● Umami is the fifth taste sensation, alongside sweet, sour, salty and bitter.
● Introducing umami-rich foods exposes babies to a wider range of tastes and encourages them to become adventurous eaters.
● Many umami foods are nutrient-dense, offering a plethora of vitamins, minerals and proteins. Examples include meat, fish, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes… and breast milk.
● A lot of umami-packed foods contain iron, essential for healthy brain development and the production of red blood cells.
● An excellent source of high-quality proteins, vital for muscle and tissue development, as well as a strong immune system.
We have lots of ideas to help you include umami flavour in your little one's diet. Please scroll down for more information.
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Umami foods will expand your little one’s culinary horizons. They’ll discover new tastes and textures that will help shape their love for diverse and nutritious foods.
Find ideas for introducing umami foods to each age group below.
Introducing umami foods at 6-9 months
Mushrooms are a mighty umami food that comes in various varieties. Cook and finely chop or blend them to add to baby-friendly dishes like vegetable purees or stews.
Transform umami-rich meats like chicken or pork into a mash by adding a touch of breast milk, formula or veggie puree.
Offer your baby small spoonfuls of cooked and pureed tomatoes, or mix them with other vegetables, grains and sauces.
Legumes like lentils and beans are not only protein powerhouses but also bring a punch of umami to the table. Cook them until soft and mash or puree to a suitable texture.
Introducing umami foods at 9-12 months
Offer mild, baby-friendly cheeses – such as Cheddar and Emmental – in small cubes or strips as a tasty snack. Or grate and melt over cooked vegetables.
Toss some well-cooked pasta, such as small shells or spirals, with a tomato-based sauce.
Prepare umami-packed soups using a vegetable or meat broth base. Add cooked and mashed veggies, small pasta shapes and finely shredded meat for extra flavour and texture. Slurp!
Whisk up an omelette filled with umami goodness in the shape of sautéed mushrooms, diced ham and a sprinkle of cheese.
Introducing umami foods at 12-18 months
Make baby-friendly sushi. Use soft, mashed avocado, cooked and shredded fish or chicken, and finely chopped veggies, rolled with sushi rice into bite-sized pieces. Fiddly but fun!
Whip up a stir-fry chock-full of umami-rich ingredients like tofu, sliced beef or prawns, and a medley of vegetables such as bell peppers, snap peas and carrots. Season with a splash of low-sodium soy sauce or a sprinkle of sesame seeds for an extra umami boost.
Create a slow-cooked super stew packed with tender chunks of meat, and vegetables like carrots, potatoes and peas.
Encourage your little one to ‘build a bowl’ by offering a variety of umami foods like grilled chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli and rice.
Some umami foods, like processed meats, sauces or condiments, may contain high levels of sodium, which could strain babies’ developing kidneys. So choose low-sodium or sodium-free options.
Sometimes umami foods – particularly those high in protein – can cause digestive discomfort in babies with sensitive stomachs. Watch for any signs of digestive issues such as bloating, gas or diarrhoea.
Every baby is unique, and their preferences for umami foods will vary. Be patient and continue to offer a variety of umami foods in different forms to find what your baby enjoys.