We have been asked several times if olive oil is suitable for babies and children, and the answer is yes. It is a very healthy addition to any diet, and kids —just like adults—, love the great taste of a good olive oil. In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, olive oil used to be a delicacy only eaten with particular dishes, but children from Mediterranean countries have eaten it for centuries.
Extra virgin olive oil for babies (six months and older)
Although you should always ask your paediatrician, olive oil is usually perfect for babies that are six months or older. Use it to prepare their food instead of other less healthy fats. For instance, you can add a teaspoon of raw extra virgin olive oil to mashed potatoes or carrot. If you want to introduce new flavours to your child’s diet, it’s probably a good idea to do it from an early age.
Make sure you use fresh extra virgin olive oil, as it is the only variety with a high content of antioxidants and vitamins. Also, high quality virgin olive oils have a low acidity, and therefore a more pleasant flavour for babies and children.
Extra virgin olive oil for kids
Extra virgin olive oil has several health benefits for kids. For instance, studies have proven that children who follow a diet which contains olive oil have less chances of developing obesity.
Kids usually like fried dishes and sweet treats, and olive oil can be used to prepare both. Olive oil is the best oil to fry: it keeps its structure better than other oils when it is heated and it improves the flavour of the food. It can be used for baking instead of butter, you can adapt the recipes that you know already with this conversion table.
Of course, olive oil can also be used raw to dress salads instead of a sauce full of calories. A very healthy and tasty snack that kids love is crispy bread dipped in olive oil. There’s only one tiny little drawback: it might get messy, as blogger Liz acknowledges in the post she wrote about Fincalink.