Weaning- Introducing herbs and spices to your baby’s food

I have teamed up with Piccolo, organic baby food brand, to bring you some hints and tips for when it comes to weaning your own little one.

Piccolo baby food is all about Mediterranean flavours and the lovely people who make it want parents to know how enjoyable and beneficial introducing different herbs and spices can be.

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I spoke to Alice, Piccolo’s very own infant nutrition expert, about how we can use all these lovely different flavours when feeding our own little ones.

Is it ok to use herbs and spices from day one of weaning? 

Absolutely, no reason not to.

Is there any herbs we should avoid when it comes to babies? 

All household herbs and spices are suitable for babies. Some are ‘hotter’ than other such as chilli flakes or hot curry powder. I would not start with them, opting for ‘softer’ options such as cumin, oregano, or fresh herbs first, but if you love chilli in your own family dishes, than you can start adding it to their food early on in small amounts if you like.

If my baby doesn’t seem to enjoy the different flavours at first should I stop offering them? 

There is a direct link between exposure to a food, the frequency of which you offer a food and a child’s food preferences. There is incredible research on how children choose what they like and dislike based on how familiar a food is.  Often parents will only offer a food two orthree times before deciding the child didn’t like it. But the faces they make or refusing a food, doesn’t necessarily correlate to liking or disliking a food, it could be for another reason such as lack of hunger, that results in their refusal of a food. Repeated exposure in the first few years is important, as it can take up to 12 times for a new food to be accepted, and the same goes for herbs and spices.

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If my baby is older and has never tried different herbs and spices what’s the best way to help him start enjoying them? 

A slow, steady inclusion. Herbs and spices can be quite subtle and enhance flavours of other foods. Add a sprinkle of paprika to sweet potato chips, or add a pinch of ginger or cinnamon to porridge. It doesn’t need to be in everything, just add the herbs and spices you like to the foods he has little and often.

Ok I’m ready to start introducing my baby to new flavours, can you recommend a recipe to get us started? 

This is a great recipe to introduce your little ones to greens, and the mint lifts this recipe adding a little zing:http://www.mylittlepiccolo.com/blogs/recipes/pea-courgette-leek

For finger food recipes this is a staple in the office: the pinch of dried herbs and grainy mustard are fantastic ways to add flavour to your little one’s diet: http://www.mylittlepiccolo.com/blogs/recipes/savoury-flapjack

Thanks Alice!

I hope this has helped if you are starting weaning your baby soon. You can find lots more recipes and tips on the Piccolo website.

I am almost definitely going to try the savoury flapjack, seems simple enough even for me!

 

Nat Halfpenny

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