Are Dates Good for Babies?
With the nutrients found in dates, they are a great option to consider giving your child at the recommended age for them to start more solid foods—usually around 6 months (5, 6). There are several different ways you can incorporate them into your child’s diet, from dates themselves as a snack, to substituting dates or date sugar for processed sugar in recipes. There are so many ways to add them in and gain those nutritional benefits dates have to offer, you’re bound to find something that fits your needs and plans for your family.
An Ancient Tradition: Babies & Date Fruit
There is a tradition in the Arabic Middle East that calls for softening a date, or another sweet food, and rubbing it around a newborn infant’s mouth (1). This tradition is called Tahneek, or Tahnik, and is believed to help the child in breastfeeding and boosting the immune system (1, 2). According to one study, Tahnik may assist in strengthening the baby’s immune system as rubbing the date around the mouth stimulates the natural bacteria as they move to the digestive system (2).
Honey Can Be Toxic for Babies, What About Date Syrup?
You may already be aware that honey is not safe for babies under the age of one year due to the presence of Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism (a paralysis illness) because the child’s gut immune system has not yet been fully developed to fight against it (3). This fact can beg the question of what other things may be unsafe—such as date syrup.
Unlike honey, dates have been and can be used as a baby food sweetener or in recipes for babies 6 months and older (5). Six months is the suggested age for babies to start having anything other than breastmilk or formula by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (6). Our date syrup is made from dates alone, making it safe for use in these cases as well.
Why Choose Date Syrup for Your Kids?
Dates also provide a lot of necessary vitamins and minerals in one delicious little package, making them a great sweetener option for those yummy breakfast, treats, and snack options for your littles! Instead of putting simple sugar to sweeten the oatmeal, try some date syrup! Not only does this add over 7 amino acids into that breakfast, but potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, B Vitamins, Folate, Manganese, and Niacin are all packed into even just one tablespoon of date syrup. Take a look at the ingredients and nutrition information on some of your child’s favorite snacks or even sauces—like ketchup. Many of them are full of processed sugars and additives that do not add any real nutritious value to your kids’ diets. Making the simple switch, or even addition, of some date snacks and recipes could make a big difference.
Dates are also high in fiber with 3 grams per serving size, making them a great snack option to help with constipation. Kids need somewhere between 14 and 31 grams of fiber in their diet per day, depending on a few factors (7). Adding plain dates, or recipes that use dates, to your snack list can help your kids reach that fiber goal and help with any constipation issues you might be facing (8).
Kids LOVE Date Fruit
If you’ve had a Barhi date before, then you’re familiar with their sweet, caramel-like flavor and soft, chewy texture. We often sample our dates at local events to adults and children and we hear a surprising amount of assumptions from parents saying “Oh, no thank you. My kid wouldn’t like that”, in reference to our dates. Kids almost always end up loving the flavor. We’ve even seen kids sneak back for more! Our Date Lady team members have a lot of kiddos in their families, all of who love and use our products for their kids’ snacks. They’re a huge hit! Not to mention, using dates as a sweetener instead of over-processed white sugar has far greater benefits.
Date Syrup and Date Sugar How To
We have recipes for making your own date syrup and date sugar at home if you’re the DIY type. Date sugar is pretty simple to make, just pop some dates into the oven to dry and blend them into sugar. The syrup process is a little more in-depth, and you need a few more things for it, but we are confident anyone can tackle it if they want to! Just gather some water, dates, a fine strainer, cheesecloth, and a couple of pots! You can find the full recipes here.
And of course, if you don’t have the tools, the time, or the will, you could just pick up a bottle of our date syrup or a bag of our date sugar already ready to go!
Kid-Friendly Recipes Using Dates
We’ve got some delicious recipes listed below that would be great to try making with your kids! Make those fun memories while creating something tasty AND packed with nutritious value for your family.
1 cup of date paste
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp date syrup
1/4 cup nut butter such as cashew or peanut butter
pinch of sea salt
Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
Form the mixture into balls and roll into a small amount of cacao powder or topping of choice.
Transfer to parchment paper
Optional: dip finished truffles in melted chocolate of choice and set aside until set.
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup of milk (we recommend coconut or almond milk!)
2 tsp Coconut Date Sauce
Mix together chia seeds, milk and Coconut Date Sauce.
Let sit for 10 minutes and mix again to break up any clumps.
Cover and leave in fridge for at least 3 hours; leave overnight for best results.
Top with your favorite fruit and drizzle on extra Coconut Date Sauce & enjoy!
1 cup of old fashioned oats
1/4 cup of date syrup
1/4 cup of peanut butter
24oz of yogurt
Combine protein oats, peanut butter, and syrup in a small bowl. Mix until well combined.
Layer the bottom of each cupcake liner with oat mixture.
Fill liners 3/4 full with yogurt and top with favorite fruits. Freeze for 3-4 hours. *Keep FroYo Fruit Cups in freezer until you're ready to snack!
The Glycemic Index (GI) and Dates Is date syrup good for diabetics? What is the glycemic index of dates? The answers to these types of questions ...