28 answers

Adding Flavor to Baby Food

Yesterday I wrote my sitter a note asking her recommendations on getting my 7 month old to eat babyfood. He is on 2nd stages and does not care for it. When I called her last night she said she put sugar in his sweet potatoes. I was a bit upset since I was asking for suggestions and she just went ahead and added it to his food. I don't want him getting used to sugar in his food at such a young age and have to break that later. Has anyone added sugar or stevia or salt to baby food or other condiments that have worked and how did it work out as the child got older?

What can I do next?

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I added salt substitute, real butter, white pepper (NOT BLACK as it can stop up the intestines) and stevia or xylitol or sugar to my little ones' food. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger too! My girls especially loved it when I put cinnamon in their oatmeal or applesauce - the ginger I would put in carrots or sweet potatoes, the nutmeg in rice cereal or vanilla custard. Salt substitute is what I used simply because that is what the rest of the family uses - we rarely use real salt and when we do it is sea salt. I put that and the pepper in their peas and green beans. No harm ever came of it and my children are all good eaters - not picky at all and they all enjoy a wide variety of tastes. Good luck to you!

I never thought about putting sugar on my baby's food but I used to give my babies both veggies and fruit at the same time. it was meant to be dinner (veggies) and fruit (dessert) but my babies were "brats" and refused to eat it that way I eventually started putting the veggies on the spoon first and then the fruit second the baby took the whole bite and didn't realise it. DANG I was inventing a new thing and didn't realize it (V-8 fusion LOL) worked like a charm!!!

Hi K.,

I would not add sugar. There is sugar in almost everything processed. My daughter did not like baby food either so I started her on soft solids at first. I tried lots of different foods until I found things she liked. You may have to experiment. Adding fruit is a good thing to introduce in to their diet.

More Answers

Hi K.,

I would not add sugar. There is sugar in almost everything processed. My daughter did not like baby food either so I started her on soft solids at first. I tried lots of different foods until I found things she liked. You may have to experiment. Adding fruit is a good thing to introduce in to their diet.

Maybe he's one of those kids who just jumps right to the next stage. My daughter ate by the book (or rather by what the jars say). My son hated baby food. Would not eat it. so we started giving him little bits of what we ate (mashed or smooched (ect.), but he loved it. Never ate the baby food again. My doctor told me it was ok, just not to introduce a bunch of new foods all at once (oh and we didn't add a bunch of seasoning while cooking). Some doctors wouldn't agree. I think you should talk to your doctor and get his/her advice. I would also tell your feelings to your sister. My mother is constantly doing things like that with out my permission. Sometimes I have to remind her that even though she is a good mother, I am the parent and I have my own way of parenting.

We are one of the few cultures on the planet that doesn't add spices or flavor to our baby food. I started adding cinnamon to applesauce and sweet potatoes. Sometimes ginger too. My daughter enjoys lots of flavorful foods now at 2 years old. She will practically drink hot salsa while her older brothers are afraid of it. She even likes the flavors of Thai food.

I'd recommend getting the book Super Baby Food because she'll teach you how to make baby food that your baby will eat - and it's cheap. She has great ideas on what to add for flavor, like ground up sesame seeds. It's incredibly healthy and tastes good too. Don't add sugar or salt - babies don't need that. That book will walk you through everything you'd ever want to know and it's a good read too! Good luck.

I wouldn't add sugar or salt to the baby food. Salt can't be good for a little baby, and if you start adding sugar now, then he'll expect it later on things like Cheerios and oatmeal. Maybe you should just change up what you give him to eat. Try mixing some rice cereal with vanilla yogurt, or rice cereal with applesauce. Or you can try giving him macaroni(cut in half) noodles or rice (only 2 or 3 grains at a time) with low salt chicken stock. Also, your baby is probably getting independant and wanting to feed himself some. Try the Gerber snacks they come in tubes and have different flavors, they are like little cereals, but they melt in the babies mouth, the babies can easily pick them up. I have a 9mo old son and he's been eating them since he was 6mo old. I buy the Wal-Mart generic brand, they're called Parent's choice Little Puffs, they came in a package similar to what Pringles come in. My older daughter ate them too (she's 3 1/2 now)All 3 of my kids liked eating these different things. I have 3 kids, 2 girls aged 5 and 3 1/2 and a baby boy 9mo.

