Babies-Toddler Vivian | 04 Nov 2010 01:13 pm

Cooking Bell Peppers For Your Baby

Bell peppers make a tasty addition to your baby’s diet and — despite their misleading name — they are not “hot”! They can be found in a variety of colours, including red, green, yellow, orange and purple. Their bright colours are a good indication of their excellent nutritional value — bell peppers are a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin B6 and vitamin A (from beta-carotene). They also contain folic acid.

Red peppers in particular contain lycopene, a valuable carotenoid which, in adulthood, helps protect against heart disease and cancer. Bell peppers are also believed to protect against such conditions as rheumatoid arthiritis and the development of cataracts in later life.

With such an impressive list of health benefits, it’s clearly a good idea to encourage your little one to enjoy bell peppers from an early age — thereby establishing a healthy start that should continue into adulthood.

When you are buying bell peppers to cook for your baby, look for ones that are deeply and brightly coloured, with taut skin free from blemishes. Check the stems, which should appear fresh and green. Some bell peppers can be very oddly shaped, but this does not reflect on their taste or quality. Many babies prefer red, yellow or orange peppers to green ones, as they are sweeter.

Bell Pepper Baby Food Ideas

You can include bell peppers in your recipes for babies from 6 months of age. Make sure that you introduce bell peppers to your baby alone at first, or with another food he is already safely enjoying. This is to help you identify and prevent potential food allergies or digestive problems.

  • Cut sweet red pepper into slices and serve as a finger food to an older baby, accompanied by a cream cheese dip.
  • Stir chopped bell peppers into your baby’s favourite casserole or stew.
  • To create a truly delicious red pepper puree for your baby, place a whole pepper under a hot grill/broiler. Blacken the skin on all sides, then place the pepper into a sandwich bag. Leave for 10 mins. On your return, the skin will slip easily from the pepper. Remove the seeds and puree.
  • You can mix red pepper puree with other foods — try combining it in a blender with sauteed onion and courgette (zucchini). This will produce a tasty soup that you can serve to your baby either hot or cold. Or use the puree as a tasty spread on lightly toasted bagels.
  • Try serving your baby a stuffed bell pepper — simply blanch a de-seeded pepper in boiling water for a few minutes, then drain and stuff it with your choice of any of the following:
    cooked rice
    a little sauteed onion and garlic
    chopped mushroom
    chopped cherry tomatoes
    a little oregano.
    Bake at 350 deg F for 30 mins, for a simple and delicious meal for your baby.

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