Hello there and welcome to our first Baby Loves Veg post! We are really excited to start sharing with you our love of veggie and plant-based recipes for babies, toddlers and the whole family! However, before we get posting recipes, we thought we’d start right at the beginning… weaning!
Whether you’re planning to raise your child vegetarian, vegan, carnivore, or anywhere in between, weaning your baby with a variety of delicious, colourful vegetables will help instil healthy habits and a preference for these types of foods later in life. Those first tastes are so important, and nature just so happens to be absolutely full of the best variety of colours, vital nutrients, tastes and textures your baby needs to set them on their way.
As three mums, we know that feeding babies and children can be a crazy mixture of exciting, fun, frustrating, overwhelming, daunting, insanely tedious, hideously messy, and yet rewarding (pretty much all within one meal time). There is no time when these feelings and experiences are more heightened than when your little one is first starting on solid foods.
It is messy, it is a challenge, it can take a long time, and they’re not going to immediately love everything you put in front of them. But….. there are things you can do to ensure the best possible start for your baby and we’re here to help make that journey a little bit easier for you both.
Babies naturally love sweet tasting foods; just think of all that yummy sweet milk they’ve been used to for the past 6 months! As adults, most of us are used to eating lots of sweet foods, and so it is harder to detect the natural sweetness of many vegetables. So, if you start off by offering sweet foods like baby rice and sweet fruits, they are going to be less than keen to go back and try veggies afterwards!
By offering veggies of all different colours, your baby will learn to love a range of different tastes and textures. They’ll also be well on their way to getting a larger range of the vital nutrients that they need as different colours provide different vitamins and minerals!
So we thought we’d provide you with a list of veggies you can try during those first 2 weeks of weaning (stage 1) and ones you can perhaps leave until a bit later when those first tastes have started to go down well (stage 2). We’ve included some fruits here too just so you can start thinking about all the beautifully colourful fruits and veg you can use when you feel like getting creative and blending your own delicious fruit and veg purees!
For more info on weaning, visit our ‘Weaning
Stage 1 – This usually refers to the first couple of weeks of weaning until your baby is ready to progress to two and then three ‘meals’ a day.
For baby-led weaning: Soft vegetables and fruits (mostly veg!) should be washed and sliced into fingers. Harder veg should be steamed to soften before being offered in chucks and slices big enough to grab.
Pureeing: Steam until soft (if not naturally already soft), then puree with a stick blender and mix with milk of choice (preferably breast or formula) to form the right consistency for spoon feeding.
Stage 2- Alongside the introduction of proteins and some grains, our list suggests some other fruits and veg that can now be introduced slowly. These include the more acidic citrus fruits and berries that may cause reactions in some babies, so should be offered individually and with some caution. Here, you’ll also find veggies that are stronger-tasting and/or more difficult to digest.
Ok, so that is a bit of a whistle-stop tour of weaning, but the basic message is “look at all these wonderful veggies nature has provided that we can feed our babies to set them on the right track!”. Delicious!
Offering lots of different colour fruit and veg shouldn’t stop after the first few weeks of weaning….. Every day, meals should be packed full of lovely veg. Making veg a normal and important part of your child’s plate really will help them learn to love their greens (and reds and oranges and yellows and purples!).
Consistency is the key. Did you know…. It can take 10-15 times of trying before a baby can learn to love the taste of some veggies!? Keep going, keep going, keep going!
Through our recipes on this blog, we’ll be sharing with you fun ways to incorporate lots of these lovely fruits and veggies into every meal. Below is a little idea for rainbow roasties that are great as a stage 2+ puree, a base for soup or a pasta sauce. Make lots and freeze in batches to grab for when you don’t feel like peeling, chopping, slicing and cooking!