I added salt substitute, real butter, white pepper (NOT BLACK as it can stop up the intestines) and stevia or xylitol or sugar to my little ones' food. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger too! My girls especially loved it when I put cinnamon in their oatmeal or applesauce - the ginger I would put in carrots or sweet potatoes, the nutmeg in rice cereal or vanilla custard. Salt substitute is what I used simply because that is what the rest of the family uses - we rarely use real salt and when we do it is sea salt. I put that and the pepper in their peas and green beans. No harm ever came of it and my children are all good eaters - not picky at all and they all enjoy a wide variety of tastes. Good luck to you!

Have you tried changing brands or making your own baby food? Once they hit stage 2, I really found that I would just mash up whatever we were eating and my kids did much better (and it's cheaper!!) At 7 months, I'd still stick to single item things until you know there is no adverse reaction. You know, the real deal -- mashed or baked potatoes, pasta, throw the veggies and fruits in the food processor and pulse just a few times instead of puree. If you're worried about getting all the nutrition, stick with the stage 1 he likes to fill out the menu, introducing the new, chunkier stuff a teeny bit at a time. Good luck!!

I had the same issue with my son (who is now almost 2) but I was breastfeeding & once I stopped breastfeeding, he started to eat more, but I really never got him on baby food. I tried adding applesauce to his cereal & I did A LOT of changing foods - cuz he would eat about 1/2 a jar & that would be it for a week or so. He ate a lot of soft "snacky" foods, & as he got bigger he ate more table foods. Even with that - he is now a really good eater & eats better than my 4 yr old - broccolli, meat, you name it. So don't get discouraged that this will damage his wants for food in the future. But I would definitely NOT add sugar or salt. Hope that helps a little. Good Luck!

First of all i would talk to your sister about what she did. This is your child and she should respect your wishes.

I would try adding a fruit that he likes. That way you get a natural sweetness.

Hope this helps,
B.

Hi K.,

You could have your sitter try giving your son small pieces of regular food- avocado, squash, banana, peas, etc... for him to pick up and eat on his own. This is a good indication that he is ready for solids. I can definitely understand how you would be upset with the sitter!

K.,

I would definatly not add sugar to my baby's food. But thinking of not wanting them to get used to it.... You would be shocked to find out how much sugar we are all eating. It's in everything, even bread! Some people think they are doing better by choosing sugar free, but those chemicals are even worse. My advice would be to start reading labels, and eat as whole as possible. Before you know it, your baby will be a toddler and the food that is marketed to them is full of sugars and trans-fats(partially hydrogenated). If you can't read it, don't eat it.

You may already do these sorts of things, but most people don't. I had no idea until two years ago when I had a major health crisis, and was dealing with children that needed a major diet change due to food allergies and autism. Now I do wellness education. It's free (I really want to help people avoid what I went through) and I am happy to help anyone along the path to a healthier diet. A lot of it just starts with awareness. Feel free to write me. Good Luck!

J.

When my son was starting on solids, he seemed to want more texture rather than the extra flavor. I'd add small grains (ground millet, oats, quinoa etc.) to it or even small curd cottage cheese (a little mashed up) and he'd scarf it down every time. You are right not to want to add sugar to his food, personally I'd try to avoid that. Good luck to you, hope this helps!!

I never thought about putting sugar on my baby's food but I used to give my babies both veggies and fruit at the same time. it was meant to be dinner (veggies) and fruit (dessert) but my babies were "brats" and refused to eat it that way I eventually started putting the veggies on the spoon first and then the fruit second the baby took the whole bite and didn't realise it. DANG I was inventing a new thing and didn't realize it (V-8 fusion LOL) worked like a charm!!!

how about just adding some of the sweet fruits like applesauce or pears instead of sugar???

