Putting a Little Spice in Your Baby’s Food: Best Practices


By Anjum Choudhry Nayyar
While most of us may already know that bland baby food, is not always better, the majority of pediatricians suggest holding off until an infant is 8 months or older to introduce spices.  The reason for this is to ensure your child doesn’t experience digestive upsets or suffer any allergy reactions.  Like most food introductions, most doctors will say to wait at least four days before introducing any other new food.   We spoke to renowned UK chef, and author of the world-wide best seller, Indian Superfood Gurpareet Bains about his suggestions for the most kid-friendly spices and how moms can spice things up without scaring off those picky eaters.

**Always consult with your baby’s pediatrician or physician to discuss the introduction of spices in his or or diet.

1.  What are the most kid-friendly spices?

A)     Spices that have a mild taste such as: nigella and mustard seeds.

B)     Sweet spices. These include: Cinnamon and Fennel seeds.

2.   How can moms add a little spice to family dinners without scaring off their picky eaters?

Imagine if you were from rural Japan and needed to acquire a taste for cheese. It certainly wouldn’t be an idea to start with a huge cheese board with many cheeses. Keeping this cheesy analogy in mind – minimize the use of garam masalas and curry powders.

Instead focus on making a tarka with onion, ginger and garlic etc. and a few whole spices at a time, so that kids and picky eaters develop a taste for individual spices one step at a time.

  • Always remove larger whole spices before serving a meal. An obvious one is to go easy on chilli.
  • Use less strong and bitter tasting spices –these include black cardamom and fenugreek seeds.
  • Make certain that you know how to cook with spices – otherwise you may end up with bitter tasting dishes.
  • Invest in a good cookery book!

3.      What are the health benefits of introducing new spices to kids?

Spices are the most antioxidizing foods available to us. More spices = less free radical nasties and diseases in your kid’s body!  Spices have also shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and Anti-cancer activities and thus have potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies and other chronic illnesses. Considering the recent scientific bandwagon that multi targeted therapy is better than mono-targeted therapy for most diseases, spices can be considered an ideal way to introduce kids to healthy eating effortlessly.

4.       Can you name a few recipes in your book that would work well for kids?

Try the ‘sweeter’ tasting dishes.

A few of these include:

Mango Chicken, Puy Lentil Dahl Soup, Chocolate Chicken Curry, Ginger-Infused

Yogurt with Honey and Pomegranate.

*This article is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your family physician before introducing anything new into your child’s diet.

About Gurpreet Bains:

His debut recipe book, Indian Superfood, was published by Absolute Press in July, 2010.

Gurpareet has been featured in nearly every major newspaper in the UK and India, in addition to receiving coverage from the ABC, BBC & CNN. He is a regular contributor to the BBC Asian Network and the Sunday Times.

Gurpareet has worked as a chef for the Mövenpick Hotel. He is based in London and Los Angeles.

For more information on Gurpareet Bains and his book, Indian Superfood, click here for our story.

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  1. nadia

    I’m planning on introducing my 5 month old to new foods and I was curious about spices in baby food. I figured I’d check out Masalamommas. Glad I did. Thanks for this article!

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