Spoiler alert - it takes persistence, repetition and patience:)
The same goes for teaching babies how to fall in love with healthy food. It takes time, variation, repetition, patience and perseverance from mom and dad.
Introducing your little one to a wide variety of different foods from an early stage onwards has multiple advantages. Experts say that when starting with the weaning process, it is best to start off with introducing one foot at a time to test for allergies. This also gives the little ones the opportunity to get to know individual tastes of foods. They get to see the colour, smell it, taste it, and feel the texture on their hands and in their mouth. This way, each new food can be a wonderful experiment.
Once this initial phase is over and the food tolerances are confirmed, it is time to let loose and introduce many new ingredients and flavours! Broccoli, sweet potato, pumpkin, apple and pear are all wonderful first foods, but there is so much more for your little one to explore. Spinach, zucchini, cauliflower, blueberries, mango… They all don’t only bring nutritional benefits, they can help develop the taste palate as well.
In this process, it is important to show kids that there is no reason to be afraid of new food. Still, I know from my own experience that these introductions are not always easy. But if your child seems not to like a certain food, don’t worry! Just be persistent, because:
Midwives and doctors agree, it can take up to 8-10 times to try a new food and either to learn if they ‘like it’ or ‘love it’.
Our little angels are like snowflakes, everyone is unique, so some kids will love certain tastes on the first try and others will need a little patience, persistence and help from mom and dad. In other words, while it might often seem that a little one just likes or dislikes a certain food, this is only the beginning. The actions that we as parents take and the amount of effort we put in as parents has a lot of impact on the baby’s current and future food preferences.
For that reason, hereby some tips and tricks I can recommend to help little ones fall in love with new foods:
1) Prepare the food often, show them it is normal
2) Prepare the food with other foods, especially with foods you know your little one already likes
3) Prepare the food at different temperature states
4) Serve the food at all meal times, show them that certain foods are not only for certain times of the day
And the most important might be:
5) Prepare the food with them. Ask your little one to pick it out at the supermarket. When you are home, show them how to keep it fresh. Teach them how to smell the food, how to hold it, how to care for food. Then, teach them to wash the ingredients, and prepare the food. Talk to them throughout the process and ask them questions about it.
6) Show your kids how much you love to eat the food, how good it tastes and how not to be afraid of it. When they see you enjoy the food, they feel safe and excited to try. You can see this with so many things, our babies learn by copying us!
7) Try to eat as a family at the table, prepare the same food for everyone, it is worth it. Not only do the little ones see you smile, laugh, enjoying the food, but they also are creating wonderful memories that they will associate with the food. It is not an easy, but definitely a wonderful journey!
This philosophy is also what is behind all recipes we created for our products at Pumpkin Organics. Prepared with a wide variety of ingredients, combined to create exciting taste profiles, without containing any additives, salt or added sugar and being low in naturally occurring fruit sugar. All to develop healthy eaters and allow for more time for fun at the table. Check us out here.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is merely to inform and inspire and not intended to provide any medical or nutritional advice whatsoever. In case you have any concerns or questions, Pumpkin Organics recommends seeking advice from your healthcare provider.