Varying the food your baby eats once they start solids is important because it helps them get used to textures and flavours from an early age. It also gives the muscles in their mouth a workout in preparation for when they start talking.
There is also some anecdotal evidence to suggest that babies from six months onwards who are served a modified version of your meal, as long as it’s healthy and not too spicy or salty, are less likely to be fussy eaters as they grow. Now that’s an incentive to add more variety to baby’s meals if ever I’ve heard one.
Here’s 7 ways to vary your baby’s diet:
1. Be adventurous with veggies
Don’t just stick to pureed pumpkin, potatoes and carrots; offer bub a mixture or try including pureed peas, zucchini, corn kernels and green beans. If your little one isn’t a fan then add a little bit of pureed apple to make it naturally sweeter.
2. Give imaginative finger foods
Sure, rusks are proven favourites, but give frozen peas, chopped up cheese and even chunks of smooth avocado a go. These nutritious treats will keep your bub busy for ages and also help improve their hand-eye co-ordination.
3. Offer different dairy options
Grate some cheese and spread over your baby’s meals or give them different types of yoghurts to taste. Watch out for pre-packaged yoghurts, they often have added sugar. Bubs offers a range of organic and nasty-free pouches such as Greek yoghurt mixed with blueberry, apple and amaranth.
4. Try superfoods
While it’s tempting to stick to food your bub knows and loves, offering them nutrient-packed superfoods such as quinoa, cacao, figs and spinach will help them develop their palate and taste for flavours and foods at an early age.
5. Don’t forget fish
If like me you’re married to someone who doesn’t like seafood, chances are your little one won’t be eating much fish. But try your best to include foods like tuna and salmon into their diet – they’re packed with omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins. Delicious seafood recipe idea: tuna pasta bake topped with cheese.
6. Explore new fruits
Apples, bananas and pears are the usual suspects us parents give our babies, but you can usually give them most in-season fruit. A mixture of fruits in a salad easily offers them variety without bombarded them with a whole fruit that they may have not seen before.
Tip: Make sure you wash fruit to remove dirt and chemicals but leave the skin on because it contains a lot of nutrients and fibre.
7. Let it be lumpy
Feeding a baby food with texture helps develop their jaw, but the best part is, the sooner they are eating chunkier food the sooner you can all start eating the same families meals!
About the author: Emily Toxward
When former journalist Emily Toxward isn’t wrangling her three kids she’s juggling the demands of her business Write Styling and failing fabulously at being a domestic goddess. A published writer for nearly 20 years, Emily left full-time work in 2008 to have children and write from home. Always on the go, she spends her days negotiating with an army of little people she created and visits her local Gold Coast beaches for a little sanity.