As babies reach the crucial stage of being able to consume solid foods, a whole new range of possibilities presents itself. It becomes the aim of parents to guide their child in developing healthy eating habits and expanding their taste preferences.
While eating sugary foods is a core childhood experience, many parents don’t know where to draw the line.
When can babies eat donuts? Babies can eat donuts when they reach six months of age. However, donuts are not recommended for children due to their high calorie, sugar, and trans fat content. Healthy alternatives to donuts include biscuit donuts, baked donuts, and pronuts.
Keep reading to learn more about when babies can eat donuts, health recommendations, and how to guide them toward a positive relationship with food.
Babies and Donuts – What to Know
One of the biggest joys you get as a parent is introducing your kids to the fun and exciting experiences in the world, but it’s important to make sure that we define sweets as what they are: treats to be eaten in moderation.
Why Donuts Are Not Recommended for Babies
Just because you can feed your baby donuts, doesn’t mean you should. Here’s what the experts say about this sweet treat.
1. Empty Calories
Calories are a unit of energy or the amount of energy in one serving of food. Empty calories are those derived from processed fats and sugars.
They can cause nutrition deficiencies, weight gain, fatigue, depression, and increased risk of diseases.
2. High Fat Content
Fats are a chain of fatty acids that your baby’s body needs to retain nutrients, use as backup fuel, and regulate temperature.
There are good fats — monounsaturated and polyunsaturated — and bad fats — trans fats. Additionally, there are middle-ground fats called saturated fats.
Donuts have a high fat content, which means that the frequent consumption of donuts can be harmful. Excess exposure to fats carries the risk of developing diabetes, harming cholesterol levels, and increasing the risk of heart disease.
3. High Sugar Content
Donuts are calorically heavy due to their high sugar content.
Excessive sugar has negative impacts on children, such as tooth decay, increased risk of obesity, increased risk of diabetes, and immune system suppression, and it has been linked to eczema.
4. Little Nutritional Value
While macronutrients differ by brand, bakery, and type, donuts are roughly 60% carbs, 35% fat, and 5% proteins. While macronutrients are needed for the body, not all macronutrient sources are created equal.
You can eat the same value of carbs, fats, and proteins from healthier sources that would also provide vitamins and minerals, whereas donuts are processed foods containing saturated fats.
For this reason, they are considered to be of very little nutritional value.
5. Can Lead to Unhealthy Food Choices
Children are notoriously observant and stubborn. If you repeatedly expose them to negative eating habits, they will absorb them.
When you introduce them to sweets, they’re naturally going to gravitate toward them as most adults do. The difference is in how they’re presented, which should always be as a treat in moderation.
Common Allergens in Donuts
Standard bakery donuts contain many major food allergens such as soy, dairy, eggs, and wheat. In addition, the frying oil can contain traces of tree nuts, which is another common food allergy.
When giving foods for the first time, it’s important to introduce common allergens carefully. If too many allergens are given at once and a reaction occurs, there’s no way of telling which allergen triggered the reaction.
When Can I Give My Baby Donuts?
Technically you can give your baby a donut at six months of age when they’re ready to start eating solid foods.
So long as your child is able to hold their body upright to eat, they are capable of eating purees and soft solid foods. However, there are options that pose less of a choking hazard and others that hold more nutritional value.
Can I Give My Baby a Bite of My Donut?
Yes, this is a more appropriate alternative to giving them a full donut. This allows them to have a taste without overloading on sugar and fat.
Just remember to make sure that the piece given is the correct size to prevent choking.
Healthy Alternatives to Donuts
There are plenty of ways to treat your children without compromising their nutrition. We’ve listed a few of our favorites below.
Baked donuts are versatile in flavor and a much better alternative to their fried counterparts.
Baking instead of frying reduces the amount of saturated fats and calories. In addition, you can add zucchini, which contains several necessary vitamins and minerals, to maintain moisture with little alteration to the flavor of the donut.
Pronuts are protein-dense pastries that swap out traditional ingredients for healthier alternatives. They replace sugars with agave or maple syrup and incorporate flax seeds and protein powder for added health benefits.
For the glaze, they replace traditional butter with seed butter and replace regular milk with nut milk. These can be made at home or bought in select bakeries.
Canned Biscuit Donuts
Canned biscuit donuts offer a cheap, quick alternative that can be made more nutritionally fulfilling than traditional donuts. While they can be fried, it’s much healthier to bake them or cook them in an air-fryer.
Here’s how to make them:
- 1 can biscuit dough
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- ½ cup lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ½ tablespoon cinnamon
- Start by preheating your oven to 325℉ or whatever the biscuit can specifies.
- Separate the biscuits onto a lightly greased sheet pan.
- Punch holes in the middle of each biscuit, and place the cutouts on the tray between the donut-shaped biscuits.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, remove from the oven, and set to the side.
- Mix honey, water, vanilla extract, coconut sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl, and whisk.
- Dip each donut into the glaze and serve.
(Skip the glaze if you like, and instead top with a sugar-free jam or another favorite topping.)
Is Chocolate Bad for Babies?
Yes, chocolate is bad for babies. In moderation, it’s acceptable to give chocolate to your children as a treat, but daily ingestion of chocolate can lead to excess sugars, fats, and caffeine levels.
Caffeine causes adverse effects in children, such as irritability, jitters, and difficulty sleeping.
Is Chocolate Bad for Breastfeeding?
Chocolate contains caffeine, which is the main concern regarding its consumption while breastfeeding.
Excess intake of caffeine has been linked to decreased milk supply in breastfeeding mothers. Additionally, caffeine can be transferred to the baby through breast milk.
While your baby can technically eat donuts at six months of age, it’s not recommended.
Helping your child establish a healthy relationship with food means encouraging positive choices and realistic eating behaviors. So, donuts should not be given to young children frequently or as a meal.
Charley is a mother of three with a passion for raising good humans. With her children in tow, she studies English and has made a career creating content about motherhood. In her free time, she enjoys traveling within the states to kayak, camp, and hike.