Regarding your child’s eating behaviors, there is a science to preventing them from becoming picky eaters.
Some infants are sensitive to the sensory properties of food, such as odor and texture, which may be off-putting and lead to food refusal.
Charlotte Stirling-Reed, a parenting expert and child nutritionist in the United Kingdom, told that ‘Veg-Led Weaning’, the concept of gradually increasing children’s tolerance for bitter vegetables as they transition to solid foods, is the best way to avoid fussy eating.
Babies are born with a preference for sweet dishes, but not for savory or bitter ones.
Stirling-Reed explained that beginning the weaning process with a selection of vegetables will help your child become accustomed to a wide range of new flavors.
After introducing a few solitary tastes of vegetables, it is important to introduce a wider variety of foods, such as proteins, fruits, and carbohydrates, while still providing an abundance of vegetables.
According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, children can transition from purees to solid foods at around six months.
However, blended, mashed, and soft-cooked dishes are recommended. Also included are cereals.
When a child is seven to eight months old, they can consume a variety of foods from various dietary groups.
‘Introducing solid foods is such an exciting time, but for many, it can also be a time of confusion and anxiety,’ said Stirling-Reed, the Sunday Times best-selling author of ‘How to Wean Your Baby’ and ‘How to Feed Your Toddler.
“There is a new concept in weaning that I call Veggie-Led Weaning.” It is about beginning your baby’s weaning with vegetables.
Vegetables are a great option for a baby’s first food because they are inexpensive, simple to prepare, and safe. They also encourage your child’s taste exploration.
Vegetables also contain essential complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for your baby’s growth.
Stirling-Reed explained that when an infant reaches 10 months, parents should focus on providing well-balanced meals.
She recommended including carbohydrate, protein, vegetable or fruit, and dairy product in a single meal.
“You may need to adapt the meals for infants and toddlers, but you can still provide them with well-balanced family options,” Stirling-Reed said.
For instance, spaghetti Bolognese consists of beef (or lentils), tomatoes, pasta, and Parmesan. Curry typically consists of rice, vegetables, and chicken (or chickpeas); however, you may need to mash, chop, or prepare the food more for infants and toddlers.
However, she is not oblivious to the fact that food refusal remains a possibility.
This is extremely common, as the majority of households experience periods of food refusal. They have however weaned their offspring. That’s fine,’ Stirling-Reed replied.
Remember that children’s appetites fluctuate naturally, so some days they will consume more than others.
She offers strategies for dealing with food refusal, such as accepting their appetite remedy.
Accept your child’s refusal to consume a particular dish and do not force them to do so.
According to research, force-fed infants typically have lower weights and a greater preference for picky foods.
Eating with your infant is a second method for overcoming refusal.
I am a great fan of incorporating them into family mealtimes and offering them similar foods and meals (albeit slightly modified for babies) to what the family is eating, according to Stirling-Reed.
This is why I adore the Stokke Tripp Trapp, as it allows this to occur and helps babies become accustomed to your family’s eating style.
This means that as they age and become toddlers, they are more likely to embrace your family meals and family cooking if they have been offered it and are familiar with it from an early age.
She also advises parents not to draw attention to their child’s picky food, as doing so tends to perpetuate the behavior.