Adding herbs and spices to baby food: What you need to know
Unlike salt and sugar, herbs and spices add flavour to your baby’s food in a healthy way! Here's all you need to know about "spicing up" your baby's food
Making homemade baby food allows you to experiment with different flavours and textures for your baby to enjoy. It also affords you more freedom when it comes to choosing ingredients as opposed to simply going for commercial baby food.
Though the most popular baby food brands offer flavour and nutrients, most of them don’t incorporate herbs and spices. So, if you want to liven up your baby’s food, and expand their palate, adding spices is a delicious way to start!
When to add herbs and spices to your baby’s food
Many paediatricians would agree that it’s best to introduce herbs and spices once your baby is at least 8 months or older.
The main reason behind this is to avoid digestive upsets and not merely to ward off possible allergic reactions. In fact, if your baby doesn’t have a sensitive stomach, then you can go right ahead and add spices and herbs to their meals.
It’s also best to consult a paediatrician when introducing new herbs and spices to your baby’s diet.
If you’re a breastfeeding mum, it’s important to know that your baby is already being introduced to herbs and spices through your breastmilk, which helps them develop a taste for food that’s not bland.
It’s important to remember not to add any sort of flavouring to your breastmilk or formula.
Next page: The types of herbs and spices you can add to your baby’s food
The types of herbs and spices you can add to your baby’s food
Herbs and spices, whether fresh or dried, are a great way to add interesting flavours to your baby’s food without using salt or sugar.
While many would agree that it’s important not to add salt or sugar to your baby’s food as it might mess up their palate and pose health risks, there’s no harm in “spicing up” their meals.
Here are just a few great herbs and spices you could try.
- garlic – minced or powdered
- lemon zest
- curry powder (this is fine as long as you monitor your child closely, as some variants of curry or child powder may give your baby a rash)
These herbs and spices would make flavourful additions to recipes your family usually enjoys. These natural flavouring allows your child not to grow up depending on artificial tastes to be able to fully enjoy their culinary experience.
Next page: Examples on how you can add spices to homemade baby food
Try these flavourful combinations to add zest to your baby’s—as well as your entire family’s—meals.
Apple (Sauce): add cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla*, ginger
Pears: add ginger, cinnamon, a drip of vanilla or even mint
Bananas: add cinnamon, ginger, allspice, vanilla
*It’s important to remember to make sure to use either the vanilla bean or essence of vanilla that’s not labeled “pure”, which has a high alcohol content.
Using pure vanilla isn’t advisable unless you are cooking or baking because this cooks off the alcohol content.
Plain Yogurt: add mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger, allspice, cardamom
Sweet potato: add nutmeg, cinnamon and/or cardamom
Pumpkin: add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and dash of vanilla
Carrots: add basil and garlic
Green beans: add garlic powder
Mashed potatoes (white): add dill weed or garlic
Winter Squash (acorn, hubbard, butternut etc.): add cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger
More about the best herbs and spices for baby food on the next page
Pasta: add oregano, garlic, or basil
Oatmeal or other cereals: use fruits, cinnamon and nutmeg, dash of vanilla
Rice (sweet): add cinnamon, nutmeg, dash of vanilla, cardamom, ginger
Quinoa (sweet): add cinnamon, nutmeg, dash of vanilla, cardamom, ginger for sweet
Quinoa (savory): add garlic powder, pepper, onion powder, basil, oregano and others
Chicken or Turkey tastes well with…
- cinnamon and/or coriander
- garlic powder and basil
- lemon zest and pepper
- basil and oregano
- garlic and pepper
- sage, rosemary and thyme
Beef goes well with..
- garlic and pepper
- onion powder and pepper
- plain orange zest
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