Introducing spices to your children

Many parents feel unsure about offering highly spiced foods to their children, but it is possible to avoid the heat of chilli whilst enjoying flavoursome meals.

Introducing spices to children is a great way to help them develop their taste buds and expand their culinary horizons. They also have many health benefits, like reducing inflammation in the body (turmeric, ginger), improving blood sugar responses to foods (cinnamon) or helping to reduce allergic responses (rosemary).

Babies are born with a natural liking for strong flavours, however as they grow older many children develop increasingly 'bland' tastes if they are not regularly offered foods containing herbs and spices. If you are an adult who enjoys spicy food this can be frustrating, however there are ways to cook for the whole family at once whilst catering to everyone's tastes.

If you want to introduce spices to your family meals, start with small quantities and build up slowly. You can make your own portion more flavoursome by adding extra spices at the end or sprinkling over some sliced fresh chilli. Good choices for children are spices such as cumin, coriander or cinnamon which gently increase the complexity of a dish without making it 'hot'. Sweet and smoked paprika are also great ingredients to add to children's meals.

To increase the heat of your meals try gradually adding more chilli powder or fresh chilli - remember that the seeds are the hottest part so omit these at first. Accompany meals with yogurt or milk so your child has a cooling option available if they find the heat too much. Adding yogurt to a spicy dish also helps to reduce the heat while maintaining flavour.

If you like spiced foods and want to include more of them in your family's diet, why not try a Feed the Family recipe box subscription? Every month you will receive four family-friendly recipes along with the herbs and spices you need to prepare them. There are various subscription and gift options available in the shop.

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