Does it sound familiar – you are giving the baby something new to try, whether it’s a puree or vegetables, and the little one makes a really big grimace and spits it out? Well, this is totally normal and sometimes it may take up to 15 times (!) of trying the same food before he or she gets used to its taste and the texture. Although, in case a child does not like boiled carrots but loves fresh carrots, then there is nothing to worry about as at some point he or she will completely forget about it and will happily eat boiled carrots as well.
Q: When to start giving supplementary food?
Depending on the baby, it should stay around 6 months of age. When you start giving the baby any additional food, keep in mind that the baby still needs breast milk or milk formula.
Q: How to get the baby accustomed to new tastes and what can I give them?
The tongue is sensitive to five taste groups. Ensure that you get them to try all of these group as this is the only way he or she can differentiate new tastes.
These 5 tastes are:
Sweet – parsnip, carrot, sweet potato, strawberries, bananas
Bitter – lettuce, broccoli, salad leaves, grapefruit, dark chocolate
Sour – natural yogurt, lemon, melon, grapes
Salty – celery, beet, meat, fish, eggs, milk
Umami – meat, fish, mushrooms, tomato, cheese
First, offer these foods just on their own and do not mix them. For example, steam or boil the carrots and then blend them very small. Also ensure you prepare the same vegetables or fruits in many different ways, as every way of processing changes the taste and the texture. Fresh carrot can be tasted to experience the sweetness of the carrot juice. Additionally, do not hide vegetables in sauces or in sour cream and eat it with the child so they can see how delicious fruits and vegetables are. Of course always cook all meat and fish before giving it to your child.
Be creative and let your fantasy fly with different purees and smoothies. Easiest way to understand what the baby likes, is to think of yourself. Do you like it? Then this little mini version of you will like it as well!
Q: How to handle spices?
That’s easy. Add some cinnamon to a porridge or cocoa to semolina porridge and you’re done! Regarding this, I have not yet met a child who refuses morning porridge. For rice you can add some softer curry or small pieces of paprika.
As a note, the best time to grow your child’s love for vegetables and fruits is until they reach 2 years of age.
I would also like to stress that always keep an eye on your child when they are eating something raw as this may get stuck in their throat which is quite a hazard. Always ensure you are next to them and never let them run around with food.
Grapes, gooseberries, different currants, small tomatoes and everything that can be dangerous, please cut these in half or even smaller. This would also lessen the risk of some ugly stains on your beautiful wallpaper and you will not have to worry about finding a carrot or a cucumber in a toy box covered in mold.
Over the past five years I have learned together with the children how to prepare different vegetables, fruits, meat, fish and how to fit them together. Quite often I take children to the market with me and let them choose five vegetables/fruits of their liking and then at home we experiment how to get the best taste out of these. And do not forget that sometimes the result can be quite weird for your tongue, but the children will love it because it is something they have prepared on their own. So refrain from making faces of dislike and instead applaud them for the new taste experience. You can always suggest to make a different combination the next time!
My own favourite for all kinds of steaming and pureeing is the steamer shown on the picture, which also gives me a chance to do everything at the same time.
And remember, for the best taste experience, choose the seasonal vegetables and fruits.
Have an amazing time experimenting,