Kids: they are just like us! Well, that’s my philosophy when it comes to the food we give them. I believe that kids and parents can and should eat the same foods. Baby food doesn’t need to be bland and basic. In fact, that sets kids up to want muted flavors. The more flavors you offer early on, the more likely your baby will enjoy a variety of foods later.
The key is to start them young– ideally in the first year during the “flavor window” when babies are most open to trying new foods and flavors. There is a tremendous opportunity to shape your baby’s palate in those early months, and this is a great time to get in the kitchen and make your own baby food.
Not only is the food you make probably more nutritious (you know exactly what’s going into it!), but it also allows for all types of experimentation with herbs, spices and different flavor combinations. Adding herbs and spices is a great way to enhance flavor without the use of added sugar and salt. My son loves food with very strong flavors, I kid you not, and he can’t get enough of anything that has onions in it. Very early on, we added spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cumin as well as herbs like mint, rosemary, and tarragon to his food. We slowly progressed, and his favorite purees were white beans, leeks, and spinach as well as rutabaga.
I know it can be intimidating (it was for me and I’m a professional!), but once you get over the initial stress, it becomes a ton of fun. Plus, your baby will thank you!
Here is one of my favorite recipes:
White Bean and Leek Puree
Makes four (2-ounce) servings
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 leek, white and green parts chopped
½ can white beans, rinsed
- Add the leek and white beans to the steamer basket.
- Pour water into the tank (level 2).
- Start the cooking process.
- When the leeks and white beans are cooked, put them into the blending bowl, reserving the cooking liquid.
- Add the olive oil, and cooking liquid (if needed), until the desired consistency is reached.