New Research Encourages Bitter Baby Foods
- August 31, 2015
- by Melissa Lawrence
Hello moms and dads. Listen up for some surprising new research answering the perennial question: what should be my baby’s first foods?
Could an older child’s repulsion of broccoli and spinach have its origins in the foods she ate as a baby?
An article published in The Guardian on Sunday, entitled “Baby foods found too sweet to encourage variety of tastes in children,” cites new and important research that may hold the answer. Scientists studied a total of 329 baby foods from major manufacturers, resulting in some important findings. According to the article, the most commonly used ingredients in commercial baby food are apple, banana, tomato, mango, carrot, and sweet potato. That’s right. Spinach and broccoli have been pushed to the side by their sweeter counterparts.
Which makes sense. Humans are innately born with a sweet tooth and these large baby food manufacturers are taking full advantage. The sweeter food leads to a happier baby, and, subsequently, more sales. But the study of these brand-name products carried out at the University of Glasgow suggests that these “baby foods are probably too sweet to encourage children to eat their greens.”
To ensure that your baby becomes a lover of all types of fruits and veggies, Dr. Ada Garcia, the head researcher, encourages parents to “introduce their children to less palatable bitter tastes and keep offering them.” He adds that it is unlikely commercial baby food brands will help anytime soon by offering more bitter, and therefore less palatable, options.
So what can we do as parents? The article suggests starting your child on bitter tastes as early as possible, when infants accept these new foods and tastes more willingly than later on. Buying trusted brands of baby food in the grocery store can be a great option for parents with a tight schedule. Many different varieties, including organic baby food options, provide a wide array of sweetness levels and textures for your little one. Check the labels and be on the lookout for products offering more greens than sweet fruits, if possible. However, if you have the time, the article does encourage parents to offer home-cooked veggies to promote a wider range of tastes.
Personally, I was a big fan of making my own baby food when I started introducing solid foods to each of my five children. With homemade baby food recipes, you are in charge of what exactly is going into your baby’s system and can really get creative with fresh fruit and vegetable options. To help the parents out there, I have come up with some videos on baby food recipes, including one that can serve as food for Mommy, too, like my creamy cauliflower recipe! This is a great 2-for-1 meal deal. Don’t be afraid to try new vegetables and different combos either; you’ll never know what your baby will like until you do! And if you’re just starting the process and curious on how to introduce solid foods to an infant, watch my video here!
Offering a wide variety of tastes to my children was difficult at first. On more than one occasion I’d end up with spinach or other leafy greens on the high chair or knocked to the ground after my child refused to eat it. Some babies were a lot pickier than others, so don’t give up just because one baby won’t eat anything other than apple sauce. It will take some time and encouragement but you will thank yourself later when your child accepts even the bitterest of veggies!
Hope you enjoyed this little news piece.