generally used for desserts, smoothies, soups and sauces.
Fresh tofu has a sweet aroma when opened - any sour odour would
indicate that it is stale and should not be used for your baby. It will keep
for seven days in the refrigerator and should be placed in an airtight
container of water. It is, however, essential that the water is changed
on a daily basis. Tofu does not freeze particularly well - upon
defrosting it becomes somewhat spongy in texture and appears discoloured.
You can introduce this versatile and healthy food to your baby once
he/she is at least 8 months of age. (It is important, however, to be aware
that soy is a potential allergen. When introducing it to your baby for
the very first time, watch carefully for any signs of an allergic
reaction. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stuffy or runny nose, watery
or red eyes and wheezing. Should you ever suspect your baby is allergic
to a particular type of food, then contact a medical professional
It is very easy to incorporate tofu into your baby's diet because it
has very little taste of its own. Instead, it absorbs the flavours of
any foods it comes into contact with.
Initially, you could try blending tofu with cottage cheese or avocado,
for a simple, nutritious meal. Soft tofu creamed with fruit would make
a delicious dessert for baby. Alternatively, tofu can be cut into
chunks and served to your baby raw, as a healthy finger food.
Taking into account tofu's extensive nutritional properties, along with
its versatility, it would clearly provide a very worthwhile boost to
most babies' diets.
Christine Albury is a mother of four and the author of
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