Getting more adventurous!
As your baby moves a few steps closer to enjoying family meals, you can start to mix up the menu but bear in mind that your baby’s needs are very different to an adult’s.
Even though your baby’s tastes might be getting a little more grown-up and they can now cope with quite chunky food, most adult foods aren’t appropriate for them as they contain too much salt, sugar or fibre. Offer a wide variety of foods - cereal and dairy at breakfast, plenty of protein and vegetables for their main meal and fruit and dairy for dessert. This will help provide a good balance of the vitamins and minerals, proteins and fats they need to help them grow. Avoid high levels of salt as babies should only have 1g of salt per day (one average digestive biscuit contains 0.3g of salt, or just under one third of your baby’s daily allowance).
Introducing more chopped textures and bigger pieces will help continue the development of their chewing skills and speech muscles.
Breakfast cereals and meals in lumps are a great way to start as your baby moves onto a proper chewing movement, rather than just squishing their food around their mouth. Giving them finger foods like fresh fruit pieces, strips of vegetables or cubes of cheese will also help them continue to develop their hand and eye co-ordination.
At this stage, it’s important to introduce your baby to more complex recipes that combine different flavours, as well as herbs and spices. It can be as simple as adding a sprinkle of oregano to their spaghetti.
Foods like spaghetti bolognaise, vegetable casseroles, mixed fruit desserts, and fruity breakfasts will encourage them to grow to love a healthy variety of food in the future.