Commercial baby foods have been found to be too sweet for your weaning baby, but by preparing your own food you can control what flavours and tastes your baby experiences. You will have probably read in the news over the last few days that shop bought baby foods have been found to be too sweet to encourage variety of tastes in children. The University of Glasgow’s study of 329 baby foods found fruit and sweet vegetables were used far more readily than bitter ones such as spinach, leading them to conclude that these commercial baby foods are probably too sweet and will deter children from eating green vegetables.
The research, published in the journal Maternal and Child Nutrition, revealed that green vegetables were rarely used. It was determined that manufacturers clearly recognise the demand for products that appear to be healthy and will ensure these products are highly palatable using flavours such as apple, banana, tomato, mango, carrot and sweet potato over less palatable leafy greens. This lack of variety is unlikely to promote the development of bitter tastes in children, according to the authors of the report. The report urged that parents should be encouraged to offer home-cooked vegetables to promote a wider range of tastes in their children. Something we at Mummy Cooks feel strongly about.
Dr Ada Garcia, who led the research, said: “Taste learning requires parents to introduce their children to less palatable bitter tastes and keep offering them. However, it is probably unrealistic to expect commercial products to assist in this process.”
By preparing your own baby food you will be able to control exactly what goes into your baby’s mouth and therefore ensure that they are exposed to a wide variety of flavours in order to avoid a picky eater in the future.
Check out our top tips on How to Avoid a Fussy Eater. When you begin to introduce solid food to your weaning baby it is ok to use different types of fruits and sweet tasting vegetables such as sweet potato, peas and carrots. But it is also wise to offer your baby the bitter tastes. At first you can mix vegetables with fruit. Then as they get used to the taste you could offer the vegetable on its own or as a finger food. What seems to happen with commercial food is that the fruit or sweet tasting vegetables are constantly present, which will not allow your baby to develop a taste for other flavours.
Mummy Cooks Recipe: Brussels Sprouts and Pea Purée.
Dr Garcia also added that “Infants usually accept new foods and tastes well if vegetable tastes are introduced early, and this early experience influences food preference later in childhood.” At Mummy Cooks we aim to inspire and educate parents to feed their children healthy homemade food. Our website www.mummycooks.com is an online resource for feeding your child with lots of tips and recipes. Our award winning Weaning Pots allows parents to easily and effectively portion their child’s meals.