Spice it Up: A Beginner's Guide to Introducing Spices to Your Baby's Diet

In Indian cuisine, spices are of utmost importance. They can make or break the dish.  
But there’s more to spices than just taste. They can be extremely beneficial for the human body and can do wonders for your baby’s health.  
However, when introducing spices to your baby’s diet, make sure to do it with caution. First, introduce solid food in the form of purees at the 6-month mark, and only when they are ready should you add spices to their diet.  
Here are some basic tips to get started:  
Start mild   

Spices like black pepper and garam masala are extremely strong - don’t start with those! Using milder ingredients like cumin, fennel, methi, garlic, and ginger is a good place to start. Once they are familiar with the taste and aromas of these milder spices, introduce the other spices slowly and carefully monitor their preferences and reactions. 
Do keep in mind that, in the first year, salt and sugar must be avoided completely! These ingredients can be harmful and lead to ailments such as juvenile diabetes and childhood obesity.  

Over-seasoning is not the way to go  

A child’s appetite cannot be compared to an adult’s. The seasoning you add should be proportionate to the quantity of food your baby eats. To begin with, just add a pinch of spices and see if your child is able to eat and enjoy their portion well.  
Plus, consistency is key. Keep the quantity of spices in your baby’s meals consistent. If you keep changing it up, they are going to react differently. Make sure to be consistent and increase spices with a very balanced approach.  

Find the best ways to include spices in meals  

Here are the tried and tested ways spices enhance flavour while retaining all their health benefits:  

  1. Grated garlic in soups and dal  
  2. Seeds like fennel and cumin can be added during the cooking process 
  3. Fresh herbs such as mint and coriander can be used for garnish and mixed with yoghurt and dal as well  
 Most importantly, introduce spices one at a time  
So you know what works in their diet and what doesn’t! The best way to go about it is to wait four days before introducing a new spice to their meals. It’s the safest way to ensure your baby won’t have an allergic reaction and you can keep track of their overall health.  
Spices can shape your child’s eating patterns and lay the foundation for a future of healthy habits! Make sure to create the right environment for them and introduce new ingredients with a positive attitude :)  

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