Today I am going to show you exactly how to give your baby broccoli and why it is one of the best first foods for baby-led weaning! I am even going to talk about how to get your fussy eater to love broccoli! It is not an impossible task I promise you!
Over the past few years, I have received countless messages from parents telling me they just couldn’t get their child to eat broccoli. Using the tips and advice below I have helped them not only get their little ones to eat broccoli but to also love it too!
There are many ways to encourage your child to eat their veggies and I promise if you are struggling this is the post for you!
Let’s dive right in (to broccoli)
Why broccoli is one of the best first foods for baby-led weaning?
If you have been following my page for a while you will know that broccoli is one of my favourite veggies and for very good reason. Broccoli is one of the cheapest and best superfoods on the planet, in my personal opinion! Use your money on the superfoods grown on your doorstep instead of ones imported from faraway lands.
Broccoli is quite literally bursting with goodness from vitamin C, vitamin K to calcium and most importantly iron, which is necessary for the healthy growth and development of your baby. Broccoli also contains a little protein about 2.5g per 100g so you can really see why I call it a true superfood because it really is super! You can read more about the nutrition of broccoli on WebMD.
This year, I started a degree in nutrition and the more I learn, the more I fall in love with vegetables. The quicker you can get your veggies from the farm to your plate the more goodness you get from them. So locally grown is always best!
When can babies eat broccoli?
From 6 months + your baby can eat broccoli, providing it is squashable between your finger and thumb. Broccoli naturally comes with a perfect little handle making it one of the easiest first foods for baby-led weaning. Broccoli is one of the best vegetables for your baby to explore and because of its size and shape.
How to cut broccoli for baby led weaning?
Babies 6 months – 9 months
As the first food for baby-led weaning, cut the broccoli leaving as much of the floret stem as possible. This ensures that the florets are super easy for your baby to pick up and put to their mouth on their own. A broccoli floret like the ones shown above is the ideal size for a baby from 6 months.
Babies 9 months +
As your baby gets older they will develop their pincher grasp, this is where they are able to pick up smaller pieces of food using their finger and thumb. It is important not to give smaller pieces of soft food to your baby until this develops as it can be really frustrating for them to eat it. This usually develops around 9 months so try cutting the broccoli into smaller pieces and trying your baby with it. If they find it hard at the beginning mix it up with a regular larger floret and a few smaller pieces.
How do I cook broccoli for my baby?
For smaller babies starting weaning 6 months to 12 months old
- Steam the broccoli until you can squash it between your finger and thumb. The broccoli should be soft but not completely falling apart.
- If you are super nervous, slice the broccoli stem in half and try half at a time.
- Make sure your baby is sitting up, in their highchair, then place one floret in front of your baby and watch! Your baby may not put any in their mouth and for the first few times might just play with the broccoli, but eventually, they will get the hang of it. I promise!
Babies 12 months to 18 months
As your baby’s teeth grow and she becomes a better eater, you can cook the broccoli a little less. It shouldn’t be raw or crunchy and should always be safe! Cooking less will keep as many of the nutrients in the broccoli as possible.
Serve Broccoli with a vitamin C rich food
Broccoli contains non-heme iron which on its own is harder to absorb. To make it easier though, simply serve with a food rich in vitamin C, at the same meal. Serving a vitamin C rich food could simply mean a dessert of raspberries or sliced strawberries. When you give your baby these at the same meal your baby will maximise the amount of iron in their yummy broccoli.
How much broccoli is one portion?
There is no recommendation for portion sizes for babies under the age of 3, however, when your baby is starting weaning, a small floret is plenty for them. Remember your baby gets 75% of all their nutrition from milk so don’t overload their tray with too much food. Start with a small floret served with a portion of protein for example shredded chicken, homemade fish cakes or turkey meatballs, then if your baby seems hungry, offer a little more.
Go by your baby’s cues and trust that they know when they are full.
For children aged between 3-7 the recommended portion of vegetables is 40g. For adults, the portion size is 80g. Roughly speaking that is approximately a handful of broccoli based on the size of the actual person.
Why do kids hate broccoli so much?
Children have twice as many taste buds as us grown-ups which make them really sensitive to bitter tastes. Broccoli contains glucosinolate compounds which have a bitter taste and your child may just be really sensitive to them. It’s not your fault Momma! The bitterness naturally found in broccoli explains why it is one of the vegetables children most likely detest.
By giving your baby bitter tasting vegetables as their first foods for baby-led weaning, you will increase the chances of them liking those vegetables for life!
Then remain consistent and give broccoli to your baby every week. Even when you see them loving it and you are thinking of moving onto the next vegetable. Broccoli should be part of your weekly serving of vegetables for the entire family.
Familiarity is the key here. The more you can get your child to eat broccoli, the more they will love it. Check out my recipes for fussy eaters and don’t despair!
How do I get my kids to eat broccoli?
Did you know that children have twice as many taste buds as grown-ups which makes them really sensitive to bitter tastes? Broccoli contains glucosinolate compounds which have a bitter taste and your child may just be really sensitive to those compounds. This explains why broccoli might be one of the last vegetables your child will touch. Be consistent though! Not liking broccoli is a pretty common thing (just search Google to see what I mean).
This is really common and explains why broccoli is one of the last vegetables eaten an/or the one you will be consistently trying to encourage your child to eat. Your child just might not like it…yet!
Don’t despair though! There are ways to get your kids eating more broccoli without resorting to the broccoli song (been there, done that!).
Make broccoli fun!
I’m sure you just read that and instantly thought – yeah right there is nothing fun about broccoli. But, I kid you not! Broccoli can be made into a super fun food on a child’s plate and it will also help their amazing imagination. Try decorating your child’s plate with broccoli trees and mashed potato clouds, little peas for footprints, or you could try making a seascape like the one I used in my Salmon Fishy Nuggets.
Mix it up
Serve broccoli as part of a grouping of veggies. Frozen mixed vegetables are great for this as your child gets a portion of carrots, broccoli and usually cauliflower altogether.
Don’t just hide it
Sometimes it is o.k to hide vegetable, you might be having a stressful day and you’re thinking ‘I just want my child to eat broccoli’. Or maybe your child is super fussy and hiding them just seems easier. However, I would encourage you, even if you are hiding them, to add a full floret onto their plate too. It is a great way for your child to see what broccoli looks like and it really helps if you are eating it too.
Be a role model!
Yes parents, eat your broccoli! When your child sees you eating your veggies, they are way more inclined to eat them too.
A real foodie isn’t made in a day. Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes at LEAST 15 tries for your child to develop a taste for new food. Start on a Sunday, add a floret to their plate, see if they eat it. If they don’t that’s o.k. Do the same again on Wednesday, then perhaps on Friday, make a dish that contains broccoli, like these delicious fritters which you seriously will love yourself! Remember back to that thing of being a role model!. Let your little one know that it is made with broccoli and how delicious it is. Broccoli fritters are amazing and really great for lunchboxes too!
Try different ways to cook broccoli for kids
Steamed broccoli can be bland so try different ways of cooking broccoli. Stir-frying, roasting with some spices or if you are serving steamed try adding a cheesy sauce! This always helped clear plates in my house.
Best Broccoli Recipes for Babies
First foods broccoli
first foods for baby led weaning broccoli
Starting baby led weaning