When you cook with herbs, food tastes better and smells fabulous. Herbs also add a nutritional boost to meals and contain beneficial phytonutrients and antioxidants to keep the body strong.
Introducing herbs to your child at an early age helps to develop their sense of taste and can make foods more interesting. Start out by adding an herb or spice to baby food purees. Simply add a small pinch of one herb or spice before cooking the food. The flavor of herbs, spices and natural flavors becomes more subtle when cooked. Once the food is cooked, puree it.
Here is a list of baby friendly herbs, spices and natural flavor enhancers and the foods that pair well with them:
Sweet Herbs and Spices:
- Cinnamon: Sweet potatoes, Winter Squashes, Apples, Bananas, Peaches, Pumpkin and Cherries
- Clove: Apples, Sweet potatoes, Pumpkin and Pineapple
- Ginger: Sweet potatoes, Winter Squashes, Pears, Peaches, Pumpkin, Black Beans, Carrots and White Beans
- Nutmeg: Apples, Apricots, Nectarines, Peaches and Blueberries
- Oregano: Yellow Squash (Crooked Neck), Zucchini and Eggplant
- Dill: Peas, Yellow Squash (Crooked Neck), Zucchini, Asparagus, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower and Beets
- Tarragon: Peas, Carrots, Snow Peas, Sugar Snap Peas, White Beans and Corn
- Basil: Yellow Squash (Crooked Neck), Zucchini, Green Beans and Eggplant
- Cumin: Black Beans, Carrots and Pinto Beans
Other Natural Flavors:
- Garlic: Black Beans, Broccoli, Garbanzo Beans (Chick Peas), Spinach, White Beans and White Potatoes
- Lemon or Orange Zest: Winter Squashes, Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Cauliflower, Garbanzo Beans (Chick Peas), Green Beans, Beets, Blueberries and Strawberries.
- Sweet Onion: Peas, Yellow Squash (Crooked Neck), Cauliflower, Pinto Beans, Spinach, White Potatoes and Corn
- Vanilla: Apples, Pears and Peaches
About the author: Cheryl Tallman is the founder of Fresh Baby (www.FreshBaby.com). For more than 10 years, Fresh Baby helped has helped parents foster their children’s healthy eating habits and proactively respond to the childhood obesity epidemic that plagues our nation. Cheryl is the author and designer of the company’s award-winning cookbooks and nutrition education products that support many stages of family life including: pregnancy, breastfeeding, introducing solid foods, and feeding toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children.