Adding herbs and spices to baby food: What you need to know

Adding herbs and spices to baby food: What you need to know

Unlike salt and sugar, herbs and spices add flavor to your baby’s food in a healthy way! Here's all you need to know about "spicing up" your baby's food

Making homemade baby food allows you to experiment with different flavors and textures for your baby to enjoy. It also affords you more freedom when it comes to choosing ingredients as opposed to simply going for commercial baby food.

Though the most popular baby food brands offer flavor and nutrients, most of them don’t incorporate herbs and spices. So, if you want to liven up your baby’s food, and expand their palate, adding spices is a delicious way to start!

spices pixabay

photo: Pixabay

When to add herbs and spices to your baby’s food

Many pediatricians would agree that it’s best to introduce herbs and spices once your baby is at least 8 months or older.

The main reason behind this is to avoid digestive upsets and not merely to ward off possible allergic reactions. In fact, if your baby doesn’t have a sensitive stomach, then you can go right ahead and add spices and herbs to their meals.

It’s also best to consult a pediatrician when introducing new herbs and spices to your baby’s diet.

If you’re a breastfeeding mom, it’s important to know that your baby is already being introduced to herbs and spices through your breastmilk, which helps them develop a taste for food that’s not bland.

It’s important to remember not to add any sort of flavoring to your breastmilk or formula.

Next page: The types of herbs and spices you can add to your baby’s food

The types of herbs and spices you can add to your baby’s food

Herbs and spices, whether fresh or dried, are a great way to add interesting flavors to your baby’s food without using salt or sugar.

While many would agree that it’s important not to add salt or sugar to your baby’s food as it might mess up their palate and pose health risks, there’s no harm in “spicing up” their meals.

photo: Pexels

photo: Pexels

Here are just a few great herbs and spices you could try.

  • pepper
  • garlic – minced or powdered
  • basil
  • rosemary
  • dill
  • oregano
  • lemon zest
  • ginger
  • cinnamon
  • mint
  • nutmeg
  • anise
  • curry powder (this is fine as long as you monitor your child closely, as some variants of curry or child powder may give your baby a rash)

These herbs and spices would make flavorful additions to recipes your family usually enjoys. These natural flavoring allows your child not to grow up depending on artificial tastes to be able to fully enjoy their culinary experience.

Next page: Examples on how you can add spices to homemade baby food

Try these flavorful combinations to add zest to your baby’s—as well as your entire family’s—meals.

Fruits

Apple (Sauce): add cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla*, ginger

Pears: add ginger, cinnamon, a drip of vanilla or even mint

Bananas: add cinnamon, ginger, allspice, vanilla

*It’s important to remember to make sure to use either the vanilla bean or essence of vanilla that’s not labeled “pure”, which has a high alcohol content.

Using pure vanilla isn’t advisable unless you are cooking or baking because this cooks off the alcohol content.

photo: Pixabay

photo: Pixabay

Dairy

Plain Yogurt: add mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger, allspice, cardamom

Vegetables

Sweet potato: add nutmeg, cinnamon and/or cardamom

Pumpkin: add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and dash of vanilla

Carrots: add basil and garlic

Green beans: add garlic powder

Mashed potatoes (white): add dill weed or garlic

Winter Squash (acorn, hubbard, butternut etc.): add cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger

More about the best herbs and spices for baby food on the next page

Cereals/Grains

Pasta: add oregano, garlic, or basil

Oatmeal or other cereals: use fruits, cinnamon and nutmeg, dash of vanilla

Rice (sweet): add cinnamon, nutmeg, dash of vanilla, cardamom, ginger

Quinoa (sweet): add cinnamon, nutmeg, dash of vanilla, cardamom, ginger for sweet

Quinoa (savory): add garlic powder, pepper, onion powder, basil, oregano and others

peanut butter oatmeal 1

photo: Pixabay

Chicken or Turkey tastes well with…

  • cinnamon and/or coriander
  • garlic powder and basil
  • lemon zest and pepper
  • basil and oregano
  • garlic and pepper
  • sage, rosemary and thyme

Beef goes well with..

  • garlic and pepper
  • onion powder and pepper
  • plain orange zest

READ: Why you shouldn’t give your baby salt and sugar before they turn a year old

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Written by

Bianchi Mendoza

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