Bananas, sweet potatoes, and avocados often make the cut as the first foods for babies in the United States; many of us also kick off solids with baby cereal. But how about fish, seaweed, and peanuts? Check out the eclectic first foods parents in other countries feed their babies.To some of us, the things people around the world feed their little ones might seem strange or adventurous. (Some of the foods I don’t even have a taste for — but I’ll admit I’m a slightly picky eater for an adult.) But I think we can learn a thing or three about what others are giving their babies as first foods.
Babies in Kenya are often given sweet potatoes as a first food, in part to prevent vitamin A deficiency.
Japanese babies start out with a multi-course meal — their first solid food experience is a celebrated feast called Okuizome. Parents present their little ones with fish, sticky rice, octopus, and pickled vegetables. What a feast, indeed! Many babies also have miso soup.
Many families in Jamaica give their little ones a fruit and honey mix as their first food. Sweetness.
Babies get a snack called Bamba in Israel — it’s a mix of peanut butter and corn. Yes, peanut butter! Interestingly, we have 10 times more instances of peanut allergies here in the U.S. than Isreal does, and we tend to avoid peanut butter in young eaters.
Babies in India are often started off with rice cereal or mashed rice but then they’re given khichdi, the traditional vegetarian dish of rice, lentils, and veggies, seasoned with cumin, coriander, mint, and cinnamon.
French babies are often given leek soup for a first food, and they also eat endive, spinach, and beet. Sounds tastier than mashed up avocado with nothing on it!
A thich bean soup called Gbegiri is often the first food for babies in Nigeria. It can be seasoned with tomatoes, onions, tiny cuts of fish, and even a little chili powder.
A creamy pudding called poi poi, made from taro roots, coconut cream, and breadfruit, is served to babies in New Zealand and other Polynesian countries. Sounds delicious.
First foods for Vietnamese babies include soups with strong flavors like fish sauce for seasoning. These broths and porridges also may have thinly sliced shrimp, potatoes, carrots, and butternut squash. Fancy.
Many babies in Egypt and the Middle East get a taste of hummus as a first food. This mashed chickpeas dish gets tahini, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little garlic (and is one of my favorite tastes as an adult). Knowing this makes me think I was way too conservative when I fed my little ones their first foods.
Little ones in Mexico get some chili powder spice added to their fruits — apples, oranges, and pears. They’re also fed rice, beans, and spicy soup.
Babies in China eat seaweed and rice dishes with fish, eggs, and carrots as early as 4 months old. Fish! This baby menu item is so much more adventurous than bland rice cereal.