Can babies have flaxseeds? What Flaxseeds are Best for Babies?
This is a relatively common question for vegan and omnivore parents to ask as flaxseeds naturally contain plant compounds that can be toxic when consumed in large quantities. However, there have been no toxicity reports from flaxseeds in the diet. So small (baby sized) amounts of flaxseed in the diet can benefit the child with omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients and the benefits outweigh the risk.
As mentioned, flaxseeds are one of the best sources of an omega-3 fatty acid – alpha linoleic acid that helps support brain health and development. Flaxseeds also contain B vitamins, iron, zinc, and selenium -all important nutrients for growing babies and toddlers. However, to maximize the bioavailability of these nutrients, be sure to buy ground flaxseeds (or grind your own) as whole flaxseeds will pass through baby (and adult!) digestive tracts untouched.
Flaxseeds are not a common allergen either, making them great for babies and toddlers to bring into a school or daycare based setting that would likely be peanut-free. In fact, flaxseeds can be a great replacement for eggs in baking if your child has an egg allergy. The substitution is generally 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water is an egg equivalent for baking.
Unsure how to serve this healthy plant-based food to your baby? Sprinkling ground flaxseeds into oatmeal/hot cereals, smoothies, yogurt, cooked grains, energy balls, or baked items (with a cake/bar/cookie like consistency) are all great easy ways to add flaxseeds to your baby’s diet. This is an easy way to boost the nutritional profile of the foods your baby is consuming and when they are just starting out, if the overall volume they are consuming seems on the lower end, foods like flaxseeds can easily be added to add calories and iron (important for growing babies) without adding a lot of volume.
Here are some great flaxseed options to consider serving your baby or toddler:
What We Love: Bob’s Red Mill creates pantry friendly grains and seeds that are vegan friendly, mostly organic, and economical. Bob’s Red Mill ground flaxseeds come in a resealable bag (which is great if you don’t have a container or clip nearby) and in a handy 16oz/1lb bag. These ground flaxseeds are a bit finer than other options (hence ground flaxseed meal versus ground flaxseed) and can work great stirred into oats or yogurt or in energy balls. Like many flaxseed varieties, Bob’s Red Mill Ground Flaxseed is organic.
What We Love: Whole Foods 365 Organic Ground Flaxseed is available with your Whole Foods grocery pick up or delivery if you need flaxseeds sooner for your baby/toddler recipes. Whole Foods 365 line has simple, wholesome ingredient food options and the same is true for these ground flaxseeds. With fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, they are a great nutritional addition to your baby or toddler’s plate.
What We Love: Similar to Bob’s Red Mill, Spectrum Essentials is also a finely ground flaxseed meal that stirs into energy balls or hot/cold cereal easily. The resealable bag makes storage convenient and easy. This brand has been around for some time and creates quality products but doesn’t come with the well known brand price tag like some of the other options.
What We Love: Anthony’s products are meant to bring bulk quality and value to more mainstream commerce options. So while the 2.5lb bag of ground flaxseeds may be a lot depending on how often you use flaxseed, we find it to be a tremendous value. Keep in mind, ground flaxseeds can be frozen to prevent becoming rancid and extend the shelf life of flaxseeds. So if you started introducing flaxseeds to your baby, you may be able to keep the same bag into toddlerhood! The large quantity is especially great if you use flaxseed as a vegan egg replacer in vegan baking.
What kind of ground flaxseed will you add into your baby or toddler’s diet? Keep in mind that whichever option you choose, ground flaxseed offers omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, iron, zinc, and selenium in amounts that help support your developing baby and/or toddler. How do you feed flaxseeds to your baby or toddler?