While my 1-year-old son hated puree food, he loves to eat anything on my plate. When he started to sit at the table, he would forcefully demand to have everything I put in my mouth including all the weird food I ate. He loves texture, and he really loves tasty food, say, stinky cheese!
I eventually discovered he trusted my food choices for him when I would let him have a taste of "wild" (in baby food, anyway) and quite random food from my plate. In fact, he became a much more adventurous eater that feeding him never became a stressful experience.
So what "weird" and "wild" baby food did I feed him? Here's a tried-and-tested list of 10 foods -- and their benefits -- that my son has eaten so far.
Artichoke My son never warmed up to teething toys, and to be honest, artichoke saved me! My son would chew on a cooked artichoke until he was relieved of any gum pain, all the while eating up the artichoke mush! This is a really fun finger food because the petals are also the perfect size for a baby’s small hands. Artichokes are amazing for their antioxidant properties, folic acid, and vitamin K, which aid in brain and cognitive development.
Beets I give them to my son raw, steamed, or sometimes in puree form. Of course, I have quite a mess to clean because it is fun to throw around the kitchen, and I have a hell of a time getting rid of the red stain on his hands, but anything for the vitamins, right? These are packed with loads of vitamin C, vitamin B, and potassium.
Black rice, couscous, and quinoa My son absolutely loves these three. I think it's because of the texture because he swishes it in his mouth for awhile before he swallows! Black rice is known for its antioxidants. Quinoa and couscous are both wondrous for their protein, believe it or not! In fact, quinoa is considered to be a "complete protein," because it contains all nine essential amino acids!
Butter I cook all of my son’s food with butter; I hardly use oil. I know that butter gets a bad rap, but it is rich in "good" fats that a baby would need for growing a healthy brain (Besides, you only need tiny amount, after all.). P.S if you can get your hands on grass-fed butter, the better!
Cheese The French are known for having children that aren’t picky eaters. And based on books I've read, their secret is they feed cheese to their babies! I’ve tried all types of cheese on my son, from the stinky kind to the hard ones. He loves the stinkier ones most! It surprises me every single time but, hey, I love cheese too, and now I share that in common with my son. Cheese is abundant in calcium and vitamin B12. I would recommend giving the mouldier cheeses to baby after they have turned 1.
Hummus My stepfather is Turkish, and he first met my son when he was just 6 months old. That did not stop my stepfather, however, from giving him a teaspoon of hummus. As appalled as I was, I admired my son’s determination to get that sticky, yummy -- according to his face -- pudding-type stuff down. And he opened his mouth for more! Now my son enjoys hummus on a cracker or toast, and it’s a good source of protein, healthy heart fats, and loads of other vitamins and minerals!
Mushrooms Fresh mushrooms are the ultimate favourite food in my house, my 1 year old son included! Feeding your baby cooked mushrooms will give him loads of potassium (more than a banana), iron and fiber!
Okra Okra is a very interesting food to introduce to your baby -- some will hate it while others will love it. Just like us grown-ups, when I think about it. But they are such fun finger food for baby and have many health benefits such as vitamins B, vitamin C, and folic acid. Always cook okra before handing it to your baby.
Onions Onions are an amazing food to give baby as they contain loads of antioxidants. Mix in cooked onions bits with baby’s regular food for the best outcome -- just like you would eat it!
Spices Cinnamon, cardamom, saffron, parsley, and rosemary are just a few of the wondrous spices out there that have worked magic on my son. If you’re looking to flavor your baby’s food, spices add multitudes of health benefits and also advance your baby into becoming adventurous little eaters! Cinnamon is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, cardamom for digestive ease, saffron for its protection against the common cold, and parsley for its vitamins K and C. But don’t just stop there, take advantage of all the spices the supermarket has to offer, and just add a pinch here and there to baby’s food! You can check out some of the recipes I made here.
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A former beauty queen, Renee Rose Rodrigo is a US-certified holistic nutrition coach who is now living and working in the Philippines. Mom to 1-year-old Luca, she shares her lifestyle while discovering her roots at her blog Eurasian Rose.