It's one of the first (and only!) rules about weaning: Don't feed a baby under 12 months any added salt. Babies only need about 0.4g of sodium per day (that's 1g of salt!) to meet their nutritional needs, and any more of this risks wreaking havoc on their under-developed kidneys.
'I just feed my baby whatever I'm having, minus the salt!' Most mums tell us. But your baby needn't suffer a year of bland, uninteresting food. In fact - it shouldn't! Because what a baby eats in its first 1000 days informs its food preferences for life. Yup!
Salt wakes up the flavour in food. It balances tastes and releases smell and and taste - by mirroring what it does using other foods, it becomes super easy to create some truly wonderful tasting meals that pack a punch. Simply follow the steps below!
Step 1: Stop Focusing on the 'No'
When feeding your little one, it's tempting to think about what you can't feed a baby. Honey, Sugar, Salt...all of a sudden, you're starting to wonder what can I feed my baby! Sound familiar? Start focusing on all the beautiful things your baby can eat - and how to make their plate as beautiful and tasty as possible.
Step 2: Take a Walk Through the Spice Aisle
OK, so maybe you only shop online these days (I mean, who can actually face walking into a store with a baby in tow?!), but type 'spice' into the search bar of your online grocery, and you'll see so many options beyond salt. And the best part? Aside from hot chili, nearly all are safe for babies to eat. Try incorporating herbs and spices into your baby's food to excite the palette and make food more exciting and interesting (we bet they'll love it!).
Step 3: Use Foods that Are Naturally 'Salty'
Nature is pretty amazing. There are some fab foods out there that have a naturally 'salty' taste - which pack a punch for flavour, without adding any unnecessary sodium. These include: eggs, beetroot, chard, celery, artichoke, arugula and lemon. And all are safe for babies age 6 months and older!
Step 4: Think 'Replacing,' not 'Omitting'
It's a slight mental shift that can have huge impact on taste - rather than thinking about 'cooking without salt,' you start to think about what you can add in to replace the salt. Herbs, salty veg, aromatics - all pack a punch and make food fun and tasty.
You wish for your family to live a vibrant life - and so the food your baby eats should reflect that, too. Choose foods that will play with all of your baby's senses - it will not only get them excited about what they're eating, it will help them become a more adventurous and confident eater overall!