The Benefits of Vegetable Weaning
5 min read
Here at Babease, we love veg-led weaning! In this guide, we show why vegetables are at the heart of everything we do.
Weaning is an exciting time for any parent. Introducing your little one to a world of exciting tastes is not only great fun for your little foodie but also sets them on their way to a positive relationship with food.
Why Weaning Should Start with Veg
There are reasons why you should introduce vegetables as early as possible, the main one being taste development.
All babies are born with natural preferences when it comes to taste. These include a favouring for sweet, savoury and salty foods. However, babies don’t particularly like any sour or bitter flavours. This natural preference is why babies enjoy apple purees but will sometimes turn down their greens at the beginning.
However, babies are incredibly quick learners! Giving your little one plenty of veg will allow them to get used to the taste, which means they’re more likely to eat vegetables as they grow.
Their future love of vegetables isn’t the only reason why you should treat your little foodie to vegetables, though!
Vegetables are Full of Nutrition
At the beginning of the weaning journey, babies will continue to get most of their nutrients from milk feeds (either breast or formula). However, as they develop – usually around seven months – they will begin to need more nutrients from food.
Vegetables are the ultimate one-stop-shop for nutrients! Iron is important for growing foodies, and vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and sweet potatoes are chock full of that and so much more.
Variety is Key to Weaning
This point is one of the most important for parents beginning their weaning journey! Introducing your little one to a wide range of flavours is not only fun and engaging but also important to help form future positive relationships with food.
Vegetables are great for weaning because there are just so many to choose from! Not only are there different colours and shapes but, crucially, there’s a wide range of tastes, including bitter and sweet flavours.
Developing Textures through Veg
Vegetables can be enjoyed throughout the whole weaning process. Thanks to their variety, different textures can be introduced as your little one’s eating develops.
During the first stage of weaning, your little one might prefer to eat pureed veggies. Then, as they develop through the weaning stages, you can introduce them to different textures like mash.
When to Start Vegetable Weaning
Public Health England recommends not starting the weaning journey until your baby is six months old. Waiting until this point allows your little one to develop so they can easily handle and digest solids.
However, all babies are unique, and when to start weaning won’t be the same for every baby. There are some signs to look out for, including:
- Swallowing food and not pushing it out with their tongue.
- Sitting up on their own and holding their head steady.
- Having hand-eye coordination, being able to look at and pick up food.
Some babies may show these signs before they reach six months, but the advice is to still wait until that age. On the other hand, some little ones may not show these signs for a few more months, which is perfectly natural. Waiting until your baby is ready will ensure the weaning journey is enjoyable for you and your budding foodie.
Vegetables can be introduced from the very beginning of the weaning journey. In fact, we recommend starting with veg to promote a healthy relationship between your little one and their greens!
The Best Vegetables for Babies
As we talked about above, there are many vegetables out there for you and your little one to explore! There are no rules when it comes to choosing which vegetables to try, although there are some recommendations.
At the beginning of the weaning journey, it’s best to serve one vegetable at a time, so your little one can experience the new tastes. Textures are often developed over time, starting with purees and moving onto lumpier vegetable meals. However, if doing baby-led weaning, you may want to start with more textured finger foods.
Broccoli is the ultimate weaning vegetable! This mighty green contains all the nutrients your little one needs, including heaps of vitamins, iron and zinc.
Broccoli is also great for weaning because it can be served in many different ways. Once boiled, you can blend it into a puree or simply serve as a floret for your baby to hold and chew.
Peas, like broccoli (and almost all vegetables), are also chock-full of goodness! They are known for their high levels of vitamins and minerals while also being a good source of protein and fibre.
These small but mighty greens are the perfect starting point on the weaning journey! They’re easy to boil and blend into a puree, while they can also be made into a mash as your little one gets more used to textures.
Sweet potatoes are another veg that is full of so much goodness for your little one. These orange veggies are full of fibre, vitamin A and vitamin C, along with iron and calcium.
As the name suggests, these potatoes are also sweeter than most veggies, making them more appealing for tiny tastebuds.
Carrots are a super nutritious option for weaning. This famous veg is one of the most prominent sources of beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant closely linked to vitamin A that provides a range of benefits. Carrots also contain iron, calcium and vitamin C.
As with the other vegetables featured above, carrots are incredibly versatile. They can be pureed, mashed or roasted or boiled as finger food for baby-led weaning.
Vegetables are a crucial part of the weaning process. With so many options available, it can also be enjoyable for your little one to experience so many new flavours. Plus, they’re super nutritious – that’s a win in our book!
If you’re looking for more weaning advice, our blog is full of helpful support.