Cans of creamed spinach and pureed carrots may be the baby food stereotype, but meals for babies and toddlers needn’t be so boring. Over the past decade, many myths about the two-and-under palate have been debunked, and a growing number of parents are welcoming the ‘new rules’ of baby food and what it can be with open arms.
At the heart of this philosophical shift is the idea of letting your baby be your guide. Though you shouldn’t doubt your mummy instinct, also trust that your baby will let you know when he’s hungry or full. Or, while ‘airplane-ing’ spoons of porridge into your little one’s mouth can be a fun meal time game, don’t be afraid to let him feed himself, as the NHS encourages.
Perhaps most importantly, don’t assume your baby isn’t going to like the foods you and other adults love. Chilli peppers are obviously not the best idea, but mild spices and exotic fruits shouldn’t be off limits. For a bit of inspiration, consider the following baby-friendly snacks:
Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes: Wow your wee one with the comforting taste of warm sweet potatoes dusted with cinnamon. Dice the soft sweet potato into small, bite size portions and allow them to cool to lukewarm before serving. Introducing your baby to new flavours, such as cinnamon, will help develop their palate early on.
Mango: Forget the food processor; there’s no need to blend every ingredient before serving it to your baby. Fruits, if ripe enough, and veg, if cooked enough, are perfect as is. Your little one will love the sweet taste of mango, cut into small pieces. Wait until the mango is extra ripe so that your baby can easily chew it, no matter how many teeth they have.
Mini Rice Cakes: It’s not the best habit to use food as a quieting tool, but there are occasions (wedding ceremonies, long flights, etc.) where a time-consuming snack comes in handy. Mini rice cakes fill that role perfectly. Not only do most babies love the taste, but they enjoy gnawing on them until they’re mushy enough to eat. To experience the magic of mini rice cakes yourself, head to your local supermarket and look for the organic ones made just for kids.
Black Beans: Cooked black beans aren’t just tasty and a fantastic source of protein, but they’re also the perfect way to encourage your baby to perfect his ‘pincer grasp’. This pointer finger/thumb motion is a major baby milestone. Sprinkle the beans with a bit of paprika to add bit of pizazz.
Clearly, the days of spoon-feeding your baby yucky green goop are over. Treat your bundle of joy to the foods you love and encourage them to grow into a fuss-free, adventuresome eater.
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