Ice cream, when to give it to children and which type to choose


  • 1 Ice cream for children: when to start
  • 2 Which ice cream to choose 
  • 3 Ice cream, intolerances and allergies
  • 4 Ice cream: here's how to prepare it at home

On hot and long summer days it appears as a mirage in the eyes of adults and children and becomes the solution to a sudden hunger or a desire for fresh food. Exactly! It's really about him, everyone's friend: ice cream. 

Beyond the personal preferences of taste and texture, however, it is necessary to insert it in the diet of the little ones with attention and moderation. First of all, ice cream is a food that contains nutritional and protein elements that can interfere with the balance of the baby's nutritional needs. This means that it cannot become a daily reward food. Furthermore, more or less up to one year of age, it should be avoided to introduce it within the gradual process of weaning (which begins at about six months of the baby). 

Ice cream for children: when to start

In general, the best time to let the little ones taste the ice cream is around 12 months of age, paying attention to hygiene and the ingredients used during processing. Watch out for calories too. For example, if we choose an ice cream with cream, the single portion will have more than 300 kilocalories. Milk instead will have more or less 200, and fruit about 100. The wafer of cones and biscuits increases the caloric intake.

Which ice cream to choose 

On the one hand, industrial ice cream (ie packaged ice cream) is a safe product because very strict hygiene and quality standards are followed for its realization. On the other hand, artisanal ice creams (also safe for the rest) with fruit, without milk, without dyes, are preferred for the freshness of the ingredients used. The choice of which and how much ice cream to "give" must be made by the parents, taking into account the child's constitution, weight, habits, if he tends to get fat and so on. 

In general, for babies between one and two years old, the quantity should not exceed 50 grams, i.e. half a portion of individually packaged ice cream or a small cup. Ice cream therefore becomes the perfect substitute for the classic mid-morning or mid-afternoon “snack” based on yogurt or milk. In any case, it should be offered no more than three times a week.

Ice cream, intolerances and allergies

For those intolerant or even allergic children, there is the possibility to choose allergen-free ice creams such as cow's milk, eggs, hazelnuts, walnuts, strawberries, pistachios, without sacrificing the taste and pleasure of a purely summer food. Today some drinks (those based on soy or rice in primis) are also used for the processing of many types of ice cream. 

The important thing is to know how to choose while paying attention to the labels and to the excess of fats and sugars: in this way you will not force your child to give up the first pleasures of the palate. Avoid the more complicated tastes for children: coffee, chocolate, exotic fruit, strawberry, cream, dried fruit or the classic blue of the Smurfs. A small cup will not only nourish your little one perfectly, but it will give you the joy of watching him smile as he eats.

Ice cream: here's how to prepare it at home

If you want to be sure that you are giving your children a healthy and nutritious product, you can make it at home. Those of you who love cooking are probably already "armed" with a more or less professional ice cream maker. In fact, it's not entirely essential. For example, to make tasty and refreshing popsicles, simply buy the molds, prepare the "sauce" according to your tastes and put everything in the freezer. 

There is also another alternative for those who do not have special machines. The idea is to freeze fruit washed and cut into pieces. When you feel like ice cream, just blend it with ice cubes. To obtain a creamier consistency or make the snack more substantial, you can add low-fat white yogurt or milk. Easier than that ...

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