Tapioca is a starch extracted from cassava root and comes in the form of small pearls. Pearl tapioca is commonly used in dishes in Asia, especially desserts, but also in the West in baby food where it is included, for example, in sweet or savoury infant cereals.
The advantages of tapioca
Once cooked, tapioca has a gluey texture and gives consistency to food preparations without making them heavy.
Tapioca does not have much of a taste but this has an advantage: it easily absorbs the taste of other foodstuffs.
Last but not least, tapioca is economical (one or two doses are enough to prepare a jar of baby food) and is still very good value for money (under €5/kg) and can be found almost everywhere: organic food shops, Asian stores and supermarkets in the carbohydrates section.
Benefits of tapioca in baby’s diet
Tapioca is a relatively rich food, consisting especially of carbohydrates. One meal with tapioca will help satiate baby’s hunger. Despite that, it is fairly digest and therefore baby absorbs it pretty easily.
It also has a significant amount of nutriments (vitamin C), mineral salts and trace elements such as potassium, magnesium, manganese and a little copper.
Lastly, one of the main advantages of tapioca is that it is gluten-free.
When and how to cook it?
Tapioca can be introduced into baby’s diet as from the age of 8 months.
Add it to baby’s food to thicken it: in soups and purées. Tapioca will allow you to make thicker infant cereals that baby will enjoy.
As we said before, this foodstuff has practically no taste. So, it is easy for you to add to preparations whose taste baby already likes. For sweet desserts, cook the tapioca in some milk and add a little vanilla to it: your cereal dish will be really delicious and baby will ask for more!
For a savoury dish, serve it with vegetables that baby is already familiar with and don’t hesitate to combine it with some mild spices: a touch of paprika or cumin will do wonders! And for a complete meal, accompany it with a small amount of white fish or puréed poultry!
Tapioca has to be cooked in liquid, either water or milk. It is cooked once the pearls have become transparent.
Easy to cook, tapioca goes well with all the dishes you prepare for baby. It provides baby with energy and gives a feeling of being full: practical for babies who are hearty eaters and enjoy their food!