Tips for helping your baby to enjoy vegetables
Has your pediatrician or doctor given you the green light to start weaning your baby onto solids? Check out the taste education advice dispensed by the nutritionists at Cresna to help your baby enjoy their vegetables!
Which vegetable should you give them first?
Consider your child's sensory memory.
Specialist taste education nutritionists recommend initially giving your baby sweet potato, squash or carrot purée. This is because their naturally sweet flavor reminds them of breast milk or formula, as well as the amniotic fluid.
Next, introduce your family's favorite vegetables! Choices can vary depending on the area you live in or your family preferences.
How to introduce your baby to their first purée or compote?
Offer them a baby purée made from ONE single vegetable
Giving them a purée made from ONE single vegetable teaches them to recognise the smell, color and natural flavor (retained by steam cooking) of this type of food.
For example, let's look at broccoli which has a strong flavor. How can you make them enjoy it?
Give them this purée for the NEXT 3 meals, then occasionally until they have had it 7 times before the age of 2.
This is the number of times needed to help your baby develop a liking for this food.
Specialist taste education nutritionists suggest not adding salt to purées and not adding sugar to compotes. If an adult tastes a baby purée, they're bound to say that it's tasteless and not very nice. Whilst for babies, it's quite the opposite. As their palate is not yet used to salty flavors and added sugars, they will learn to recognise the natural taste of food.
What should you do if your baby refuses to eat a particular vegetable?
What's the best solution?
If your little one pulls a face or refuses a type of food (on its own, not mixed with any other food) after 3 tests, it's time to step in.
For the next meal, mix the vegetable they have refused with sweet potato.
What's the aim of taste education? It helps you identify your baby's tolerance to a certain type of food. Take broccoli, for example:
Does your baby dislike broccoli on its own?
- Try a purée made up of 25% broccoli + 75% sweet potato
If your little one likes this balance, experiment to see whether you can raise their tolerance to broccoli (it may not work, you'll have to test): 50% broccoli + 50% sweet potato; if they like it, test the 75% broccoli + 25% sweet potato ratio once again.
You get the idea. This enables you to identify your baby's tolerance to a certain type of food: 25% or 50% or 75% or 100%.
Does your baby still not like the taste of a particular vegetable after three successive meal attempts at a minimum threshold of 25%? Try again in a month or so.
If you discover an allergy to one or more types of food, take note and speak to your doctor or pediatrician.