The Best Veg to Start Weaning
7 min read
Starting your little one’s weaning journey with lots of tasty veg is a great way to get them excited about food and set them up with positive eating habits from the start!
Encouraging a love of veggies from the very beginning promotes healthy eating in later life and provides a range of nutrients your baby needs as they grow.
As great lovers of veg ourselves, here, we share why we love a veg-led approach along with some of our favourite veggies to explore when starting out with weaning!
Why Start with Veg?
There are lots of reasons to love veg - and plenty of benefits to starting weaning with some veggie-goodness!
Firstly, early introduction of veggies helps with your little one’s taste development. Studies have shown that offering veg from the beginning means your child is more likely to continue eating vegetables as they grow older, helping to encourage their life-long love of veg.
Another key benefit is the vital nutrients that vegetables provide. As your baby grows, they will need more nutrients from food. A variety of vegetables is the ultimate source of nutrients, providing your budding food with everything they need to develop.
Vegetables can provide your little one with:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
These all help promote healthy growth and development, making lots of veggies the ultimate superfood for your little one!
Getting Started with Veg-Led Weaning
The first two weeks or so of weaning offers a brilliant window of opportunity to introduce your budding foodie to lots of new flavours, starting out with green, bitter-tasting veggies.
When introducing those first tastes, it is often best to start with single tastes of just one vegetable. Try to offer a new, different vegetable every day - studies show your little one will be more receptive to new flavours in these early weaning stages so embrace this and offer tastes of as many different veggies as you can!
To start, you can combine veggie purees with your baby’s usual milk, to introduce just a hint of something new.
After the first two weeks, you can start introducing a wider range of flavour profiles and combinations.
Babease Top Tip
Don’t be discouraged if your little one starts by refusing lots of the veg you offer. New flavours can be overwhelming, and a refusal may not mean they dislike it but are instead surprised by the food.
They may just need a little time to get used to new flavours. It can take up (and sometimes more than) eight tries before new foods are readily accepted.
Bitter vs Sweet
As milk has a slightly sweet taste, babies are born with a natural preference for sweeter flavours. This is why many parents find no problem introducing sweet, fruity purees and have more trouble with bitter green veg purees.
Bitter flavours will take more getting used to, so many feel it makes more sense to start with these to give your little one time to adjust and spend a little more time on flavours that may not be so readily accepted.
For the first weeks of weaning, your little one will still be relying mostly on their usual milk feed - these first tastes are all about experimentation and trying things out, so don’t worry if they don’t eat much of the veggies you’re offering during the first few days.
The Best Vegetables for When You Start Weaning
So, which veg make the best options for the beginning of weaning? Here are some of our favourites:
- Green beans
There are plenty of options to experiment with here!
Dark, leafy greens like kale and spinach are also great sources of iron! Getting this key nutrient from food becomes increasingly important during weaning as your little one will start to run out of their natural iron stores at this age.
When your budding foodie has spent some time exploring these flavours, you can try moving onto sweeter-tasting veggies to add more variety and flavour experiences!
Some tasty veggies on the sweeter ender of the spectrum include:
- Sweet potato
- Butternut squash
As your little one gets used to the weaning process, you can continue offering a variety of foods and textures, showing them a wonderful world of food and letting them explore at their own pace.
No matter how you approach weaning, and which foods you decide to start with, remember that every baby and weaning journey will be different. Your little one will guide the process, so take things slow and have fun!
Weaning is an exciting time for little ones and parents, so try not to put too much pressure on offering the first foods - focus on creating enjoyable food experiences with numerous flavours that your budding foodie can have fun exploring!