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Can babies have rice pudding?

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Rice pudding is a popular dessert choice for adults and children alike. It therefore stands to reason that you may have found yourselves sitting around the dinner table asking: can babies have rice pudding too? Well, if you’re big fans of rice pudding in your home and you’re wondering if it’s possible to share one of your favourite desserts with your baby – you’re in luck!

The answer to can babies have rice pudding is a big yes! Rice pudding makes a great dessert choice for babies and toddlers, however, if you’re worried about the sugar and milk content, it’s best to cook up the rice pudding at home using a recipe that has been formulated for children.

There are plenty of child friendly alternatives to some of your favourite desserts. If you have found yourself asking more questions like, can babies have rice pudding? or you’re interested in cooking some delicious homemade desserts that are great for baby led weaning then keep reading.

In this post…

    What to offer your baby for dessert

    I’ve found that once you’ve established weaning and your children are comfortable exploring new flavours and textures, it’s fun to offer them dessert after their main meals. Of course, desserts for babies don’t have to be sugar-laden or unhealthy. There are, in fact, plenty of delicious desserts that can be made from home that contain far less sugar, salt, and additives compared to those purchased in stores. When thinking about the type of dessert you can feed your baby, try to pick foods based on the four main food groups (excluding meat and fish). It’s a good idea to offer foods that are: 

    • Fruit Based
    • Dairy Based
    • Cereal Based

    Let’s take a look at these food groups and discover some more delicious homemade desserts that can make great additions to your baby’s diet.

    Fruit Based Desserts For Babies

    It’s recommended that when planning fruit based desserts for your baby, you offer them a meal that contains at least 40g of fresh fruit, or 20g of dried fruit. Fruit based desserts for babies are typically naturally sweet, making them a popular choice for both parents and children. Most babies enjoy fruit based desserts such as fruit crumble, fruit salad, fruit purée, and jelly with fresh fruit.

    If you like to combine foods, you may find yourself asking can babies have rice pudding with healthier items, such as fruit, and the answer is yes. In fact, typically dinner tends to be a lighter meal for your baby (with lunch being the heaviest), therefore offering fruit alongside some dairy such as rice pudding or yoghurt is a balanced way to provide a tasty dessert for your child whilst also filling them up before bed.

    Dexter wearing a pink plastic bib, sat in his joie mimzy snacker highchair with food all over the tray

    Dairy Based Desserts For Babies

    We already know the answer to ‘can babies have rice pudding’ is a yes, but what about other dairy based desserts for babies? There’s a variety of choices available for parents and guardians looking to plan balanced meals for their children, and dairy based desserts make a great addition to meal plans, both at home and in childcare settings. Dairy based desserts for babies are usually very popular with children and include options such as yoghurt, unsweetened custard, and kheer pudding.

    Desserts like rice pudding can be flavoured using a manner of spices, for example, cinnamon, and can also accompany dessert items such as sultanas and fresh fruit. Yoghurt can be used in place of custard or rice pudding to balance desserts out and custard can be made using less sugar than instructed, or no sugar at all. 

    Cereal Based Desserts For Babies

    Along with wondering ‘can babies have rice pudding?’, you may have asked yourself ‘can babies have semolina?’ and ‘can babies have kheer pudding?’. These are all dairy and grain based puddings and they are safe for babies and toddlers to eat after their main lunch or dinner meal. The smooth texture of these grain and dairy based desserts makes them a good accompaniment to other foods that babies can grasp and pick up when eating, such as fruit sticks and homemade bakes.

    Baking with your toddler is a great way for children to learn about food and develop their gross and fine motor skills. Freshly made cakes are great dessert options for babies and toddlers to have after lunch, plus you can incorporate other ingredients into them to create tasty, healthy puddings such as blueberry sponge cakes, lemon sponge, fruit loaf, fruit scones, and carrot cake. 

    Tips for preparing your baby or toddler’s dessert.

    Babies and toddlers should be eating healthy, balanced diets that limit the amount of sugar and salt. It’s therefore important to consider what ingredients you use when cooking meals and preparing desserts. Parents and carers should bear in mind that the types of sweet treats that adults enjoy for dessert are often extremely sugar-laden and should therefore be avoided when planning out desserts for babies and toddlers. Here are a few tips to help you plan your baby’s meals:

    • Avoid offering babies and toddlers confectionery as a dessert. Chocolate and sweets are far too sugary for small children.
    • Fruits contain natural sugars making them great for sweetening desserts and cakes. Sour fruits, such as rhubarb, may require a small amount of sugar when stewed to make them less bitter. 
    • Baked items, such as sponge cake and flapjacks, can be made using fruit, fruit puree, or fruit juice instead of sugar.
    • If you are opting to use tinned fruit, check to make sure that it’s canned in natural juice and not syrup.

    Should my baby have dessert even if they haven’t eaten all of their main meal?

    Can babies have rice pudding and other dessert choices if they haven’t eaten all of their main meal? Babies and toddlers are still developing their palettes and exploring various flavours and textures, it’s therefore unrealistic to expect them to finish everything on their plates at mealtime. Being unable to finish the food from their main meal shouldn’t restrict them from accessing dessert. 

    Babies and toddlers rely on the calories and nutrients gained from the foods they eat, especially when they’re learning to crawl, roll, and walk. Telling your child that they cannot have dessert until they’ve eaten everything on their plate can not only cause stress and anxiety at meal times, but it also glorifies dessert and teaches children that puddings are more desirable than main meals. 

    dexter and felix mixing the blueberry muffin batter


    Dessert is an important part of your baby or toddler’s meal and should be offered after lunch and dinner once you’ve established a good weaning routine with your child. In this post, we’ve covered the question ‘can babies have rice pudding’ and talked about a variety of other dessert food choices for you and your child to explore together. The most important things to remember when introducing dessert to your baby or toddler are to avoid excessive sugar, and of course, to have fun!

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