Herbs, Spices, and Sweet and Savory Flavors—No Salt, No Sugar
Feeding babies solid foods can be nerve-racking with all of the “dos and don’ts” that there are to remember. But one of the most important “don’ts” is this: Don’t add salt or sugar to the foods that you feed your baby. As adults, it can be and often is just automatic that we reach out and grab that saltshaker or the sugar bowl and proceed to shake and heap on the flavor. It may be tempting to do the same for baby’s foods. But for the sake of baby’s health, please refrain.
Remember that your baby’s palate is clean, and she will be able to learn to love the natural tastes of foods. For example, she has no idea that there are sweet flavored yogurts out there. Without the addition of sugar and other sweet ingredients, yogurt is naturally tart. Your baby will learn to love the taste of unsweetened yogurt because she will know nothing else. How amazing will it be that your baby learns to like the taste of foods in their natural state, without sweeteners and unhealthy additions?
This doesn’t mean, though, that baby food must be bland. If your baby is six months old or older and has been eating solid foods for two weeks or more without tummy trouble, you can begin flavoring your homemade baby food with herbs and spices, which add flavor without salt or sugar.
Here are a few of the herbs and spices you can use to make your baby’s food even more delicious:
Basil: savory; great with vegetables, sauces, pasta dishes, and soups
Cardamom: savory and sweet; great with fruits and in chicken and grain dishes
Cinnamon: sweet; add to oatmeal, pancakes, and vegetables and fruits such as carrots, pumpkin, cranberries, squash, and sweet potatoes; mix into yogurt and fruit sauces
Dill: savory; add to potatoes, chicken, and fish dishes; and when roasted, use it on vegetables including carrots and cauliflower
Garlic: savory; garlic is great with any vegetable dish and goes well with sautéed greens and in meatballs, savory sauces, and roasted meats
Ginger: savory and sweet; sprinkle ginger on pears or carrots and then slow-cook or roast them. Add fresh grated ginger to grain dishes, soups, and chicken dishes, too.
Mint: sweet; mint makes a great addition to pureed peas and yogurt blends
Nutmeg: sweet or savory; add nutmeg to roasted root vegetables, any type of winter squash dish, or fruit sauce such as applesauce or pear sauce
Oregano: savory; use oregano in chicken and turkey dishes, soups, and sauces
Pepper: savory; pepper is a great addition to any meat or vegetable dish
Rosemary: savory; this little herb is a fantastic addition to chicken, pork, and roasted or slow-cooked vegetables
Sage: savory; use sage for poultry dishes and winter squash and root vegetables; add it to chicken soup and chicken pot pie, too