Wholesome Child : Fussy Eaters Preview US
21 not all hang on the shoulders of parents. Nature also has a part to play as food preferences are often hereditary and affected by genes. And finally, some babies are simply born with more tastebuds than others and are superior tasters. These children will naturally be more sensitive to certain taste sensations and are more likely to reject sour or bitter. Others, without the same tastebud density, will not be as reactive to different flavors. Even though babies, and especially those with heightened taste perceptions, will naturally reject bitter tastes such as spinach, zucchini or even broccoli, they can, with repeated offerings, come to love sour and bitter foods. How to train tastebuds right from the start The early years of a child’s life are the most crucial in setting up long-lasting eating patterns and behaviors. If we train a young child’s tastebuds to enjoy the natural flavors of foods without processed flavors and added sweeteners, we can avoid many problems later on. In the first two years of life, a child’s immune system is largely dependent on the foods they eat. Given the right nutritional start in life they are more resilient to illnesses, infections, allergies and even behavioral issues as their diet is strengthening the development of their immune system and their cognitive abilities too. • It is far easier to make dietary changes while your kids are young. Repetition will pay off quickly at this stage. When I talk about exposing children to different tastes, I don’t mean giving a particular food to your child once and then, if they reject it, deciding that they don’t like it. For babies and young children it normally takes between six and sixteen experiences with a flavor before it will be accepted. Somewhere between six and 10 times is the most common. If your child rejects a food, please do not give up. Freeze the leftovers and try again and again and again. There is clear evidence that repeated offerings will, in most cases, lead to an acceptance of a new food. • Once your child is two or older, it will most likely be more challenging for you, but with patience and persistence, changes can be made. Children learn through play and enjoyment and therefore mealtimes should remain an enjoyable and fun experience during which parents model positive behaviors. Often, the food groups that most parents struggle to get their child to eat are vegetables and protein—please refer to these chapters for lots of practical advice on making these foods more palatable. 21 wholesome child fussy eating Did you know? Studies show breastfed babies are more likely to be accepting of bitter vegetables, only if they are consumed regularly by their mothers during lac tation .
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