As you may know we used Baby Led Weaning for Ben, partly to avoid the difficulty stage of coaxing a baby to eat lumps for the first time, partly to avoid me spending nights steaming, pureeing and freezing food and partly to ensure that he grew up tasting real food. Before I heard of BLW I planned to make my own puree’s the little jars looked scarily alike – baby risotto was identical looking to baby carrot puree etc… and I wanted to know what was going into my son.
BLW was great for us – we gave Ben the broadly the same food as us (we made some adjustments like making homemade stock to avoid oversalting our son) and as soon as he could make his opinions known he let us know that whatever was good enough for us to eat was good enough for him (adios chocolate covered digestives and crisps). He has a very sophisticated palatte for a toddler in my opinion, today’s lunch was a healthy mini turkey muffin (an adapted weightwatcher recipe of turkey mince, cous cous, spring onions and sage wrapped in parma ham and baked) with tomato’s and celery (and salad and ryvitas for my Mum and I).
As I was paranoid about giving a toddler partially cooked turkey I made him wait longer than he wanted, to calm his raging hunger I offered him a ryvita topped with low fat hummous. The strange side effect of him not having a dividing line between his food and adult food is a taste for diet snacks. My Mum laughed at the delighted yum noises from Ben’s little table and said that the other week when Ben had been around her house he helped them demolish a whole tub of hummous with some falafels.
My son loves tiramisu, falafel, hummous, onion bargee, poppadums and chutney, ryvita’s, chinese panake rolls, chinese fried rice, guacamole, sesame prawn toast, prawn crackers and generally the food that when we were little was considered to be too highly flavoured for a young child. He also tucks into his fruit and veg with more enthusiasm than I can muster.
Now obviously I can’t put this all down to BLW, when I was a child nobody had heard of falafel or hummous, and other than an indian or chinese take-away spag bol was as exotic as we got. Today children are exposed to tastes from all over the world; I remember treating new and foreign foods with fear and caution as an older child something that Ben has never done and hopefully Ciaran won’t do either. I do believe though that steering away from ‘children’s food’ with hidden vegetables and a bland comforting taste has set him up for life to enjoy properly flavoured food and hopefully to avoid the new food phobia that many of us had to conquer as we grew up (my better half for example refused to order fajita’s the first time he went to TGI Friday’s, they sounded too foreign for him, he now loves trying new food but it took a while to get used to taking a risk with new flavours).
The only downside of all this is that Ben has to feed himself without any interferance (the minute you ask if he likes something he’ll decide its “yuk” and leave the table) and the hoover see’s incredible amounts of action, on reflection mince and cous cous balls were bound to be a messy meal but I think it is worth it to know that my boy has varied and healthy tastes.
PS. My take on the muffins (mini pork muffins from the Weightwatchers winter warmers book) is that they are great and easy to make, but I am glad I didn’t add any extra salt, the stock cube and parma ham were salty enough for my tastes.