You certainly don’t need to travel outside the U.S. to sample delicious international fare (especially when you’re living in a city like Chicago). It does add to the fun of travel, though, for both adults and babies to sample the local flavors. One of Veda’s first introductions to food was to zesty tahinified hummus in Amman, Jordan, and it still remains one of her protein favorites.
Depending on the age of baby (babies should not be introduced to solids until after six months of age, although we started giving Veda little tastes and licks of various items around four months) and teeth status, there are many delicious local fares baby can try. Hummus, of course, is a favorite of ours (and a great, reliable standby) in places all over the Middle East such as Jordan and Lebanon. Any restaurant we have visited while traveling in the Middle East we can count on being able to at least offer Veda a piece of warm pita bread with some hummus.
Pasta is always a great option, and she’s enjoyed good Italian fare (she especially loves the pesto sauce) all over the world. Italian always seems to be a great stand-by available in places from South America to Africa. With soft pastas and filled pastas with ricotta and spinach, Italian is a great option for babies that are eating minus the help of many teeth. In South Africa she often enjoys mashed pumpkin and creamed spinach, as well as creamed soups (broccoli, mushroom, etc.).
Although Veda does certainly show preferences to certain foods, she’ll try anything once. She does seem to take a natural liking to Indian cuisine (I think it’s genetic) and readily gobbles up her papa’s home-cooked sambar (loaded with veggies like okra and carrots) and aloo gobi. In India, it is always easy to find nice mushy squishable and tasty vegetable curries over brown rice that makes a good flavorful meal for baby. She definitely enjoys garlic and spices, but we make sure not to give her anything with too much heat.
Exploring baby’s food likes and dislikes can be as much a trip as any journey, and there are many flavorful local dishes all over the world that baby can try out. I always like to travel with squeezable baby food that I know she will like for sure as back-up, but we find it fun to encourage baby’s exploration of new dishes along with us. Of course it is important, especially when traveling in developing countries such as India, to be careful about selecting restaurants with better hygiene and sanitation (avoid street food for baby), and definitely avoid giving baby any tap water or uncooked foods (raw vegetables, fruits) from restaurants.
Please leave a comment or reply with any baby-friendly foods you’ve come across in specific countries!