Featured Blog: 5 Benefits of Mango for Kids, Plus A Nutritious Mango Chia Pudding Recipe
Registered dietitian nutritionists, Alexandra Caspero and Whitney English, founders of the Plant-Based Juniors community, partnered with the National Mango Board to share more about mango for kids of all ages and serve up a delicious and nutritious recipe that kids will love.
Mangos are a great fruit to introduce to kids, including your new eaters. Here are some reasons to feed mango as a first food and ideas for serving it to older kids, including a recipe for mango chia pudding.
You may have noticed that mango has become a popular flavor of baby and toddler foods, like pouches and snacks.
Part of the reason for this is probably obvious – mango is delicious, and many babies and kids really enjoy the taste! Plus, mango is a healthy fruit that offers a number of benefits to growing babies.
5 Benefits of Mango for Kids
Here are some reasons why mango makes such a great first food for babies and kids of all ages:
They’re full of important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C – an essential nutrient for immune health.
Just a 3/4 cup of sliced mango offers the following nutrients:
- 50% of the Daily Value (DV)* for vitamin C, and important nutrient for immunity and skin health
- 15% of the DV for copper, a mineral needed for collagen production
- 15% of the DV for folate, a B vitamin crucial to immunity and genetic processes like DNA formation
- 8% of the DV for vitamin A, necessary for skin and eye health
- 8% of the DV for vitamin B6, needed for brain health, immunity, and metabolism
- 2 grams of fiber, important for digestive health
* children 4 years and older
They offer colorful phytonutrients.
The deep bright colors of mangos are a cue of the phytonutrients inside, such as:
- Carotenoids like beta carotene and lutein, which give mangos their yellow coloring
- Anthocyanins, which contribute the red hue of certain varieties of mango
- Other bioactive compounds, like mangiferin, flavonoids, gallotannins, gallic acid, and egallic acid
They’re the perfect texture for new eaters.
Babies need soft, juicy textures that are easy to chew with few (or no) teeth. First foods for babies should not only be an age-appropriate texture and consistency, but also be manageable for new eaters to hold on their own. Mangos can be cut into thin strips that are easier for your baby to pick up and bite.
The consistency of mangos is great for teething babes too, especially if you keep them cool in the fridge so they’re extra soothing for sore gums.
They work well as a quick snack for older kids
Mangos are a great snack on their own or incorporated into other snacks or meals.
It’s easy to prepare mangos in advance, cutting cubes or strips that can be stored in the refrigerator for quick grabbing or on a middle shelf for older kids to grab on their own. They can also be added to oatmeal, yogurt or smoothies for a bright flavor and nutrition punch.
They’re easy to find and come in a variety of forms.
Mangos are the #1 most consumed fruit in the world, and are becoming increasingly popular in the United States. And great news for mango lovers: they are available fresh year-round thanks to a variety of growing seasons! So it’s always mango season.
Many stores also have mango chunks in the frozen fruit section. We love thawing frozen mango chunks to give to our kids for an easy, refreshing snack.
How to Introduce Mango to Your Baby
As we all learn when we become parents, your baby may not take to a new food right away. It may take several introductions, and in a few different forms, for your baby to try a food like mango and decide whether she likes it. And remember, you should always consult with your pediatrician before introducing your baby to any new foods.
Some of our favorite ways to incorporate mango into a baby’s diet include:
- Thin slices of the raw fruit, so baby can pick it up using his/her pincer grasp
- Raw mango, mashed or pureed with bananas
- Mango pudding (recipe below!)
- Mango coconut cream popsicles or strawberry mango popsicles (without added sweetener for babies)
- In a chia jam, using mango as the primary fruit. See our recipe for this below!
Ideas for Feeding Mango to Kids of All Ages
Of course, the same nutrition qualities that make mango a great pick for babies are the same that make it a nutritious pick for kids of all ages.
Our favorite ways to prepare mango for older kids include:
- Raw diced mango, either on its own or mixed into a bowl of cereal or yogurt. Alex’s son Vander loves a big bowl of mango and coconut yogurt— it’s his most requested snack option!
- A Mango Pico de Gallo with lentil or black bean tacos
- Mango Berry Popsicles
- Mango-Wrapped Banana Bites
- A Mango Berry Smoothie for simple snacking
How to Cut a Mango
Here’s some step-by-step instructions for getting the most out of your mango!
Step 1: The rough seed of a mango is the large, flat center of the fruit. To cut a mango, first slice the mango all the way down, starting close to the stem at the top.
Step 2: Do the same on the other side of the stem. This will leave you with two semi-circle pieces of mango.
Step 3: From there, you can carefully slice each semi-circle piece of mango into cubes with a knife (be careful not to slice through the skin and cut your hand!).
Step 4: To remove the mango cubes from the skin, take a large spoon to detach the fruit by scooping it out.
Step 5: Enjoy!
Mango Chia Pudding
Mango Chia Pudding! This vegan, gluten-free and no sugar added snack is perfect for kids of all ages, including toddlers and baby-led weaning.
- 1 (14 ounce can) coconut milk, light or regular
- 2 cups chopped mango, divided
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- Place the coconut milk and 1/2 cup mango in the base of a blender and puree until smooth.
- Place in a medium bowl or large mason jar and add in the chia seeds. Stir together, then place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Remove, then mix again and place back in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight in the fridge to gel.
- To serve, layer the remaining chopped mango with chia pudding.
Chime In: Have you introduced your kids to mango? What did he/she think?