Good afternoon! Just popping in with a quick post despite a hectic week.
Between having a cold, and the appearance of four (yes four!) new teeth, Tyson has been a bit out of sorts. As a result, my usually hungry and un-picky baby is suddenly showing some serious dislike for certain foods. Namely, beets.
Beets are normally a hit with Tyson. I was pleasantly surprised that he loved their earthy flavour right from the beginning. And it is super funny that he gets bright pink lips and a messy face when he eats them.
But this week beets are out. Tyson wants nothing to do with them. He will take one bite, but after that when he sees the spoon with the bright pink puree coming towards him and he whines and clamps his little lips shut. Ugh – kind of frustrating when I have taken the time to puree a whole pound of beets that we received in our Front Door Organics box.
Tyson is still getting a lot of nutrition from breast-feeding, especially when he is feeling under the weather – he seems to want to breast-feed more often. So I’m not worried that he is missing out on the vitamins and nutrients in the beets and other veggies that he doesn’t feel like eating right now. What I am I concerned with is keeping up Tyson’s exposure to a variety of distinct flavours, even when he is sick, so that his taste buds continue to develop. Plus, I don’t want to waste these beets!
I read an article recently that talked about using the technique of “flavour layering” as a strategy for learning to like new foods. Basically, it involves “layering” a little bit of the flavour you don’t like with another complimentary flavour or flavours that you do like. For example, I’m working on learning to like Dijon mustard (since a lot of recipes contain it, and I’m sick of gagging on Dijon-based salad dressings at restaurants). So I add a little bit to my home-made salad dressings – just enough that I get a slight hint of it, but not enough that I don’t want to eat the dressing – especially once I put it all over a yummy salad. The idea is that your taste-buds will predominantly taste the flavour you do like (in my case, the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and fresh herbs) and you will expose yourself to the flavour you don’t like just a little bit – training your taste buds to get used to it over time.
Mixing together flavours of baby food is nothing new – parents do it all the time to mask the flavour of something their kids don’t like, just to get them to eat it. In fact, I’m sure down the road I will be pureeing veggies and throwing them into all sorts of things to make sure Tyson eats as many veggies as possible.
However, my advice for flavour layering at this stage of feeding your baby is not to add too much of the “good” flavour in order to mask the offending flavour completely, but rather enhance it with something complimentary that brings out the unique flavour of the disliked food.
(I created a logo for my Babies Heart Real Food series, as opposed to putting it in the title. How do you like it?)
Which brings me back to the beets. For this particular “flavour layering” experiment, I was inspired by a recipe I tried and loved about a year ago – Gena’s Beet Granola recipe. Yes, you heard me correctly – Beet Granola! Jon thought I was a bit insane when I made this, but I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to food so when I saw this recipe I thought to myself “I love beets, I love granola – I have to try it”. Anyways, it might not be for everyone – but what stood out about this recipe was the joining of beets and cinnamon. I had never tried this combination and honestly, it was so, so good. I think you know where I am going here. Seeing that cinnamon also goes well with apples, I thought I would throw some applesauce into the mix for another layer. And what I created was delightful!
Beet, Apple and Cinnamon Puree
Prep Time: 3 minutes (assuming the beet puree is already prepared)
Cook Time: N/A
1/3 cup beet puree (see here for details on pureeing your own baby food)
3 Tbsp of apple puree or applesauce
a sprinkle of cinnamon
1. Mix beet puree with apple puree or applesauce.
2. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Obviously you can play with the amounts to make it more or less beet-y depending on your baby’s preference. Then the next time you make it, add a little less apple. And less the time after that. Pretty soon all you have left is beets and your baby will be loving them. That’s the idea anyways.
(I hope you don’t mind the iPhone photos. Usually, that is all I have time for in the middle of feeding a hungry baby!)
Tyson gobbled this right up. He is a beet-hater no more. And to be honest, I was eating it up too, it was that good. So for all you adult beet-haters out there, perhaps you should give this a try as well?
Hopefully this post will encourage you to start introducing some unfamiliar flavours to your baby with the goal of exposing them to as much variety of real food as you can during this critical period in the development of their palette. They will thank you for it later as they will have so many wonderful and tasty foods to choose from!
Off to cuddle a sick little boy!
What foods did you used to hate but now love? What helped change your mind/palette?