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Delightful smelling food = nutrient-rich diet for baby

When I first began feeding my daughter spicy, aromatic Indian baby food from the age of 7 months, I remember thinking “wow! This smells amazing, I wouldn’t mind a sneaky mouthful of that myself,” as I prepared her meal in the kitchen… so I did! As I spooned in a mouthful, there was a hint of taste (hint according to my chilli abused taste buds) and the scrummy flavours dispersed through my senses. I passed this flavoursome baby food over to my daughter and she wolfed it down in record time!

I’ve never been one to pay much attention to science or biology, but this interested me. Although there was no salt, sugar or chilli in the baby food, the aroma released from the spices and herbs in the food aroused my senses making me want to eat it. Even my husband has come home from work and commented “something smells good… what’s for dinner?” to which I answered “it’s Aaliyah’s (my daughter’s) food.

The reason for this is our sense of taste and smell are very closely linked. So much so that food would taste bland without our sense of smell. In fact, according to an article by Medscape (Disorders of Taste and Smell), a lack of the ability to smell or taste food can lead to nutritional deficiencies, as there is very little pleasure and enjoyment in eating food.

It is imperative that babies, toddlers and young children consume a nutrient-rich diet for healthy growth, brain development and for an overall well-balanced diet. So why do parents feed their babies and toddlers bland baby food? Is it because they are wary of being adventurous and introducing new flavours into their child’s diet? Ironically it could be this ‘wariness’ that leads to a child’s nutritionally deficient diet, since bland food is unlikely to arouse these important senses, leading to a lack of motivation to eat the food prepared.

There are so many wonderful natural flavours in the world to be creative with that are perfectly safe to introduce into a baby and toddler’s diet. So add a pinch of cumin or cinnamon here, a splash of fresh lime juice there and a sprinkle of freshly chopped coriander over your little one’s food and watch him or her enjoy food and eat healthily.

Article © Zainab Jagot Ahmed and Zainab Jagot Ahmed Indian Baby Food. 2012. Information is for educational purposes only.

Photo by: CodyR

References

Leopold, D MD, Holbrook, EH MD and Noell CA MD. 2012. Disorders of taste and smell. Medscape, [ONLINE] 12 April. Available at: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/861242-overview [Accessed 4 September 2012]

MedlinePlus. 2012. Taste and Smell Disorders. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tasteandsmelldisorders.html [Accessed 4 September 2012]

The Urban Child Institute. 2012. Taste and Smell: The Foundation to Healthy Nutrition. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.urbanchildinstitute.org/articles/research-to-policy/overviews/taste-and-smell-the-foundation-to-healthy-nutrition [Accessed 4 September 2012]

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