Go Gourmet Baby!

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By Cheryl Tallman

Studies are revealing that children who are fed diets of bland, tasteless food are more likely to have issues with weight. Unlike the jarred foods, homemade baby food is full of delicious fresh, wholesome flavor and adding herbs and spices is a great way to enhance this flavor.

Simple to Culinary Treat

Here are a few tips on how your baby's food can go from simple to a culinary treat:

  • Introduce herbs and spices at 8-10 months.
  • Keep it simple for the first few months.
  • Add herbs and spice in the cooking step. It is best for flavors to blend in cooking and become more subtle.
  • Do not sprinkle herbs and spices on the food prior to serving. The flavor will be too strong.
  • A little goes along way. Use herbs and spices sparingly. As a general rule, add 1/8 teaspoon of spice per 16-24 ounces of fruits or vegetables.
  • Add herbs and spices only to foods that you have previously fed to your baby. Remember the "One at a Time" rule to ensure that any food allergies are detected early.
  • Avoid sugar and salt. There are healthier and more flavorful choices to add to your baby's foods.

Baby-friendly Herbs and Natural Spices

  • Sweet herbs and spices:
    • Cinnamon: Use on sweet potatoes, winter squashes, apples, bananas, peaches, pumpkin and cherries
    • Clove: Use on apples, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and pineapple
    • Ginger: Use on sweet potatoes, winter squashes, pears, peaches, pumpkin, black beans, carrots and white beans
    • Nutmeg: Use on apples, apricots, nectarines, peaches and blueberries
  • Savory Herbs and Spices:
    • Oregano: Use on yellow squash (crooked neck), zucchini and eggplant
    • Dill: Use on peas, yellow squash (Crooked Neck), zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and beets
    • Tarragon: Use on peas, carrots, snow peas, sugar snap peas, white beans and corn
    • Basil: Use on yellow squash (crooked neck), zucchini, green beans and eggplant
    • Cumin: Use on black beans, carrots and pinto beans
  • Other Natural Flavors:
    • Garlic: Use on black beans, broccoli, garbanzo beans (chick peas), spinach, white beans and white potatoes
    • Lemon or Orange Zest: Use on winter squashes, asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, garbanzo beans (chick peas), green beans, beets, blueberries and strawberries
    • Sweet Onion: Use on peas, yellow squash (crooked neck), cauliflower, pinto beans, spinach, white potatoes and Corn
    • Vanilla: Use on apples, pears and peaches

Cheryl Tallman is the co-founder of Fresh Baby, creators of the award-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit, available at many fine specialty stores, BabiesRUs.com, Target.com and national chains including Whole Foods Markets. Visit Cheryl online at FreshBaby.com for more delicious tips.

Copyright © Cheryl Tallman. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.