Contrary to popular belief, babies can handle flavorful or gently spiced foods from 6 months of age. In fact, serving bland or tasteless food to your baby can actually hinder their development. Babies need flavorful foods to enjoy and benefit from a varied diet!
This is where introducing Indian spices like asafetida (hing), turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and garlic, as well as coriander, cumin, mustard, and fennel, come in.
Why Introduce Spices to Your Baby?
- Apart from the delicious flavors they impart, Indian spices also have many health benefits. Some have anti-inflammatory or anti-oxidant properties while others help with digestion and absorption. Your baby should reap these health benefits just like you do.
- Adding spices to your baby’s food also trains their palate to appreciate a variety of flavors and tastes. This makes mealtime more interesting and enjoyable for your baby.
- Moreover, introducing your baby to spices at this stage of weaning helps prevent them from becoming picky eaters later. It exposes them to a diverse world of tastes, fragrances, and flavors, making them more open to trying new foods as they grow up.
What to Avoid
While spices can be beneficial for your baby’s health and taste development, there are a few things you should avoid.
Flexibility in your feeding approach helps to ensure that your baby is getting lots of good nutrition. As your baby reaches the 6-month mark, their iron reserves begin to deplete. To ensure their nutritional needs are met, it’s important to introduce a variety of complementary foods that are rich in iron.
Avoid adding salt separately, which is generally present in ready-made masalas and sauces. Use a little salt, but avoid excessive sodium as it can be harmful to your baby’s health.
5 Easy Tips for Introducing Spices to Your Baby’s Meals
Grate a small piece of ginger or half a garlic clove and add to foods like dals or soups or shredded tender chicken while cooking.
Add a pinch of powdered spices like turmeric, jeera, or coriander one at a time to sambhar, dal, rajma, chole, or chicken gravy during cooking.
Use fresh herbs like mint, coriander, or methi as a garnish in curries, rice dishes, poha, cooked vegetable sabjis, stuffed roti, chapatis, or pooris.
The Spice Table
Learn which spice is beneficial, how much quantity to add, and when to start introducing it in your baby’s solid food journey!