I love hot sauce! There I go again. I wish I had another introduction to my blog posts but I really do LOVE hot sauce! Recently my children have started eating it and I thought…how come I did not offer this to them sooner? And then my rational thinking came through and I thought…How old do children need to be to enjoy hot sauce?

In many cultures children start eating hot sauce at a very young age. The point at which you want to feed your child hot sauce solely depends on parenting. Babies can be introduced to spicy foods when they start eating finger foods, around 7 to 8 months old. My own children started eating (and enjoying hot sauce) at around 12 years old.

The heat from hot sauce will not be as tolerable to young children and if you feed it to them too soon it could ruin an otherwise enjoyable experience. I have said this before: I eat hot sauce because I enjoy the flavor not because of the heat. I eat it in small doses on specific foods and rarely try to challenge my level of acceptance of a high level of heat. So, when I use it in meals I prepare for my family, I take into consideration their tolerance to the heat from hot sauce as well.

My teenage children, especially my son, have recently started experimenting with different hot sauces with different levels of heat, all on their own. Of course, they have seen their father enjoy it for years and are always inquisitive as to what it is that I am slathering all over my food,  but it did kind of surprise me that they wanted to try some. My son started eating hot sauce at the neighbors and I was almost ashamed that it was not me who introduced him. Why did I not feed him my delicious desire sooner? However, It was me who introduced him to Sriracha on a bagel with cream cheese!

Can infants eat hot sauce?

Do not feed your infant son or daughter hot sauce simply because you love it. They will eventually acquire their own tastes for foods and will or will not like hot sauce. Infants are generally started on very bland foods for a reason and hot sauces could only upset their digestive system.

Consuming hot sauce is most often an acceptance of the “pain” from the heat and infants have not yet developed these abilities states livescience.com . There is nothing, nutritionally speaking that an infant has to gain from eating hot sauces but there isn’t anything negative either, aside from coping with the burn that you need to avoid.

Cultures from Mexico and Asia frequently introduce spices into their children’s meals at very young ages often in the form of chili powders. This is not unusual for these cultures to introduce spices to their babies and they have been doing it for centuries. One of the keys to infant health is the nutritional factors in what they are consuming and although hot sauce has some health benefits, the nutrients from other foods far outweigh it.

When should I introduce hot sauce into my child’s diet?

Introduce hot sauce into your child’s diet when they are old enough to make their own decisions on what taste good to them or not. I have written post on the health benefits of hot sauce called Is Hot Sauce Unhealthy but that is not why we adults are consuming it. We eat hot sauce for the flavor and if your child wants to start exploring those flavors early, that is their decision. My children did not start consuming hot sauces until they were almost teenagers. Why did they start eating it?

My children started eating hot sauce because they saw me eating it and became inquisitive as to why I always had it on the dinner table along with their ketchup. Oh, their precious ketchup that they would have to eat with everything, and that is no different than my hot sauce. I understand a child’s indulgence in covering everything with ketchup, but I now know their interest in hot sauce. How can we pursue this further?

Make trying hot sauce a game

There are plenty of YouTube videos showing people eating extremely hot sauce and trying to tolerate it and there are even game shows with celebrities who eat it just so viewers can see their reactions. This is fun to do with my own children but PLEASE be prepared with a cooling agent! Read 6 Things To Do If Your Hot Sauce is Too Hot! There is no harm to consuming hot sauce and eventually the “pain” will go away. There will be no permanent damage and you can laugh about it for years. Jalapeno peppers are a great low heat pepper to begin with and have a nice fresh pepper taste.

If your family is like mine, we love to compete against each other. Board games are great but as my children grow up, they start to lose interest in those type of activities. We have done versions of the popular show “Chopped” and have even invented our own smoothies. FYI…don’t make or eat a peanut butter jelly smoothie (bread and all). Get The Chopped Cookbook here from Amazon.

One of my most favorite pastimes has been cooking with my children. They get the desire to cook from me, who I got from my mother, who got from her mother etc… This is a great opportunity to introduce hot sauces into your meals. My children are now old enough to know whether certain sauces are beyond their tolerance level, but they did not always.

How old should a child be before they start eating hot sauce?

A child’s tolerance to hot sauce may have been raised if you were eating spicy foods as you breast fed says babycenter.com. Children should not start eating spicy foods until they are consuming finger foods just before age one and even than it would not be a sauce of extreme heat but garlics, nutmegs and ginger. These have very low levels of capsaicin that can easily be tolerated and offer a stepping stone to spicier foods.

How do children control the burn of hot sauce?

Children can stop the burn of hot sauce just as adults do. Milk or dairy, peanut butter, bread and butter or plain bread. If your infant is not yet eating solids and they have consumed a hot sauce call your doctor or 911 if their reaction is causing them to be red in the face, cry excessively and vomit.

No one has ever died from eating spicy foods. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of research on infants eating hot sauce due to the consumption being very low.

How come children don’t like hot sauce? Or do they?

Some children do like hot sauce and will consume more at a younger age if it is introduced to their diet early. Children can have an interesting desire to consume certain foods and may enjoy foods you may think they would not necessarily enjoy.

Some children enjoy hot sauce due to:

  1. Genetics

Although this has proven difficult to trace, it is the tolerance for pain that is passed from generation to generation. It is this tolerance or acceptance that allows generations to continue to enjoy hot sauce.

2. Culture

This could be closely related to genetics but as mentioned above some cultures will continually consume spicy foods as part of their everyday diet. When they do, their children will be exposed as well.

I have heard of people using hot sauce as a disciplinary measure for their children who are misbehaving. What is it 1950? Don’t do this at home. There are plenty of ways to discipline children in a healthy effective way that will not ruin their experience with hot sauce.

Your children will most likely have some of the same preference from foods as you do either through genetics or through your introduction of hot sauces through cooking but don’t force it. Generations have always expanded upon what their parents are doing so if you enjoy a spicy meal chances are so will your children…even hotter.

Your children will most likely have some of the same preference from foods as you do either through genetics or through your introduction of hot sauces through cooking but don’t force it. Generations have always expanded upon what their parents are doing so if you enjoy a spicy meal chances are so will your children…even hotter.

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