Whether your kiddo is just starting out with solids or he’s well into toddlerhood (or beyond!), sometimes his digestive system needs a little help – um, keeping things moving. I’ve found that when that happens, I can often help relieve constipation with a few simple dietary changes. For starters, I make sure Little Mister is drinking plenty of water. Next, I try to eliminate the following from my son’s diet (these foods can often exacerbate the problem if they are not the outright cause):
A great food to add INTO his diet is prunes. I like to make my own prune puree and store ice cube sized portions in the freezer so that I always have some on hand when the need arises. I’ve made several variations, but this one with its superfood additions is my favorite. Don’t get me wrong – it still looks like prunes. It still tastes like prunes. The extras are there mainly for their added nutritional benefit and to make the prunes go farther.
Spinach adds folate, iron, and a slew of other vitamins and minerals. Blueberries have loads of antioxidants and are a good source of Vitamin C. Chia seeds are protein rich and chock full of Omega-3 fatty acids. Prunes – as well as being packed with fiber – are also full of vitamins and minerals.
This puree is super simple to make. Fill a medium sized saucepan with about an inch of water and fit a steaming basket inside. Add the prunes, blueberries, and spinach. Bring to a boil, cover the pot, and reduce heat to medium. Steam for 10 minutes.
Let cool slightly and add contents to a blender or food processor (I use a Vitamix). Add the chia seeds. Pour in a little of the steaming liquid to help get things blending. If it’s too thick, add a little more liquid (but try not to add too much!).
Blend until a smooth puree forms. Depending on how long the ingredients were allowed to cool, you may need to stop the blender and vent a time or two to let the steam out.
At this point, I like to fill ice cube trays with my puree and freeze them overnight. After that, I remove the cubes from the tray and store in labeled zip-top bags in the freezer. Because of the high prune content, the puree doesn’t freeze into rock solid blocks. Sometimes I use a butter knife to gently lift them out of the ice cube tray so that they stay intact.
How to Use the Puree
Depending on the age of your little one, you may only need one ice cube’s worth per serving (about an ounce or two tablespoons). When my son was younger (less than a year), one cube was plenty. Now that he’s older (almost 16 months), I usually give him two cubes per serving. I simply microwave however much I need for about thirty seconds – and viola – perfectly thawed! If microwaving isn’t your thing, you could thaw in the fridge over night or use a LillyPot on the stovetop.
My son will eat prune puree straight up, but most often I stir it into either yogurt or oatmeal. I’ve noticed one “dose” seems to do the trick and it usually takes effect in a few hours.
Now for the Disclaimer
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. I am not a healthcare professional. You know your baby/toddler best. Always consult your pediatrician and trust your instincts. In my experience, if my son gets constipated, it’s usually a result of too much dairy, bananas, rice, apples, or bread – or a combination of all of these. For us, a relatively simple change in his diet is all it takes to help things along. Constipation can of course have a totally different underlying cause, so I’ll say it again – if you think something’s off – talk to your doc!
Happy Food Making, Mamas!
Superfood Prune Puree
An easy, homemade prune puree with extra superfood power!
Credit: Mama Makes Food
- 1 8 oz. package prunes
- 1.5 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- handful of spinach (kale or another dark, leafy green will work too)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- Fill a medium saucepan with an inch of water and fit with a steamer basket.
- Add the prunes, blueberries, and spinach to the pot and bring to a boil.
- Cover the pot, reduce heat to medium, and steam for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Transfer to blender or food processor, add chia seeds, and pour in a little steaming liquid to help with the blending process.
- Blend until smooth.
- Portion into ice cube trays or similar containers and freeze. Once frozen, the puree will keep for about 3 months. If refrigerated, puree will keep about a week.