Time for Flavour-Led Weaning
Its been a while! So Maisie is now 8months old and we have been flavour-led weaning since she turned 6 months old which was in fact Boxing Day so she joined us at the table in her high chair! I know that Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is now all the rage but I decided to go the traditional way with purees. I’m quite a stickler for ensuring that Maisie has a balanced healthy diet to the point where my other half jokes and calls me the fun police! We have decided that we don’t want Maisie to have any processed food or refined sugar in the foods that she has and therefore everything that she has is homemade, containing natural sugars only. No juices, no flavoured yoghurts, no rusks etc.
When I was looking into this, I came across a fantastic book by Zainab Jagot Ahmed called The Flavour-Led Weaning Book.
Flavor-led weaning uses baby-friendly herbs and spices as safe, healthy, and natural flavour-boosters. At home, I cook from scratch and cook a range of different cuisines from Thai, to South American to Indian. I love to try new recipes and love experimenting with different flavours. Flavour-Led Weaning by Zainab Jagot Ahmed promotes this and will hopefully help Maisie have a real broad pallet and enjoy the different foods that we eat as a family!
Once thing that has really struck me on this journey is the amount of rubbish that is in the majority of baby food. Many of you will probably think that you are doing a good thing by buying the large, well known brand baby food but have you actually looked what it contains and tried it yourself? So many of them are sweetened, even the vegetables! Recently, Jamie and Jimmy featured this on their Friday Night Feast programme. They encouraged their audience to try some baby foods. It quickly became apparent that it was all very sweet. The vegetable pouches were sweetened and didnt resemble the actual vegetable that they contained. The contents of the mixed flavour pouches, were quite misleading in terms of the amounts of each ingredient that they contained when it was broken down. Generally, the ingredient that was the sweetest was always the biggest quantity. If you buy pre-made baby food, have a look at the percentage breakdown of the ingredients before you buy. How can you expect your little one to like broccolli if they are weaned thinking that broccolli is sweet?? The last thing that I want for Maisie is to create an addiction to sweet flavours.
Having recently worked on a campaign for Public Health England, I am well aware of the issues that we have with child obesity, tooth decay and diabetes in this country and my belief is that that is down to the parents. Children will eat what they are given at home, they are not the ones who do the weekly shop, nor are they the ones who do the cooking. I firmly believe that as a parent, it is my role to give Maisie the healthiest start possible where treats should be treats, not part of an every day diet. (Now i really do sound like the fun police!)
The Flavour-Led Weaning Book is very informative and helpful and starts off with single vegetable purees, then to double and then onto flavours. One of Maisies favourites was Kiwi, Lime and Mint Puree. Not only did this taste great, it was cooling on her gums when she was teething. They are all so easy to make and can be frozen. I have a day every so often where I batch cook a few dishes and then freeze them, I freeze them into ice cube trays and then transfer the cubes into a freezer bag. This is ideal as we just take out a few cubes for each meal on a daily basis and Maisie is always having something different. We have absolutely loved the weaning stage and so far, shes a real foodie! We are now onto Stage 2 (for babies 7months plus) and her new favourite is Tilapia with Mango and Lime Sauce. She sits there with her mouth open like a little bird waiting for the next mouthful.
I am well aware that it’s not always possible to home make every single thing as there are times, and believe me, we have had many, where home made baby food is just not convenient. I am not totally criticising pre-made baby food as not all of them are terrible, some are fantastic but I do think that they are more for times when homemade is not possible. They are great for convenience. Ellas Kitchen do a great range of pouches that are organic and contain only what they say they contain. No additives, flavourings, sweeteners or preservatives. Although i’m a huge advocate for homemade baby food, we are going on holiday abroad in a few weeks and we will be taking a huge stock of Ellas Kitchen pouches with us.
We are now at the stage of making things a little chunkier and more textured. Some days shes brilliant, other days she spits out the lumps! Do you have any tips or advice to help this transition? Comment below………. xx
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