Nutritionist and sensory food scientist, Zenia Deogan, of @TheFlavourAcademy, answers your weaning questions around flavour, herbs and spices and making yummy family meals
Zenia Deogan of @TheFlavourAcademy took over our Instagram during Weaning Week 2021 answering lots of questions about weaning in general, but more specifically on how to add flavour to your baby’s meals. She’s passionate about helping parents introduce herbs and spices into meals from an early age which can not only make weaning more exciting, but create adventurous little eaters in the future. Something we all would like!
Here we’ve captured your amazing questions and her brilliant responses which are packed with some great top tips!
What’re your top tips for starting weaning?
- Do your research and prepare – purchase some good weaning gear like Tidy Tot bibs and wash mitts, because you’ll need them!
- Don’t feel pressured to commit to a certain way of weaning, let your baby lead you – things change all the time from the amount your baby eats, how they feel, how you feel, teething, etc so go with the flow
- Always offer a variety – balanced nutrients, lots of flavour and different textures
- Offer new things gradually and be consistent and persistent (it may take a few exposures for your baby to accept flavours and textures)
- If your baby is not accepting a new flavour or texture, give them a small break and come back to it
- Weaning can be overwhelming but it’s important to take a step back and have fun with it!
What are good fruit and vegetables to start weaning with?
Your baby will have a preference for sweet tastes so start with vegetables and the less sweeter variety and introduce fruit after a few days. To start with try broccoli, peas, courgette, aubergine, cauliflower, green beans, carrot, parsnips, sweet potato and butternut squash.
When can I start introducing herbs into my little one’s meals?
We love Thai food. What’s the easiest recipe for Thai food for babies?
Thai curry is perfect! You can make it super nourishing with the coconut milk, lots of different vegetables and meat, ground spices and fresh herbs like Thai basil (or normal basil).
How can I add flavour to my little one’s food without adding too much salt?
Each herb/spice is usually a mixture of notes and they’re not a single flavour profile so you’re already exposing your baby to lots of flavours even with just one herb or spice. So you wouldn’t really need to add salt at all. It’s best not to add salt to your baby’s dishes as they don’t need it. Your baby would be getting some salt in his or her diet from foods like bread, crackers, breadsticks.
When can you give eggs to baby?
From. 6months you can start giving egg to your baby. Ensure the egg is well cooked first. It’s recommended to start with the yolk first. You could mash it up with some of your baby’s milk for example. Egg white contains most of the allergenic egg proteins, therefore it is best to start off with the yolk first.
After you’ve exposed your baby to yolk a few times, try the white and yolk together.
For BLW, you can add egg to pancakes, meatballs, couscous, nuggets, fritters, all of which are great finger foods
Can you mix flavours right away?
Ensure you give your baby the opportunity to taste ‘first tastes’ for 2 weeks first so they are exposed to individual flavours.
Mixing flavours can be overwhelming at first but once they’re used to the idea of purees or food they are more accepting of more tastes and different flavour combinations.