Once your baby reaches a certain age it will start to eat a variety of foods. Now, the debate over what a baby can and cannot eat is never-ending and everyone seems to have an opinion.
A food that is always at the center of attention is jello, mostly because of its consistency that reminds us of the perfect transition between liquid and solid foods. Let’s discuss a little bit about whether or not can babies eat jello.
- Jello is often given to babies as a transition from liquid to solid food.
- Jello is made from gelatin that comes from animal bones.
- The nutritional value of jello is very low.
- Most manufacturers add a lot of sugar to jello.
- Make sure to mash your jello before giving it to a small baby.
Can babies eat jello?
Babies can freely eat jello but it is not recommended that you include it in all the diets or meals your baby has because there are no nutritious values to it.
How is jello made?
Okay, so this might ruin jello for you forever. Jello is made out of gelatin, which is made from animal collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and it’s found in the skin, ligaments, bones, and tendons.
The way it’s extracted from animals, mostly cows and pigs, is by boiling the bones and pouring acid on them. Next, they go through a filtering process that leaves only the collagen behind. After this, the collagen is dried and made into a powder.
In the process of making jelly, the gelatin powder is added to boiling water which breaks the bonds in the molecular structure of collagen thus leaving us with a squishy consistency.
Just water and gelatin probably taste awful so manufacturers add sweeteners, artificial coloring, and preservatives to make the jello tasty and have a long shelf life.
As we mentioned jello is made out of gelatin which is a protein, however, this doesn’t mean that the jello we buy in the store is a pure protein snack. Jello has a lot of sugar added in which is a carb, so it significantly overpowers the amount of protein.
100 grams of jello usually has around 300 calories, of which around 70 grams are carbs (sugar) and around 7 grams of protein. There is a lack of vitamins and minerals, not to mention the sodium levels are usually very high.
You can, however, go for a sugar-free option, those usually still have a sweet flavor, but are made with artificial 0-calorie sweeteners, like stevia for example.
Is jello safe for babies?
Most parents use jello as a transition between liquid and solid food, but can babies eat jello? The short answer is yes, but you do need to be mindful of a few things.
Jello has almost no nutritional value and a lot of sugar, food coloring, and other additives. Your baby’s immune system is still developing so it is a smarter option to give your baby more nutrient-dense foods.
The chemicals used in food coloring are dangerous if consumed in large quantities, especially for babies. They can often cause an upset stomach, especially if you just started giving jello to your baby.
The sugar content is probably the most concerning. Sugar can cause damage to your baby’s new teeth and possible cavities issues in the future. Even if you get sugar-free jello this can cause your baby to get “addicted” to the sweetness and refuse to eat other non-sugary foods.
Even though jello is soft and mushy it can be a choking hazard in some cases. Usually, it’s not recommended for babies that are younger than 6 months old or have difficulty swallowing. The best way to feed jelo to a baby is by mushing it work a fork and give it in small amounts.
If you are worried because of the lack of nutritional value in-store bought jello, there is a way to make it healthier at home. You will need gelatin, juice, fruit, and natural sweetener.
We recommend you get 100% natural juice or make your own. You are going to put the liquid in a saucepan over medium heat and add in a natural sweetener like honey for example.
Get a handful of fruit and blend it in a blender, we recommend you get berries because they are filled with vitamins and minerals. If you are using other fruits make sure to take off the peal or any seeds before putting it in a blender.
Once the juice is in the saucepan heat it up, add the mashed fruit, mix well and let it all warm up for a minute or two. After, just add the gelatin powder, mix well, and take the saucepan off the stove. Make sure to follow the instructions on the gelatin package to get the liquid-to-gelatin ratio right.
Leave it to cool and there you have it, a healthy version of jello. Before you give it to your baby, make sure to mash it well to prevent choking.
If you are still skeptical about jello and don’t want to feed it to your baby, there are healthier alternatives for a sweet snack for your baby.
No, we are not talking about the fancy acai bowls we see on Instagram. We are talking about homemade smoothie bowls made from fresh fruit.
The method is very simple, just get a bunch of peeled fruit and put it in a high-speed blender. If you want to get your baby used to solid food, skip adding water. This will make the smoothie thick instead of runny like an actual smoothie.
You can also just mash some softer fruits with a fork. You can do this with bananas, blueberries, strawberries, apricots, and so on.
This snack will satisfy anybody’s sweet tooth. Just add rice, milk, and cinnamon into a pan, bring to a boil, and cover. The rice will absorb the milk and will get soft and mushy.
You can also blend the pudding or mash it with a fork to make sure that your baby can swallow it. And if you want it to be sweeter you can use naturally sweetened plant milk.
The question of whether can babies eat jello is a well-discussed topic. Generally, yes, babies can eat jello, but you have to make sure to give only a small amount to your little one. The lack of nutritional value and sugar content can cause unwanted side effects like a weakened immune system and tooth decay.
The next time you are at a birthday party and instead of cake your baby gets offered some jello, let it eat it, it’s not a big deal if they consume a little amount once in a while, but make sure not to make a habit out of it.
I am a stay-at-home mom of a wonderful son. I write on this blog as a hobby to help fellow mothers in their parental journey 🙂