A variety of tastes and nutrients are key for your baby
Your baby needs a wide range of nutrients to support all the exciting development that’s going on, such as calcium for normal bone development, and zinc for growth and tissue repair. Some of the nutrients they need for healthy development can be hard to get from foods. These include vitamin D, which helps absorb calcium, omega 3, an essential fatty acid and iron to help support brain development.
No single food can provide all the goodness that your baby needs, which is why offering a variety of foods from the main food groups is so important. Your baby's diet, both food and milk, is required to fuel all the super-charged growth and development that's happening before your very eyes.
Forming healthy habits for a lifetime
The food you give your baby during weaning influences their eating preferences for years to come.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see why a wide variety of healthy foods, particularly vegetables, is such an important part of the weaning experience. Clinical studies have shown that we're naturally designed to love sweet foods and reject bitter foods like veggies. However you can given your little one a healthy head start by exposing them to bitter tasting veggies at the start of weaning. Scientists think that weaning with single vegetables in this way really can shape their taste preference for life.
Our top tips for adding variety during weaning:
• Start by serving up one new vegetable at a time, to give your baby a chance to recognise and love each simple flavour
• Repeat. It can take up to several attempts for a baby to like a particular food. So if they refuse something at first, keep trying, don’t give up, try another time.
• Offer lots of positive encouragement and praise when they try something new.
• Try some simple food swaps that have different tastes and nutrients. You could swap cod for salmon, sweet potato for normal potatoes, butternut squash for carrots, or broccoli for cauliflower.
It’s best to go at your baby’s pace, giving them plenty of time to touch, squeeze, throw and finally taste that new food!
A variety of weaning recipes for easy mealtimes
Our weaning recipe section includes lots of healthy, tasty meal ideas for any time of day. With recipes for every stage of your baby’s development, they’re great inspiration for serving up the variety of tastes your growing baby needs. If you're not sure where to start, our 5 step weaning plan will come in handy!