Q&A: How can I get my baby to enjoy savoury foods?

Expert advice on getting sweet-toothed babies to enjoy more savoury grub

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Babies are genetically programmed to prefer sweet foods to savoury. This is a safety mechanism: as we’ve evolved over millions of years, we’ve learnt that sweet foods don’t tend to be poisonous. 

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Nevertheless, it’s important to get your baby used to eating savoury foods early on so she doesn’t become too dependent on sweet foods. Typically, the first foods you offer during weaning will have sweet flavours, such as fruit and sweet vegetables like carrot and butternut squash, but try to introduce a broad range of savoury flavours fairly quickly or you may find they start to refuse some vegetables.

When introducing savoury foods, it can be helpful to start with foods with milder flavours and perhaps mix them in with slightly sweeter foods, for example by combining chicken with peaches. Combinations which seem strange to adults can be more palatable to babies.

Many parents make the mistake of making only very bland food for their babies. Not only does this limit the range of tastes your baby is exposed to, but bland savoury foods can be unappealing to babies, so don’t be afraid to make them taste more interesting, for example by adding mild herbs or spices, or, a little later, by using tasty cheese sauces.

Try to avoid offering too many sweet snacks, too, as your baby may fill up on these and spoil her appetite for main meals. Healthy snacking is an important part of your baby’s diet as she is growing fast and needs to eat little and often, but instead of offering biscuits, offer savoury snacks like cheese, guacamole and vegetable sticks or rice cakes to broaden the range of foods she enjoys and reduce the chances of her developing a sweet tooth.

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Answered by: Ceri Morgan and Ann Souter, nutritional therapists, recipeforhealth.co.uk

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