Baby Led Weaning Ideas | Spanish Food Perfect for Babies and Toddlers
My husband and I love to travel the world and we decided early on that having a new addition to our family would not stop us from experiencing new cultures. Going abroad with a baby or toddler can bring a wide range of anxieties and apprehension: will we run out of formula? How am we going to carry all of the stuff that comes with a baby? What on earth am I going to feed him?
On our first holiday away I packed a whole bag full of rice cakes, wafers and pouches of savoury purées, just in case. Dexter had never had a savoury pouch before in his life, but I was seriously worried that there’d be nothing in Spain for him to eat. I needn’t have bothered of course, I should have trusted my Mummy instincts: baby led weaning works all over the world.
Continuing with your baby led weaning journey needn’t be one of the stresses of venturing abroad, especially if you’re going to Spain. Since we started our baby led weaning journey we’ve had two holidays with Dexter in sunny Spain and whether you decide to stay in a villa in Spain or a 5* resort on one of the Balearic Islands, the choice of Spanish food is perfect for tiny little fingers. Here I have a list of Spanish foods that you simply must try with your baby or toddler this year (in between sunning yourself of course, because that’s what a holiday is all about!)
Paella was one of the very first foods I tried with Dexter and although it can get a little messy, it is so much fun! Spanish paella is full of lovely seafood which will give baby lots of nutrients although I’d be careful to remove any bones or shells first and chop up the prawns so they’re not a choking hazard. For toddlers, paella is fantastic food to practise using cutlery with and above all, it’s extremely delicious! I am a huge advocate of using herbs and spices to give baby a really flavourful baby led weaning experience and I love the use of smoked paprika and saffron to really bring out the flavour of paella.
Talking of practising with cutlery, gazpacho is another dish that is perfect for this or for trying with pre loaded spoons. Gazpacho is a mixture of peppers, garlic, tomato and onion blended to make a smooth soup. What I love the most about gazpacho is that you don’t need to worry about it being too hot for tiny mouths as it is served cold, yet again one less thing to stress about. I highly recommend using a BIBaDO or Baby Bjorn Coverall Bib while attempting to consume gazpacho as it can get slightly messy!
I’m a huge fan of beefy meatballs as I believe it’s really important to try and get iron into baby when they first start weaning. Albondigas are super easy for little hands to pick up and helps improve their hand-eye coordination as they try to get meatball from table to hand to mouth. Younger babies will probably just have a gnaw and a suck but as they get older you’ll find that more and more will be consumed! I always gave Dexter the meatballs whole while he was weaning, but now he’s pretty adept with cutlery, I cut them up into smaller pieces so he can stab them with a fork and eat them.
4. Tortilla Española
Spanish omelette is one of the most popular dishes with Brits and it’s easy to see why. The main ingredients are egg, onion and potato and the result is a filling and delicious dish. Omelettes were a huge hit with Dex when we started baby led weaning and were one of the meals you could guarantee would be demolished every single time. I love that you can cut them into bite sized strips and that they’re nice and soft yet solid enough to pick up from the tray.
5. Pan con Tomate
This traditional Catalan dish is so simple and yet perfect for baby led weaning. It is simply bread topped with tomatoes and then seasoned with olive oil and salt. (You can skip the salt for under ones). Dexter is a big fan of carbs just like his Mama and we could spend hours eating this gorgeous Mediterranean dish. I did notice while we were in Spain that the hotter it got, the les Dex seemed to want to eat, but bread remained a firm favourite and the tomatoes gave me a little peace of mind that he was getting a few nutrients in as well.
6. San Jacobos
This dish is better known in England (and France!) as Cordon Bleu. It is ham wrapped around cheese and then breaded before being fried. Probably not the healthiest tapa, but extremely popular with children in Spain as an afternoon snack and it’s easy to see why: they’re the perfect size for little fingers to pick up and eat.
Empanadas is a delicious pastry stuffed with meat and veg. A really yummy finger food, perfect for little fingers and filled with tasty beef or chorizo. You’ll find this tapa in bars all over Spain and is another excuse to get yourself down to your local watering hole to cool off with a lovely cerveza while baby chomps down on an empanada.
Croquettes have always been a staple in our household and who knew you could have so many varieties?! Ham and cheese seem to be the most popular in Spain, but you can also find fish, ground meat or vegetable croquetas too. Another delicious finger food perfect for little hands.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list of all of the yummy tapas and foods available to you while in Spain, but hopefully will give you some encouragement that just because you are leaving the comforts of home, you needn’t worry about what you will feed baby. Now, back to concentrating on exactly how many vests, t-shirts and shorts I need to pack for Dexter without compromising room in the suitcase for my make-up and shoes!