One-Week Feeding Plan: Safely Introduce Baby-Friendly Herbs and Spices
Is your little one ready for new and exciting flavours? Before you and baby jump into the flavoursome world of weaning with herbs and spices, also known as flavour-led weaning, I’d recommend following my one-week feeding plan below as a guide to safe introduction.
Weaving herbs and spices into the weaning journey is exceptionally easy! But it’s always a good idea to tread on the side of caution. I did exactly that when weaning my little one to ensure she was safe and suffered no allergic reactions. Whilst unlikely, it may happen so my feeding plan can help you keep an eye out for allergies and identify the culprit that may cause it.
Baby-friendly herbs and spices are fabulous! They’re all natural and add much-needed flavour to meals without the use of salt and sugar. When cooked, meals smell simply delicious. This gorgeous aroma makes our senses go ‘goo-goo, gaa-gaa’ and meals taste super scrumptious! And in my experience, it was the same for my little one and her little friends – they couldn’t wait to dig in!
Sounds Great! How Do I Get Started?
If your little one’s weaning journey is well-underway, and first tastes have been accepted it’s time to make meals more interesting. Between 6 and 7 months you can start ‘flavour-led weaning’ by introducing baby-friendly herbs and spices to your little one’s daily feeding routine, to help the transition from basic tastes, to basic tastes with herbs and spices.
As your little one will most likely be consuming two meals a day, one of the meals you offer should be a puree from this feeding plan.
Banana and Cinnamon - Peel a ripe banana and place half in a bowl along with a small pinch of ground cinnamon. Mix and mash together well with a fork to achieve a soft, lumpy consistency. Add your baby’s usual milk or cooled, boiled water to thin out the mash if necessary and serve. Alternatively, purée using a handheld blender or food processor if you are still offering your little one purées.
Apple and Ginger - Wash, peel and core 2 sweet apples. Cut into chunks and place in a pan along with 5 tablespoons of water and a ¼ teaspoon of minced ginger. Stir and simmer, covered, on low heat for 6-8 minutes until the apple is tender. Purée or mash as necessary. An alternative combination is apple and cinnamon.
Plum and Vanilla - Wash and cut 2 ripe plums in half and twist to pull apart. Peel the skin using a sharp knife and remove the stones. Roughly chop the flesh, leaving them in big chunks and add to a pan. Next cut the top off a fresh vanilla pod, slice in half lengthways, open half the length of the pod and scrape out the vanilla seeds with the tip of the knife. Pop the vanilla seeds into the pan along with 2 tablespoons of water, stir and simmer, covered, on low heat until the plums are tender (4–6 minutes). If the plums are already fairly ripe, simmer for a couple of minutes to infuse the vanilla with the flesh. Purée or mash as necessary. If the plums are too tart, add a little banana when serving. Alternatively, simmer the plums in pure apple juice.
Butternut Squash and Cumin - Place 250g butternut squash (peeled, deseeded, cubed) into a pan with 5 tablespoons of water and a pinch of ground cumin and stir. Simmer, covered, on low heat until tender. Mash or purée in a food processor or using a handheld blender as necessary.
Cauliflower and Turmeric - Place quarter of a cauliflower (thoroughly washed, cut into small florets) in a pan with 5 tablespoons of water and add a pinch of ground turmeric and stir. Simmer, covered, on low heat for 8–10 minutes until tender. Purée or mash as required.
Carrot and Coriander - Peel and trim the ends off 2 medium carrots. Roughly chop the carrots and place in a pan with 3 tablespoons of water and a small pinch of ground coriander and stir. Simmer, covered, on low heat until tender. Pop in a food processor and blend or mash as necessary. Achieve soft lumps in a food processor by using a pulse motion.
Peach and Nutmeg - Wash and skin 2 ripe peaches using the same method for plums (see Wednesday). Roughly chop the flesh, leaving it in big chunks and add to a pan. Next add a pinch of ground nutmeg and 2 tablespoons of water and stir. Simmer, covered, on low heat until the peaches are tender (4–6 minutes). If the peaches are already fairly ripe, simmer for just a couple of minutes to infuse the nutmeg with the flesh. Purée the peaches in a food processor or using a handheld blender. Alternative combinations to try are peach and ginger or peach and basil.
To be extra cautious, or if you have a known family history of allergies, I would recommend waiting 2–3 days after you introduce one spice to your little one’s diet before you introduce another. Up to 72 hours should be more than enough time for you to spot any allergic reactions baby might have to a certain spice. Allergic reactions to look out for: tummy upsets, skin rashes, swelling of the lips and face, runny and blocked noses, sneezing, itchy watery eyes, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. If in doubt seek medical advice from your GP or health visitor.
Feeding plan complete? Head over to my yummy flavour-bursting stage 2 recipes: First flavour blends and texture (7-9 months)
Should you wish to create your own yummy flavour-led recipes, the following articles may be helpful: