Can Babies Eat Spicy Food?
One of the things that sets Little Foodie Club’s baby food purees apart from other brands is our use of herbs and spices to season our baby food blends. After all, why should babies eat bland foods without any flavor?
But we’re often asked the question: is it ok for babies to eat herbs and spices?
The answer is a resounding yes! But it is important to use the right type of spices and the right amount in baby food flavors.
Experts agree. Dr. Anca Safta, pediatric gastroenterologist, director of endoscopy and assistant professor at the University of Maryland, told Live Science that there’s a difference between hot spices, and aromatic ones.
“Aromatic ones — such as cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, turmeric, ginger, coriander, dill and cumin — are perfectly fine to introduce to children, even in infancy after 6 months,” she said. “When introducing solid food, one should go ahead and try especially the aromatic foods. We live in a society where we think that baby foods have to be bland, but really you don't have to do that.”
This was echoed by Vandana Sheth, RD, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, who added that introducing spices to babies is a good idea. “We want to try a wide variety of herbs of spices — not only are they adding flavor, they're also providing an antioxidant punch,” she said. “Using a variety of spices to make food taste good will expand the child's palate, and also cut down on the sugar and salt that we often use to make foods taste better.”
SAFE HERBS AND SPICES FOR BABIES
- Turmeric – This spice acts a potent anti-inflammatory. It has bitter notes so goes well with sweeter vegetables such carrots or sweet potato.
- Rosemary – This aromatic herb is a powerful antioxidant and contains antibacterial rosmarinic acid. It goes wonderfully with lamb but also fall fruits such as apples and pears.
- Cumin – This warming spice is great for digestion. It is a perfect accompaniment to cauliflower, chickpeas or beetroot.
- Thyme – A Mediterranean herb, thyme is known to have antibacterial properties that can help fight infections. Use this herb alongside roasted vegetables.
- Curry – Babies in India are introduced to curry flavors pretty much right away. Blend this spice mix with coconut and sweet potato for a delicious baby curry.
SEASONINGS TO AVOID FOR BABIES:
- Salt – It’s important to avoid adding salt to baby food because their tiny kidneys can’t process it.
- Sugar – Sweet in taste it offers zero nutritional benefits and does little more than to teach babies to love sweets.
- Honey – This should be avoided in the first year as it can cause infant botulism.
- Chilli – The heat can be a bit much for babies so it is best to err on the side of caution.