Saskia-Sorosha’s two daughters, a one-year-old and a three-year-old, are both lucky girls. Saskia makes almost all of her baby food herself, sourcing fresh ingredients from farms near their home in Westchester County, New York. The results were so positive —- happy babies ate almost every vegetable under the sun —- that Saskia was inspired to share her baby food mixes with other families.
Soon after, Saskia launched her own line of baby food —- Fresh Tummy. She continues to use seasonal, organic and local ingredients to create what she believes are the best and most intense flavors. Fresh Bellies launched at local farmers’ markets, but demand has already begun to boom and local grocery stores are now carrying the brand. Another sign of Fresh Bellies’ uniqueness: the puree is found in the frozen section of the grocery store, as Saskia skips any kind of preservatives.
I have personally tasted several of the Fresh Belly flavors and they are really delicious —- They taste exactly like the best versions of the fruits and vegetables used to make them. I also like Saskia’s philosophy about feeding babies. She believes that babies should be encouraged to try a variety of foods, including vegetables, which many people consider “challenging. Her mixture never mixes fruits and vegetables because she wants to help babies learn to like vegetables straight away, a preference that will hopefully continue as they get older.
I asked Saskia to share her five best ways to encourage babies to become adventurous eaters. Here are her suggestions:
1. praise deliciousness
Humans are born with a sweet tooth. How can babies learn to enjoy the true taste of vegetables if we always hide them under layers of fruit sugars? One of the best ways to raise adventurous eaters is to celebrate the earthiness of vegetables and let the fruit be the fruit. Serve them separately and save them for Halloween in disguise!
2. Serve the rainbow
It’s all about the vegetables. With so many bright and delicious vegetables, there’s no need to stick to your usual suspects like sweet potatoes or carrots. Try bold flavors like Swiss chard, bell peppers, or beets. Remember, from the moment your baby starts eating solid foods, you’re training their palate to adapt to a variety of colors, flavors, and textures. The bolder the taste, the richer their palate will become. If possible, try buying fresh ingredients. Nothing reaches its pinnacle of flavor like the flavor you get from seasonal products.
3. Add interest
Why teach your baby to eat tasteless foods? Use less sugar or salt, and there are many kinds of flavorings you can use to make your baby food more vibrant. Don’t be afraid to use thyme, rosemary, basil, cumin, garlic, green onions and anything else you find in your kitchen that will add a healthy flavor to your baby’s food. Add a little olive oil, by the way. These are nutrient-dense ingredients that will make your baby food taste like a flavor explosion. Remember: real flavor = real food = adventurous eating. 4.
4. Don’t give up
Just because your baby spits up radishes three times doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause. Often times, babies need to taste new flavors several times to get used to them. If the radish falls on the floor on the first day, give it a few days to try again. Your baby may on the second or third (or fourth!) Identify the taste try to recognize that it is, after all, just good food. Never force your baby to eat something she rejects, but don’t give up on food or your baby either. Food and babies are a human kaleidoscope of exploration and taste formation (movie).
5. Be adventurous!
If your baby doesn’t have any severe food allergies, then try different flavors just like you want your baby to with food. Learning to love food early on paves the way for a healthy lifestyle. It sets the stage for a positive relationship with food and a deeper understanding of the role food plays in our lives: to enjoy nutrition.
Saskia hopes to bring fresh belly products to stores across the country. To learn more about the company and watch a video of Saskia sharing her vision for raising healthy, adventurous eaters, check out the brand’s recently launched Kickstarter campaign.
Jenna Helwig is the food editor for Parents magazine and author of Real Baby Food: Simple, All-Natural Foods for Your Baby and Toddler.