Friday, December 19, 2014

Spices in BLW

The other day I heard of a friend who had been making purees for her baby and was wearing herself out with all the prep work. She said she was hesitant to try baby led weaning because she uses a lot of garlic in cooking and didn't want to just share her dinner with baby.

I did my best not to respond with sarcasm or annoyance, but it was kind of a struggle.

I couldn't understand where she got the idea that she shouldn't feed her baby real food simply because it contained garlic... Maybe pediatricians are pushing bland, mushy, texture-less, flavor-less foods because of all the allergies they see. Or maybe people just genuinely believe that babies LIKE bland, texture-less foods. Or, I don't know what. It's bizarre to me. 

Garlic doesn't hurt babies. There's nothing unhealthy about garlic. In fact, garlic has all sorts of immunity boosting properties! My baby loves things flavored with garlic, and I really don't think she's all that unique or even a super-human eater (okay, I kind of do think that...). 

According to the baby led weaning cookbook, as soon as babies are ready to start solids (any time after six months of age, for healthy babies who were born full-term!), they are ready to have spices included in their food. We have followed that guidance ever since we started BLW with Charlotte. 

Here are some things I use: 

1. Cumin and chili powder: I include both of these delicious spices when I make tortilla soup. Charlotte LOVES tortilla soup, which we give her without the broth so she can pick up all the pieces. (P.S. Try this recipe! It is my favorite soup of all time!)

2. Curry powder: the BLW cookbook has a wonderful recipe for butternut squash soup and it includes about a teaspoon of curry powder. The curry brings out a delicious taste in the squash and Charlotte will devour this soup like her like depends on it.

3. Garlic powder, paprika, and ground pepper: yesterday I baked a whole chicken in the crock pot and seasoned it with ground pepper, garlic, paprika and a tiny bit of salt*. The chicken was moist and delicious. After I sliced the chicken and gave Charlotte a couple of pieces on her tray, I put a tiny bit more salt on my own chicken. She didn't miss the salt in her serving, though; she ate the entire portion and made noises requesting more. ;) I'm giving credit to the garlic, paprika, and pepper.

4. Cinnamon: I love sprinkling cinnamon on roasted sweet potatoes. This is actually one of the side dishes I cook most frequently and Charlotte is a big fan. Cinnamon brings out the flavor of sweet potatoes really well! 

*As I mentioned previously, salt isn't good for young babies (because their bodies can't process it the way adults' bodies can). I very rarely add salt to my cooking and I have started to avoid foods that already have salt added. 

However, babies don't necessarily want bland foods any more than adults do.  Spices add great flavor to foods! They make the eating experience much more enjoyable and help babies to grow accustomed to trying new things, textures, and flavors. Don't be afraid to try BLW and please please please don't be afraid of using a little bit of spice! 

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