Give your little one the best introduction to food by weaning with veg
When babies start on solid foods their palates are receptive to new flavours. This makes it a great opportunity to introduce a range of different veggie tastes and textures so they learn to love veg from the outset.
By trying a different vegetable every day during the first two weeks of weaning little ones can explore a variety of tastes. In fact, existing scientific evidence indicates that repeated exposure to vegetables, offering a wide variety of vegetables and introducing vegetables as first foods during complementary feeding can increase acceptance of these in early life and childhood.
Research by Ella’s Kitchen found that only 36% of UK parents currently wean predominantly with vegetables during the first two weeks. With the World Health Organisation (WHO) citing childhood obesity as one of the most serious global – and local – public health challenges of today, it’s important to give children the best possible start to their diet.
And don’t forget it can take up to 10 tries for a little one to enjoy a new flavour — so don’t give up if they reject certain veg. Here are our top tips to help you on the way to veg weaning success:
- Try beginning with single cooked vegetable purées so baby gets used to the flavours of vegetables one at a time.
- When your baby has accepted some single veg tastes, try introducing a few veg blends to broaden their palate and get them used to a variety of flavours. Try giving your little one these popular veggie combinations to start them off:
- Pumpkin, broccoli and sweetcorn
- Carrots, peas and kale
- Squash, sweet potatoes and parsnips
- Peas, broccoli and potatoes
- Sweet potato, broccoli and carrots
- Most babies know when they’ve had enough to eat so follow their lead. If they turn their head away, spit out their food or push away a bowl or spoon they’re telling you they’ve had enough.
- Encourage your baby to hold a spoon as soon as possible – give them one to play with and they’ll soon learn the ropes.
- Eat together whenever you can to show little ones that mealtimes are sociable occasions.
- Pick a time to start weaning when your baby isn’t too hungry or too tired and don’t rush.
- When you start weaning, babies are still getting their nutrition from milk so don’t worry about how much solid food goes in. It’s more about getting them used to tastes and textures.
- Aim for the texture of runny honey or double cream when making your own veg purées. If it’s too thick, you can loosen the consistency with a little boiled water or your baby’s usual milk.
- If you have a family history of allergies such as eczema or asthma or any food allergy check with your doctor before introducing cereals containing gluten, eggs, fish and shellfish, nuts, soybeans, celery and celeriac, cow’s milk and other dairy products, mustard and sesame.
 Chambers L, Complementary Feeding: Vegetables First, frequently and in variety, 2016, Nutrition Bulletin, 41:p. 142-46
 YouGov Results/ ‘Veg for Victory’, Commissioned by Ella’s Kitchen, April 28 2016
 Information on childhood obesity, http://www.noo.org.uk/NOO_about_obesity/child_obesity, 2016