Research consistently reveals our baby’s early food experiences count when it comes to forming good eating habits.
Here are Rafferty’s Garden’s top 10 tips to grow a healthy food lover:
1. Progress on texture: Ditch very smooth puree as soon as soon as you can. UK research reveals delaying introduction of textured and lumpy foods may result in fussier food habits that can extend into school age years.
2. Don’t give up:
Keep putting offering refused foods. Becoming familiar with a food is the first step to actually eating it. Babies may need to see it 10-15 times before it’s ‘familiar’.
3. Less is best: Growth drives hunger and hunger drives appetite in small children and babies. And, because of this you can never tell if they’ll eat like a bird or a bear. Less on their plate means they can always have more.
4. A water habit: Introduce a proper rimmed cup with a little water when you start solids. Practice makes perfect with drinking and a water drinking habit will see them in good stead throughout life.
5. Shift your main: Consider making lunch the main meal. Tired babies and toddlers are often not interested in food.
6. Practice the division of responsibility: Parents provide (good food at appropriate times) and children decide (to eat or not). Trust in your baby’s own ability to know when they are hungry or not.
7. Self service: Encourage independence and new motor skills with opportunities to self serve from bowls in the center of the table – like a mini smorgasbord. Just try not to worry about the mess!
8. Keep it simple: Go for plain basic food. Hours spent on elaborate food preparation is easily lost on babies and toddlers and only fuels your disappointment when they won’t eat it.
9. Enlist help: Make food interesting somewhere other than the table. Involve toddlers in shopping, preparing and even growing food if you can.
10. Be a super model: Make meal times a family affair so you can model good eating habits. American research tells us our babies and young children are more likely to try new foods when they see us eating it.
Are your kids healthy food lovers? TELL US in the comments below.