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Tuesday 21 November, 2017

Getting it right from the first mouthful

Not to overwhelm you, but introducing solids is a big responsibility.  What you feed your baby in the first 12 months of their life will determine their eating patterns for the rest of their lives.

From the very beginning of your solids journey, feed your baby fresh, quality food that comes in a wide variety of tastes, colours and textures; and please stay away from junk or treat food.  It’s not necessary, and once you give your baby a taste of sugary food, they have a taste for it for life.  What’s the line, “One taste and you’ll be hooked.”  It’s true.

Stick with clean tasty whole foods that you prepare with love, and allow your baby to explore the wonderful world of food without being tainted by sugar and salt.

Here are a few simple things to bear in mind when you are deciding what and what not to feed your little one:

  • Do not add salt to your baby’s meals.  If you are cooking for the family, serve the baby’s meal before seasoning. Their little systems cannot cope with the sodium.
  • Do not offer your baby food with added refined sugars.  Remember that the ingredient’s list on the back is a clue as to how sugary a food is – the ingredient that makes up the highest percentage of the product is listed first, so if sugar (or one of its cheeky derivatives) is in the top 3, don’t buy it.
  • Serve all the colours of the rainbow – no matter what you think of the vegetable, it’s important not to impart your own likes and dislikes onto your baby, so serve them foods that come in all colours.
  • Kids squeeze pouches of yogurts, as tempting as they are, are filled with sugar.  Do not use them.  A whole-milk low-sugar natural Greek yogurt is the only yogurt they should be offered.  You can add your own fruit purees as your baby gets older and you are looking to diversify flavours.
  • Use quality artisan bread. Pre-sliced ‘supermarket’ bread is full of sugar and preservatives to keep it fresher longer.  Get your baby used to a delicious grainy sourdough from the get-go and you’ll never look back.
  • Bake your own biscuits and slices so you can control the amount of sugar that goes into them.  In most recipes, it’s fine to halve the amount of sugar to reduce sweetness.
  • If you don’t have time to make your own stock (and let’s face it, most of us don’t), make sure you use low sodium stock powders.

None of us are perfect, but if you can try to limit your little ones exposure to the ‘not so good’ foods for as long as possible, you have a much better chance of them being an adventurous well-rounded eater.

It really does work.  Good luck!

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