Bye bye baby rice – this is where weaning gets more exciting. So which new flavours can you start to introduce to your little gastronome?
The days of bland baby rice are already behind you, and your newly weaned baby is getting more used to eating solid food.
The next stage of weaning is an exciting one for both of you, as you start to introduce him to some interesting new flavours. So what will tickle his tastebuds at this tender age?
Once your baby is ready to move on from fruit and veg purees, you can start to give him well cooked, pureed meat.
It’s a very different taste and texture for him, but one that’s important for him to get used to, as for most babies, meat will be the primary source of protein. Chicken is the best meat to try first, as it has a milder taste than red meat.
Babies shouldn’t be given salt, but foods that have a salty taste, such as cheese, are exciting for tiny tastebuds that have so far only been used to sweet and bland purees.
Try mashing cheese into potato to boost his protein and calcium levels, or offering vegetables in a cheesy sauce; this is also a good way to make green vegetables, such as broccoli, more palatable, as your baby may not be keen on their bitter taste after the sweetness of root veg like carrots and squash.
You and I might balk at the combination of vegetables and fruit, but your baby hasn’t yet been conditioned to have sweet and savoury tastes separately.
When you’re introducing new vegetables, mixing them with a favourite fruit puree can help them go down better – for example, try combining carrot and apple, or banana and avocado. You can also use fruit in casseroles with meat, such as chicken with apricots.
Fish is a potent superfood for your baby, packed with protein and essential fatty acids for brain and eye health, so it pays to get your little one used to this strong taste early on.
Start with mild white fish to allow your baby to acquire a taste for the fishy flavour. Plaice has a particularly delicate taste, and often goes down well mashed with potatoes and creamy mascarpone cheese.
Many parents delay introducing nuts to avoid the risk of allergies, but lentils and pulses are an alternative way to get your young baby used to mild nutty flavours. Lentils are packed with iron, so they’re especially important if you’re bringing your baby up on a vegetarian diet.
You can also introduce other pulses in baby-friendly dishes like home made chickpea hummous (perfect for messy finger food dippng) or even the occasional serving of (mashed) baked beans with toast – just be sure to choose reduced sugar and salt varieties.Don’t forget, all babies are different, and some take to new tastes more easily than others. It’s also worth introducing new foods at breakfast or lunchtime, rather than teatime, so that if your baby shows any reaction, or they give him wind, you won’t be in for a sleepless night. Some experts recommend introducing each new food on its own, for three days in a row, so that if your baby has a bad reaction, you’ll know what caused it, although once your baby is more established on solids, you may well want to move on faster.
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