The food you give your baby during weaning influences their eating preferences for years to come according to research. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why a wide variety of healthy foods, particularly vegetables, is such an important part of the weaning process.
However, Irish children are not eating enough vegetables – the average intake of veg for Irish toddlers is just one portion a day.
Research has shown that we’re naturally designed to love sweet foods and reject bitter foods like veggies. However you can give your little ones a healthy headstart by exposing them to bitter-tasting vegetables at the start of weaning. Scientists think that weaning with single vegetables in this way really can shape their taste preferences for life.
So how do I help my baby to learn to love veggies for life?
It is recommend to start weaning with baby rice mixed with your baby’s usual milk to help your baby get used to a slightly thicker feed and eating from a spoon; then begin to introduce and move onto single vegetable flavours; followed by fruit. You may have been planning to try fruit like apple or banana first, but actually getting in early with vegetables like carrots and cauliflower is more likely to help your little one learn to love vegetables for life. Remember, vegetables can be mixed with baby rice as well.
They might pull a face at first, but it’s well worth persevering! After a while – it can take as many as eight to ten tries – your baby will happily eat all kinds of vegetables, and you’ll have helped establish a healthy eating habit that can last a lifetime.
Follow this simple model:
1) START – with a single vegetable.
2) VARY – with different single vegetable
3) REPEAT – with the same vegetable flavours in exciting new combinations. Just take it slowly and don’t give up!
To help introduce vegetables to your baby Cow and Gate have developed a range of ‘friends’ savoury vegetable pouches, spanning from first spoons to 10months+, in four different flavours; carrot, broccoli, pea and cauliflower.
“Solids should be introduced around 6 months and not before 17 weeks of age