Well-cooked meat is a very different taste and texture for your baby, 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.
Try mashing cheese into potato to boost your baby’s 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 such as carrots and squash.
This is time to experiment – try introducing new types such as mango or blueberries. 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 due to concerns about 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 homemade chickpea houmous (perfect for messy finger food dippng) or even the occasional serving of (mashed) baked beans with toast â€“ 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.