Have you heard of Chia Seed Jam? Made from the storecupboard (well freezer!) ingredients, easy to throw together and low in sugar, it’s not jam as you know it! This blog tells you HOW to make chia seed jam and WHY it’s the perfect jam for your baby.
Why can’t babies eat regular jam?
It’s recommended that you try to keep added sugar from your baby’s diet until at least their first birthday. And even after that, you’ll want to make sure that your toddler doesn’t eat foods that are too high in sugar.
What is Chia Seed Jam? And why is Chia Seed Jam perfect for babies?
Chia jam is a quick less sugary version of regular jam. Chia jam doesn’t rely on sugar to set. The chia seeds take over this job whilst also providing lots of nutrients like fibre, healthy fat, protein and iron.
Chia jam is:
- Quicker to make
- Lower sugar content
- Higher in fibre (good for keeping constipation at bay).
How to serve chia seed jam to your baby (or anyone else!)?
- As a spread on bread
- Swirled through or on top of some natural yoghurt
- As a cake filling
- As a fruit sauce with ice-cream
- As a porridge topping
- With pancakes
How can I store it Chia Seed Jam?
Unlike traditional jam, you’ll need to store this in the fridge where it’ll keep for about three days. Alternatively, freeze in ice-cube trays or small reusable pots and defrost as you need it.
Adding sweetness to your Chia Jam.
Whether you add sugar to this jam depends on
- The fruit you use. Some fruits are more bitter than others.
- Who you’re serving it to. For babies, especially if under one, hold off on adding sugar. You could always combine sourer berries with a sweeter fruit like Pink Lady or nice ripe pear.
Sugar is sugar so it’s your choice whether to add table sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup or alternative sweetener.
LEARN MORE: Sugar for babies-Separating fact from fiction!
Adding flavour to your baby’s jam.
There’s no end to the flavour combinations you can create
Some of my favourites are:
- Strawberry and vanilla- add some vanilla extract
- Mulled wine flavour- add the zest of an orange, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp mixed spice and 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Blueberry and lemon- add some grated lemon rind and some freshly squeezed juice
- Raspberry and orange- add grated orange rind and some freshly squeezed juice
Can I give my Toddler regular jam?
Yes, in small amounts. If you’d prefer not to, that’s fine too!
Jam is a combination of fruit and sugar that averages about 55g sugar per 100g. And toddlers need a diet low in ‘free sugars’. Although that doesn’t mean their diet must be completely sugar-free.
Adding some sugar to make more nutritious foods (like wholemeal bread, oatcakes or even something like rice pudding) more palatable is perfectly acceptable, even for toddlers. (FSAI Guidelines on children aged 1-5 years).
That said, you don’t HAVE to introduce jam. If you don’t eat it yourself, then I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to introduce it! But if you like it on your toast and you’re sharing breakfast with your toddler then not ‘allowing’ them to eat it could make it into a forbidden food. And this is best to avoid!
Want to know more about HOW and WHAT to feed your toddler (or even pre-schooler). Then check out my online Feeding Your Toddler Course-8 steps to successful and enjoyable mealtimes.
Here are a few things to make the jam a healthy part of your toddler’s diet:
- Don’t offer it every day (so don’t have it on ‘show’ every day)
- Spread it thinly
- Choose a shop-bought jam that’s lower in sugar.
- Make your own toddler-friendly reduced sugar chia jam. That way you control the sugar content!
- Alternate jam with other spreads like peanut butter, almond butter, cream cheese, hummus or marmite.
- 500 g Frozen berries
- 2-3 tbsp Chia seeds
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- Sugar to taste (Optional)
- Simmer the frozen berries for 10 mins with the vanilla extract (or other flavourings) and the sugar if you're using this.
- As it's simmering break up the fruit with a wooden spoon or a potato masher.
- Remove from the heat.
- Stir in the seeds
- Leave to thicken. You can add more seeds if it's too runny
This freezes really well.
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