Before my first baby started solids I knew I wanted to make my own baby food. It just seemed too easy not to – boil, steam or roast your veggies and fruits, throw into the food processor, blend away and then freeze. Easy, right? When BG hit 5 months I started on my puree mission. No, I did not go out and buy a Beaba or anything like that, but I did use this Cuisinart Food Processor along with this steamer basket. I was so excited to start introducing her to “real” food. Eating is such a social experience and I couldn’t wait for her to start enjoying the foods we all ate. BG loved it, but one day I tasted her peas and almost gagged. I’m pretty sure I could’ve started serving her mud and she would’ve enjoyed it. That’s when I decided I had to start spicing up her food. I love/loved getting advice on new foods to feed my kiddos. We previously said in the Easy and Healthy Toddler Snacks post that it’s easy to get into a food rut. I love jotting down ideas when I hear about them. I figured since our Baby Finger Food post has been pinned 1000+ times you all must like new ideas too! So that’s what we’re gonna do here today!
Because our babies tummies aren’t fully matured, I try to be careful with the salt intake. If I am making food specifically for them, I definitely leave salt out. If I am giving food that I made for the family, I don’t worry about it. It’s not like I shovel salt into the food I cook! Babies do need salt, just not the amount that adults need. The goal in feeding your baby food under the age of 1 is to TEACH them to like food. They are learning how to move things around with their tongue, learning flavors and temperatures and even learning how to swallow those wiggly things called spaghetti noodles.
Isn’t it interesting that we automatically default to baby food being bland? In a way, I think the way we feed our children has some myths attached – should be bland, should be pureed enough to not choke etc. I see the safety and wisdom in this, but when I pureed my babies food down to a liquid, they didn’t like the texture. I tend to leave it on the chunkier side and also give some things whole as long as they are smooshed (peas and black beans for example) or they are big enough chunks that they won’t even go down the throat, but they can still get flavor (baby led weaning). Different cultures have different ideas for introducing solids; Japan serves thin, watered down rice. In Oceania, babies are given chewed up fish and then in America we have jarred baby food.
Bottom line is, baby food doesn’t have to be boring! Taste your babies food; if it tastes gross, we shouldn’t expect the baby to like it especially if we are chowing down on a big juicy steak. Make it yummy and have fun. One thing to remember, if you’re a nursing mom, is that your baby is getting spices in the milk already. If you ate a pasta dish loaded with garlic, there are traces in the milk that the baby will taste because their taste buds are much more sensitive than ours. Kind of cool huh?
Research suggests that children over the age of 6 months can tolerate most foods and flavors. It is said that children who eat more flavorful food as babies are less likely to be picky eaters as children and more likely to eat what is put in front of them for dinner. Who knows if this is really true. I don’t know of anyone that has done zero spices and had a picky eater and then been able to rewind to try spices in their diet inorder to see if that changed them. It’s worth a shot though! Did you know adding spices to your babies food can have amazing health benefits even!
- Garlic is antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral, it is really natures antibiotic. Garlic helps the body fight infection. This is great to up intake during cold and flu season.
- Cinnamon: Besides tasting great, just smelling cinnamon alone boosts cognitive function and memory. It is a spice that manages blood sugar and can be used as a natural food preservative. Cinnamon contains anti-fungal agents helping the body fight candidiasis and thrush infections.
- Oregano has quadruple the antioxidants of blueberries! It is a major source of theymol and carvacol, which are two antibacterial agents that fight off infection.
Lets take the rocket science out of baby food. Below are some ideas for spicing up that baby food. I’m also including some different combinations of foods just so that it encourages you to get creative in the kitchen! Remember to start slow with the spices as baby taste buds are much more sensitive than the average adults.
- Squash and Spinach
- Oatmeal and Fruit with Vanilla
- Bananas and Cinnamon
- Applesauce with Cinnamon or Ginger
- Pears and Cinnamon
- Plain, Greek Yogurt and Mint
- Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, *Vanilla or Allspice
- Carrots with Basil and Garlic
- Baked Cinnamon Carrots
- Green Beans sprinkled with Garlic Powder
- Mashed Potatoes with Dill Weed or Garlic
- Chicken or Turkey with Cinnamon, Garlic Powder and Basil or Lemon Zest, Pepper, Basil and Oregano, or Garlic and Pepper
- Beef with Garlic, Onion Powder or Orange Zest
- *Vanilla – “pure” has high alcohol content unless you are cooking with it. If you aren’t cooking with it, use the essence of vanilla or an actual vanilla bean.
- Curry Powder – red or yellow
- Garlic – minced or powdered
- Lemon Zest
- Orange Zest
- Dill Weed
And since you made it through this whole post I will reward you with a PRINTABLE! Don’t you just love a good printable to make you feel all cute and organized?! I made this in 5×7 that way it’s small enough to tuck somewhere on your fridge. It’s a great reminder to just throw some garlic onto my little ones peas.
Download: Spices For Your Baby Printable
For more infant and toddler food inspiration, check out these posts too:
- Baby Finger Foods
- Healthy Toddler Snacks
- You should also check out our general FREE printables page HERE.
*Remember that we are not your Pediatrician. Always consult with your doctor regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby. We are merely giving suggestions.*
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