Why it’s okay to feed your kid spicy foods — and how to do so safely

Babies’ meals can be quite bland.

Many parents avoid strong flavors, anything too spicy, or anything too harsh, preferring instead to eat items they consider to be “safer.”

But there’s no reason why you can’t spice up your child’s food – and doing so in the proper way could even help them develop a more experimental palate.

Spicy foods should be avoided by very young newborns since they can irritate their digestive systems. Experts believe that mild herbs and spices are a great addition from around six months, or when the infant is ready for solid meals.

Melissa Bath, the inventor of the breakthrough food brand Short Eats, is enthusiastic about this.

‘Because my mother is from Trinidad and my father is from Sri Lanka,’ Melissa tells Metro.co.uk, “our store cupboard, fridge, and table were in a constant movement of color, texture, and culture.”

‘Growing up, I was always conscious of how fortunate I was to be surrounded by such a variety of exotic foods, but I was also aware that access to this type of food was limited. I made a goal for myself early on to make this food more accessible and convenient.’

Melissa is launching a new campaign, Battle The Bland, as well as a line of baby food inspired by Sri Lankan cuisine and nutritionist-approved.

‘This launch is the most significant goal I’ve ever set in my professional life because, if it succeeds, I believe it will dramatically transform the eating habits of an entire generation—no pressure, right?’ she says.

‘We reside in London, which is one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities. Every minute, new fascinating, inventive, and evolving businesses emerge, yet when I consider the baby food options, my heart breaks for them.

‘This industry is stuck in an old, outdated state. Unimaginative food, dull colors, and a lack of experimental ingredients.

‘A parent must choose between convenience and flavor; you cannot have both, and there is nothing crazier than a vegetable moussaka.’

So, why hasn’t this supermarket aisle changed much?

‘Because the target age group can’t properly describe their food processing thoughts,’ Melissa continues, ‘there was no actual reason to modify.’ ‘Unfortunately, the kid’s range can be considered an afterthought.

‘Babies can and will eat anything, toddlers begin to make their own food choices, and by the age of six or seven, their taste buds have fully developed.’ Any possibility of getting rid of the weeds will necessitate some hefty lifting.

‘We want to nurture them as seeds.’ We provide kids the right tools to make healthy, balanced, and adventurous decisions as adults by encouraging flavor seeking today.’

‘There is a distinction to be made between hot spices and aromatic spices. Aromatic spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, turmeric, ginger, coriander, dill, and cumin are absolutely safe to introduce to toddlers after six months, according to pediatric gastroenterologist Dry Inca Santa.

Dr. Inca advises that you try fragrant items first when introducing solid food.

‘We live in a world where we believe that baby foods must be bland, but this is not true,’ they continue.

‘However, I would not say the same about spicy dishes in general. The heated part isn’t a taste, but rather a stimulation of pain receptors, and children may have a stronger and unique reaction to it, potentially leading to an aversion.’

Dr. Inca explains that spicy hot foods stimulate pain receptors on the tongue and in the intestine.

‘If we look around the world, there are many South American countries that eat a lot of spicy foods, and many Asian countries that give it to children at a young age,’ explains Dr. Inca. ‘Spicy foods are introduced early in some countries or cultures, and they are consumed frequently – every day, twice or three times a week. Most children eventually become tolerant of various levels of spiciness.’

‘There’s a misconception that spice is dangerous for kids,’ Melissa explains. ‘I’d have to fight this with every fiber of my being.’ Spice in your child’s meal can be delicious, but it can also be dangerous.

‘The key factor of diversity, i.e. eating a range of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and spices, is the key factor of gut health and beneficial bacteria.’ When you combine all of these ingredients, you get a great combination that helps with digestion, concentration, and mental wellness.

‘All of our recipes are built around this basic premise, and important spices like turmeric, curry leaves, cumin, and fennel are roasted, baked, and seasoned into every dish we prepare.’

How can you safely spice up your child’s diet?
‘With so many of us pressed for time and (sometimes) imagination, here are some great flavor injecting tips,’ Melissa explains.


A tablespoon of cumin seeds, a tablespoon of fennel seeds, and a handful of fresh curry leaves are lightly toasted.

Blend and store in a small saucepan once it has cooled. This store-bought combination may change any dish with just a sprinkle of it. It’s great for roasting vegetables, garnishing soups, and adding to casseroles.

Consider the texture.
Every food should have some texture. Prawn crackers, poppadum’s, or croutons might be used to achieve this.

Each of these foods has its own distinct flavor and hints at something fresh and interesting.

Not mush, but mash
Overcooking is common in infant food, which is partly owing to our fear of choking. However, do not deprive your nerves of nutrition.

Simply slice your vegetables into small enough pieces to mash with a fork.

Okra, spinach, and gelatinous fibers such as chia seeds, flax seeds, and aloe Vera are all good choices because their inherent components make them easier to digest.

Kick exotic
Once a day, utilize a ‘kicker’ substance. Whether it’s a pinch of ginger, a squeeze of lime, a cardamom pod in oatmeal, or a sprinkling of cinnamon in hot chocolate, there’s something for everyone.

These little bursts of flavor may appear insignificant to the meal at the time, but when repeated over time, they produce confident flavor seekers who will undoubtedly be up for anything as adults.

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