I never added sugar or salt to anything...even now when my daughter is almost 2. I always mixed different foods together. Spinach and mashed potatoes, broccoli and cheese, corn and green beans. To sweet potatoes...I added cinnamon...it has enough natural sugars.

Hi K.,

You're right. Adding any sugar or salt to baby food is not a good idea. It takes children a while to get to "like" each and every new food. Persistence is the key. Also, keep meal times consistent (time, sitting in the high chair, etc).
I would also try giving him actual food, meaning, boil broccoli down to where it's very, very soft. Then cut it into very small pieces and have him mush it in his mouth. You can do that with peas, corn, carrots, etc. You can also try making your own baby foods (lots of work). One last suggestion...change baby food brands. Go to Whole Foods and try their frozen baby foods and see if that helps.

Good luck and definitely stick with no salt/sugar. You can try cinnamon or some dry spices (oregano, etc).

Let us know how you're doing.

i never relaly fed my boys baby food except for the bananas. i usually just took whatever we were eating as a family and blended it so there was never a problem with flavor. kids dont " get used" to sugar. the baby is going to eventually have it and that doesnt mean that he is gettingused to it or that its bad for him. i think that if you limit the amount of any thing , it is not bad. everyting in moderation. i think that i fyou give the baby a teaspoon of straight sugar, it would be bad. i dont agree with sugar in the potatoes but maybe flavor it with broth and a little seasoning. actually thier taste buds arent that developed that well jsut yet so if she sint liking his baby food it is probably the consistency or he is not hungry.

Do you have time to make your own baby food? It is a lot easier/quicker than you might think. I have used the So Easy system (basically a cookbook and ice cube trays) and it really is SO EASY! And the taste of the food...no comparison. Do a taste test yourself. The jarred food does taste so processed. If you use stuff like fresh, organic carrots and steam them yourself, you will be amazed at how good it tastes. You will not be able to stop licking your son's spoon! Also the So Easy book has ideas on what to mix with what, what spices to add, etc. You can start adding herbs and spices around 8-10 mos. Also, have you seen those net things that you can put stuff in to give to your baby? I forget what they are called, but you basically like stuff a piece of potato or whatever in there, and then the kid sucks it out. It's good for teething also. But they are hard to clean.

Either way, no salt or sugar!!

Good luck!

I have never added anything to baby food, and I would try a lot of different types and kinds of baby food. Also, it can take little ones a lot of trys before they realize they like something or not, so I would keep on offering food and not adding sugar or salt. Also, if your baby is ready for table foods, you can try offering those ( mashed friuts, steamed veggies, etc..)
Hope this helps!
A.

i think your initial reaction of not wanting to add anything - especially sugar is correct. Once a person especially a child gets used to sugar or salt it is hard to go back. I can remember my 10month old, who seemed to be well on his way with food, seemingly going off of all his favourites. I backed off for a while and then he can back with a vengence. He might just want a liquid diet for a while and he will come around but adding sugar or salt is not the way to go in my opinion.

some kids are just harder to feed than others. putting sugar in food for an infant is too weird. my first kid wasn't an eater so i gave him Gerber's apple carrot juice (i don't know if that is still around) later i found myself making soups(you can mash all those veggies and meats) once a week and freezing small portions. i did by a juicer and you can make anything in that. the key still at this age is one new food at a time for a week to check for allergies (sugar is a new food?)

at first i was having the same issue with my son 12 month old son. i notice that my son loves fruits so i started mixing his baby food with fruit and he loves it.

My son never ate baby food didnt like it, I put fruit smoothies in his rice cereal and he loved it, and i would make him fresh veggies and puree them and sometimes add some soup broth for flavor, he drank soy milk, then ate what we ate, black beans pureed and strained, pasta, soft meats like baby vienna sausages, ham. I am a first time mom and I threw away all the books people gave me because all kids are different and individuals and saying when they should eat what is just nonsense. My son is 3 doesnt like sweets except fruit and maybe plain vanilla icecream, eats every vegetable, beans, quiche, meats love to try foods I figured babys use their mouth to explore touch and taste and maybe babyfood just doesnt have any zing, wht do people think a bland diet for a baby is good, all those sweet juices and deserts. Babys want some zing! Ever tried rice cereal? Yuck! Happy to say at 3 my son is healthy, strong and already 3 feet tall and still growing. I always sat and ate with my son and still do. Baby mac and cheese tastes awful. I tried alot of the babyfoods myself and they all taste the same, fresh is better. A mini puree machine. I learned to eat better by cooking healthy for my son and us because we all ate together so I made one meal. Its not for everyone but maybe he will like it and mash potatoes- instant are always a winner. Good luck,

