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Introducing ‘Baby-friendly’ Herbs and Spices During Weaning

When it comes to weaning, there’s a common misconception that herbs and spices should be avoided. However, introducing these flavourful spoonful’s early on can actually benefit your baby’s palate development and overall enjoyment of food.

Introducing ‘Baby-friendly’ Herbs and Spices During Weaning

Are spices and herbs baby friendly?

Absolutely! Spice’ does not only relate to ‘heat’; there is a vast range of herbs and spices that are perfect for encouraging your child to be an adventurous eater from the get-go. These allow them to expand their palates, anticipate changes with food, and keep them interested in eating, not to mention the various health benefits that these herbs and spices can offer.

Herbs and spices can be introduced as soon as the ‘first tastes’ have been accepted and your baby has taken well to complementary feeding. You can then begin experimenting with enhancing your baby’s foods using the provided guide. Initially, it is important to consider adding herbs and spices to dishes earlier in the day and in small quantities, as a little goes a long way.

What herbs and spices can I use?

Herbs and spices enhance colour, aroma, flavour and sometimes even texture of a food. Each have unique characteristics that create these wonderful qualities in our final dishes. Start gradually by incorporating mild options like cinnamon, ginger, or vanilla into fruit purees and porridges, then progress to herbaceous varieties like basil and mint as your baby grows more accustomed to flavours.

Here is a handy table with some spice and herb suggestions for you to incorporate into your baby’s diet:

What are some of the health benefits of these herbs and spices?

Incorporating herbs and spices into a baby’s diet provides a range of health benefits due to their rich phytochemical and nutrient profiles. However, they should be consumed as part of a balanced diet rather than relying solely on them for medicinal purposes.

Here are some health benefits associated with specific herbs and spices:

  • Cinnamon: Supports blood sugar control, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and may help lower cholesterol levels.
  • Cardamom: Aids digestion by preventing digestive issues like bloating and gas, plus contains antioxidants.
  • Nutmeg: Exhibits antibacterial properties, supports brain health and memory, and aids digestion while relieving pain and inflammation.
  • Coriander: Rich in antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, and helps with digestion while potentially lowering blood sugar levels.
  • Saffron: Contains antioxidants that protect against oxidative stress and may improve mood
  • Black Pepper: Enhances nutrient absorption, possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and improves digestive health.
  • Turmeric: Potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties due to curcumin, helps manage joint pain, and supports brain health
  • Clove: Exhibits antimicrobial properties, fights infections, and aids in controlling blood sugar levels.
  • Garlic: Supports heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, boosts the immune system, and has antibacterial properties.
  • Cumin: Supports digestion, relieves symptoms of IBS, and contains antioxidants
  • Ginger: Helps with nausea and digestive issues, possesses anti-inflammatory properties, and may lower blood sugar levels while improving heart health.
  • Parsley: Rich in vitamins and antioxidants, supports kidney health, and reduces bloating
  • Thyme: Exhibits antimicrobial properties, supports respiratory health, aids in cough relief, and boosts the immune system.
  • Basil: Contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, supports liver function, and may help manage stress.
  • Dill: Supports digestion, relieves gas and bloating, and has antimicrobial properties
  • Lemongrass: Contains antioxidants, helps lower cholesterol levels, supports digestive health, and has antimicrobial properties.
  • Sage: Improves brain function and memory, supports oral health, and reduces inflammation.
  • Tarragon: Supports digestion, relieves an upset stomach, contains antioxidants, and may protect against chronic diseases.
  • Bay Leaf: Supports heart health by regulating cholesterol levels, contains antioxidants, and exhibits anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Rosemary: Contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, supports brain health, and improves digestion.

In conclusion, incorporating a variety of herbs and spices into a baby’s diet during weaning enriches their culinary experience by adding new and exciting flavours. Start gradually and monitor how your baby responds to these new flavours to foster a positive and healthy relationship with food.

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