Fresh pears are a favorite with adults, however research shows that it is of greater importance to introduce young children to the fabulous taste and nutritional value of pears.
Nutritional value of pears for babies
The basis of our eating habits is formed as toddlers. If children aren’t eating fruit by the time they are four, they are unlikely to include fruit as an important part of their diet as they grow older.
This is according to Frances Bardetta, the president of the Association of Child Care Centre of NSW and a board member of the Australian Confederation of Child Care Centres.
“By making sure that kids maintain a healthy diet as toddlers, we are looking after their long-term health. In my experience, it is the kids who have a healthy diet high in fruit that make better students as they grow older. At our child care centres we introduce children to pears in a group setting. Eating fruit is the socially accepted norm and children learn to love it.” she said.
Pears are often one of the first foods offered to children. Cooked and pureed pears make a soft, tasty and easy to swallow, introduction to fruit consumption.
With babies beginning to eat solids, it is helpful if the food on offer is easy to swallow and digest. Pears fit the bill perfectly and can help reduce stress for both child and parent.
As your baby becomes a toddler, it is equally as important to continue consumption of fruits such as pears. Toddlers are constantly on the go and will require carbohydrates to fuel their busy bodies and pears are a quick, easy and tasty source of carbohydrates.
Pear growers offer these useful tips to feeding your child pears:
- For younger babies pureed or stewed pears are a lot safer than sliced or diced pears that could cause the child to choke.
- For older children, sliced pears make a tasty and nutritious instant snack.
- To save time and effort, pureed fruit can he prepared ahead of time and frozen for a few months.
Research commissioned by the Australian Horticultural Corporation (AHC) and the Australian Apple and Pear Growers Association (AAPGA) into the eating habits of Australian children showed that 75 percent of primary schoolers did not eat the recommended two pieces of fruit per day.
Those who did eat the recommended two pieces of fruit tended to have a better diet all round to those who ate none.
“With constipation, obesity and high blood cholesterol levels in Australian children at record levels, it is important to encourage the consumption of fruit from a young age,” Ms Bardetta said.
A 170g pear contains 4g of fibre – the same as one and a half cups of cooked brown rice. They are also a great source of carbohydrates, vitamin C and contain no fat or cholesterol and virtually no sodium.