Time for another one of those posts which probably makes me sound like a super healthy, nutrition-conscious, big-brand boycotting crazy foodie mother! So I better start with a confession that I gave Baby K some french fries the other day. And pancake mini muffins. Made using Betty Crocker pancake mix.
Phew. Now that that’s off my chest and we’ve established I’m a “normal” mum…
A recent conversation with my father-in-law began with me asking “what is the Urdu word for hemp?” I was planning on impressing him with yet another superfood I’m introducing into his beloved granddaughter’s diet. He very calmly replied “hashish.”
I had just fed my 11-month old baby marijuana?!
I pulled out my phone and began frantically Googling (as you do) and managed to calm myself down. Hemp is indeed a term used for Cannabis plants, and hemp seeds and marijuana are both made from the plant. HOWEVER, hemp seeds do NOT contain the psychoactive substance in marijuana. They are NOT drugs.
Actually, they are a brilliant source of nutrition, and have recently gained a lot of popularity along with flax, chia, etc. Here are some examples of what they contain:
- All essential amino acids—something uncommon with plant protein sources—making them a great addition for people on a vegetarian or vegan diet (source: Shape)
- A rich source of a number of essential minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc (source: Livestrong)
- Excellent source of essential fatty acids, including Omega 3, 6 and Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) in the perfect balance (source: Pure Healing Foods)
- And more. Please do some Googling too; it’s all very interesting, I promise!
I got my hemp in a box of mini Linwoods superfood sachets:
Nope, not a sponsored post; I bought these from Al Fateh supermarket in Islamabad, which is popular for carrying imported food. I think this is great value for money (this cost the equivalent of just over £3.70), as you can introduce a number of different seeds (including flax) to your baby’s diet, without spending loads on one big bag of just one type of seed. Have a look here for more details.
Anyway, I digress.
So, why should you consider introducing hemp to your baby’s diet? Well, I’m no nutritionist so please do your own research too, but from what I understand it is a superb way to add wholesome value to their food, with very little work involved; all you do is sprinkle the stuff onto their breakfast, for example.
Little Foodies write: It is an excellent and easily digestible source of essential fatty acids (EFAs) and has the perfect balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids to sustain human health. EFAs strengthen the immune system and nourish the brain, skin, and almost every system in the body, so they are very important for babies and children.
One of the key phrases here is “perfect balance.” Basically, if you have too much Omega 6 and not enough Omega 3, that can have a detrimental effect on your health. There is a great article discussing this in more detail here. But hemp seeds contain the ideal balance that a normal requires.
Most people advise introducing hemp seeds once your baby is 7-8 months old (of course, its always best to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider first). As for how to give your baby hemp seeds, Meals for Squeals have recipes for “Apple and Hemp Cakes” and “Fish Goujons with Hemp Seeds” on their site. Your Green Baby suggest sprinkling hemp seeds on slices of avocado or banana, and also have an interesting recipe for “Pumpkin Hemp Hummus” on their site.
I decided to introduce hemp seeds to Baby K by sprinkling some on top of one of her favourite snacks: blueberry yoghurt. This is essentially some smashed-up and some whole fresh blueberries, stirred into plain yoghurt:
As I wasn’t sure how they would taste and how she would react, I only used a small amount (just over half a teaspoon). As you can see in the close-up below, this is shelled hemp (not a powder), and therefore gave the yoghurt some texture:
I stirred it all up and served it to Baby K as a dessert… and she loved it! To be honest, I doubt that had much to do with the hemp as she is a massive blueberry fan, but she did not seem to mind the new addition at all. And if she’s going to have that snack anyway, why not amp up its nutritional value?
After this discovery, I am seriously considering making hemp milk for her too, once she has entered toddler territory! I wouldn’t necessarily give it to her all the time or instead of cow’s milk, but certainly now and again for its nutritional benefits. HelloBee does an interesting comparison of hemp milk and cow’s milk.
I would love to know your thoughts on this post in the comments below. Have you ever tried hemp? Would you consider introducing it to your child’s diet? What other seeds do you give your children?