Carrots are very high in beta carotene. Beta carotene is a Carotenoid. Carotenoid are a set of darkly colored pigments called pro vitamin A carotenoids that can be converted to Vitamin A. Vitamin A is very important in a developing infant’s diet.
Carrots are often one of baby’s first food. They are easy to digest and are packed full of nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Calcium.
Wait until your baby is at least 6 months old to offer home-cooked carrots due to the possibility of nitrates, chemicals that could cause a type of anemia in young infants. After 6 months, home-cooked carrots are safe for infants, according to Brown, who is the author of “Baby 411.” Commercial baby foods are fine for infants younger than 6 months because they are tested for nitrates. Never give an infant chopped raw carrots, which are a choking hazard. Stick with commercial baby food or smashed, home-cooked carrots.
CARROTS: (half cup steamed)
Vitamin A – 13286 IU
Vitamin C – 1.8 mg
Niacin – .4 mg
Folate – 11 mcg
Pantothenic Acid – .2 mg
Vitamin B6 – .2 mg
Contains some other vitamins in small amounts
Potassium – 177 mg
Sodium – 51.5 mg
Calcium – 24 mg
Phosphorus – 23.4 mg
Magnesium – 10 mg
Iron – .48 mg
Also contains small amounts of selenium, manganese, copper and zinc.
Choose, store, cook:
According to the Environmental Working Group, carrots are not one of the “dirty dozen” foods that are most highly contaminated with pesticides – purchasing organic is a personal choice.
When purchasing carrots, look for those with minimal sprouting at the top. In other words, if the carrot has started to grow, it has been sitting around for quite some time. Also look for little “hairs” growing along the carrot. This also indicates the carrot is growing and has probably been sitting around for awhile.
The best way to preserve the flavor, crispness, and beta-carotene content in carrots is to refrigerate them.
When preparing Carrots, steaming is the very best method for cooking and preparing them. Steaming Carrots allows the beta carotene to be more bio-available and readily used by the body. Add a wee bit of butter to help better absorb the vitamin A.
Carrots should be peeled when making baby food purees as many infants will not be able to digest the skins. Unless you are purchasing Organic carrots, you should always peel carrots as chemicals do concentrate in the skin of the carrot. If you do not buy Organic carrots, please cleanse the carrots by using a vegetable brush and lightly scrubbing the carrots under cool running water.
Remember, always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.