Oh my goodness! I would be so upset if a sitter was adding sugar to my baby's food. It's not her place to make that decision. Personally I wouldn't add salt or sugar to my baby's food.

My 8 and 1/2 month old was not happy about solid foods when I first started them. He would gag and turn away but now he's a good little eater. You mentioned that your son doesn't like sweet potatoes-- maybe try adding some pears to it because they will sweeten them up but it's just fruit so you're not adding unnecessary sugars. Butternut squash is naturally sweet and my son liked that from the get go. The Gerber Garden Vegetable is also slightly sweeter in taste. As far as the meats, don't give up. Just keep trying them. A lot of babies can take up to 14 tries with a new food before they'll accept it. From my experience, the Gerber meats and dinners were more palatable and the Beech Nut 1st and 2nd meats/dinners are a little chunkier which was not big with my son. I have also made it a point to always feed the least likable item at the beginning of the meal when he's hungrier so he'll be more likely to eat it and I give fruit last. I hope this helps!

I definitely never added sugar or salt to my children's baby food, but they also never really cared for it. I started making my own baby food because it was more flavorful and I felt it was more healthy for them. Once my children had teeth, I served them whatever we were eating, I just mashed it or put it in a little chopper to make the food pieces smaller. This is just a thought since he doesn't like the baby food.

Adding sugar to the baby food is not a good idea, sweet patatos are already sweet anyway. Adding sugar is adding poison not only for a baby but for any person. If he doesn't care for the food, try something else or wait another couple of weeks and try again. 7 month is still young, they usually love fruit. good luck

Hi K. ~
Your son is actually old enough to be eating what you eat, only a little more pureed. I have three boys and all three love food. My 10 month old loves it the most, though. He loves flavor. We feed him the soups that we make and eat with all kinds of smooth veggies and spike flavoring and REAL salt (not white table salt). He loves small chunks of foods.
You are absolutely right not to put sugar ni his foods. There is no reason for it. It is true that babies favor sweeter tastes...only because breastmilk is so sweet. But once they try other foods and have the chance to see you eating and enjoying foods, they will take to it well.
My son will eat carrots if they are in a soup base or pureed veggie base...but he will NOT touch the 2nd stages jars of carrots.
Believe it or not, my 4 year old has been eating tapatio salsa on his eggs for 2 years. He loves guacomole and spicy foods. His favorite cheese is jalapeno jack almond cheese. (lactose problems)
Just keep trying and he'll catch on. Don't force the issue, though. If he is not ready...there is nothing you can do about it. Forcing will only create longer lasting issues with food.
At his age you can be trying quinoa or rice....oatmeal with a little brown sugar is fine...he can eat cheerios now, too. Don't worry too much about the variety of foods is you are breastfeeding. Even if you are giving him formula. He is getting the nutrition he needs.
I have a friend whose son would barely eat foods, only formula. Now he is 1 year and is wanting to eat everything she has on her plate.
Good Luck and feel good that you are doing what is right for you and your son!! Enjoy him and enjoy your food.

My husband made all of our daughter's baby food until she was on solids. There are a lot of varieties out there in mother nature that are not in baby foods, so maybe your son just needs a little different variety. Katie's favorites were beets, turnips, parsnips, and other root veggies as well as berries. He would steam them and puree until a suitable texture then freeze in ice cubes trays as a single serving cube. Look in the frozen food section of the grocery for a wide variety of fruits. Also, try combining tastes. As for flavoring, he would flavor some things with vanilla (make sure to get pure and not the extract with alcohol) and other spices and flavorings. I agree about not flavoring with the sugar or artificial sweeteners.

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