f you’ve ever tasted jarred baby food, you probably discovered that it wasn’t very tantalizing to the taste buds. That’s because store-bought baby food generally has little, or no, added spices and seasonings, and much of the flavour is lost in the processing. So the question is at what age can onions, garlic, a tiny bit of chilli be added to their diet? What are the risks of adding these ingredients too soon?
Considering that baby’s senses are generally quite keen, their taste buds are no exception. What seems disappointingly bland to us is sensationally flavourful for young, discovering palates. Breastfed babies may have a head start on the adventure, because they have tasted subtle traces of various flavours from mother’s milk.
Generally, once baby’s chewing and swallowing ability progresses, at around nine months, mashed or chopped food from the family table may be introduced. It’s usually recommended that spices and herbs be omitted from baby’s portion, or used sparingly, and like any new foods, spices and herbs should be introduced to baby in the same manner–one at a time. This offers the opportunity to determine which spice of flavour may cause an allergic reaction or stomach upset occurs.
Regular meals that include fresh, mashed fruits and vegetables can provide a good variety of tempting flavours for baby. (Be sure to wash well and remove peelings before blending, mashing or chopping.) It’s also a good idea to avoid salt, as it’s reputed to put an unnecessary load on baby’s kidneys.