No American dinner, BBQ, or picnic is complete without Jello. It’s sweet, refreshing, and fun to eat! It’s also an easy-to-prepare dessert that nobody can mess up.
Gelatin goes back a long time in history, but it was around 1899 when “Jell-O” started to spread around US banquet tables. And by the 1900s, Jello was all over the country, advertised as “America’s most favorite Dessert.”
Today, people of different ages can recognize the colorful and jiggly dessert. Kids, in particular, are the target market of Jello. But can babies also be part of the jelly fun?
Can Babies Eat Jello?
Babies can start eating solid food at 6 months, usually while breast or bottle-feeding. Parents can begin experimenting with table food once their babies can hold themselves up while sitting and swallow food without spitting it out.
While there is no wrong or right first food, you might want to skip Jello for now. While Jello is soft and easy to eat, it’s not a healthy option for kids.
What is in Jello, and is it Healthy?
Jello is primarily gelatin, which made from collagen extracted from animal bones, skin, tendons, and ligaments. Jello also contains sweeteners, artificial coloring, and added flavors.
Jello is low in calories and fat-free, so you might see it advertised as a weight-loss food. However, a regular serving of Jello has around 18 grams of sugar. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids 2 years and under should have no added sugar to their diet.
Jello also has low nutritional value, with no vitamins, minerals, or fiber on the label. And all those artificial additives won’t benefit your kid in the long run.
What Other Dessert Options Can I Feed My Kid?
It’s not the end of the world if you can’t feed your baby jello. There are other ways you can give your baby a sweet treat without compromising health and flavor.
You can make your own Jello that is more nutritious and low in artificial ingredients. Many stores sell unflavored gelatin packets that are low in sugar and calories, and you can add your own flavoring to them. Skip the fruit powders and make your own blend of natural and organic fruits and veggies.
Alternatively, you can skip gelatin in general until your baby is much older. Fruits are the best dessert that you can give to a growing kid. Fruits are packed with all sorts of nutrients and can fight off illnesses.
You can start your tot with soft fruits like bananas, mangos, or boiled pumpkins. You can swap ice cream for frozen fruit pops or nice cream during the summer.
Can I Use Jello as a Toy for My Kid Instead?
While Jello is not the healthiest food in the world, it can be used for fun activities. Jello’s soft and jiggly texture makes it a perfect toy for sensory play. Kids can develop their motor, hand-eye coordination, and communication skills while playing.
Your kid will inevitably put things in their mouth, so using Jello is safer than artificial slime made from glue and plastic. However, if you’re worried about the sugar content, you can make your own Jello with natural ingredients.
You might also want to use a spare towel or tablecloth underneath while your kid plays. Jello can be hard to clean up and might even stain carpets and sofas. Oh, and you might want to give your tot a bath after playing too.
Is Jello vegan?
Jello is not vegan or vegetarian-friendly because its main ingredients are animal bones and skins. However, you can make gelatin with plant-based products like agar-agar or carrageenan.
Can my kid get an allergic reaction from Jello?
Some children can have allergies to gelatin-based products, including Jello, ice cream, soft drinks, and some cosmetic products. Symptoms include hives, swelling, and stomach upset.
Jello is a fun and refreshing dessert that millions of Americans enjoy. However, while mom and dad can enjoy a bowl of Jello every now and then, little junior cannot.
Jello is full of sweets and artificial ingredients and lacks nutritional value. Jello is also not plant-based and can cause allergies.
But don’t feel upset with all those extra packets of Jello in your cupboard. Your kid can still use Jello as a sensory toy. And who says you can’t play with your food?