How To Introduce Flavour Into Your Baby’s Food
Written by Vanessa McNamara, The Travelling Dietitian.
Feeding your child a nutritionally balanced diet can be challenging, particularly once they develop independence and specific taste preferences.
Infants are born with a biological predisposition to prefer sweet foods and often dislike bitter foods, such as green vegetables. This can be frustrating for parents, being one of the first foods we try to encourage.
There are, however, many opportunities for children to learn to enjoy the flavours of nutritious food long before they are introduced to solids. Flavours are transmitted through the placenta and into the amniotic fluid to the growing foetus by about 15 weeks gestation. We also know that flavours can pass directly through breast milk, so mothers who consume a variety of foods throughout pregnancy and lactation are helping by exposing their infants to a variety of flavours early on. When infants are introduced to these foods directly, the transition may be a little easier if they have been exposed to the flavours in utero or via breastmilk.
Despite the absence of salt and sugar, baby food doesn’t have to be bland. By introducing new flavours and by expanding their palate early on in their feeding journey, babies will become more willing to experiment with new foods from the beginning.
You can start experimenting with subtle herbs and spices as soon as you feel comfortable, by adding these in small amounts to their fruit, vegetables, grains and proteins.
Examples of natural flavours you can start with include:
- Ginger and garlic
- Fresh herbs such as mint, basil thyme and parsley
- Turmeric, coriander and cumin
Start slowly and gradually increase the amounts of herbs or spices you add as your baby starts to get used to the flavours. Don’t expect them to tolerate these new tastes to begin with – it can take several exposures for a baby to accept something new.
Taleii’s Top Tip:
Taleii’s pouches already contain natural, delicious flavours to help expand your baby’s palate. She uses mint to add freshness to zucchini and pea, turmeric to add a subtle earthy touch to sweet potato, mango and coconut, ginger to bring out the sweetness in broccoli, pear and quinoa, and vanilla to add fragrance to the pear, oats, flax and vanilla.