Bananas and rice be gone, baby's first food should be broccoli and spinach. 

 

Child nutrition experts at University College London are encouraging parents to introduce bitter vegetables such broccoli, spinach and cauliflower as their babies first solid food. 

 

They also say that baby rice and rusk, favoured by more than half of parents are too bland and a "missed opportunity" to avoid creating fussy eaters. 

 

Dr Clare Llewellyn and Dr Hayley Syrad, have found that the the best foods to be introduced to children at around six months are bitter vegetables, the very ones at are most commonly disliked by children. 

 

Dr Llewellyn and Dr Syrad have been research baby eating habits for over a decade and have published a book, Baby Food Matters

 

Even if babies reject the food at first, they encourage parents to be persistent. While giving babies new food, parents should offer smiles and praise- even pretending to enjoy them themselves if needed. Even if children turn away or spit out foods at first does not necessarily mean they don’t like them.

 

Because of evolution, babies are more disposed to sweeter flavours, like fruits and carrots. Back when we were all cavemen, sweeter foods contained the calories needed for healthy growth whereas bitter foods could signal that they're poisonous. 

 

 

"The most important thing when you introduce solid foods is to introduce the foods babies are more likely to reject," Dr Llewellyn explains. 

 

"If you introduce savoury foods, particularly the more bitter-tasting vegetables like broccoli and spinach which children often struggle with, or cauliflower which they are reluctant to eat, they are more accepting of those foods going forward.

 

"If you start with sweet, delicious-tasting foods like fruit, who could blame children for struggling to enjoy vegetables after that? Weaning is a chance to introduce children to new flavours, not to help them develop a sweet tooth." 

 

Children are most open to new flavours during the weaning process, with fussiness setting in around 20 months as they enter the toddler stage. 

 

Parents are advised to give babies a new vegetable every day for five days, then to rotate them for the next 10 days. They recommend steamed, mashed and pureed dark green vegetables and sour fruit like plums and cherries. Some vegetables to avoid are sweet potato, parsnips; while healthy options, they are too sweet. 

 

And it works. According to The Daily Mail,  German study of 49 mothers found that babies who where repeatedly feed a vegetable they didn't like, eventually choose to eat more of it. 

 

What do you think mums? Will you be swapping the carrots for cauliflower any time soon? 

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