If you’ve got a tot with a persnickety palate, happy hour at the highchair may involve more grimaces than grins. But that doesn’t mean you have to ditch the finer fare in favor of flavorless mush. Encourage adventurous eating with this recipe for success.
First things first
Keep in mind that the choices you make during pregnancy and while breastfeeding begin forming your little one’s food preferences early on. “There is research that indicates mom’s diet during pregnancy can help shape tastes for food,” says Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, author of First Bites: Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers. Furthermore, the flavor of breast milk actually changes based on what you eat, she adds, so lead by example and expose baby to an array of delicious and nutritious provisions.
Try, try again
When introducing your munchkin to unfamiliar dishes, don’t be surprised if she turns up her nose at first. “It is totally normal for a baby to reject new foods—even dozens of times,” assures White. It takes a bit to acclimate to various flavors and textures, but keep offering those carrots! If your finicky eater continues to protest, try serving the same foods in different forms, White suggests. “One of my daughters loves carrots roasted, and the other prefers them raw—but they both love carrot soup! Play around and have fun with the options.”
Mix it up
“Make mealtime exciting [by] offering a wide variety of colors and textures to excite the senses,” advises White. A well-rounded spread doesn’t have to require a ton of prep work. “Save time by buying simple fruits and veggies in jars and pouches … and add texture, flavor and substance by adding homemade cooked brown rice or a pinch of a mild spice like cinnamon.” Whatever you do, remember to approach the dining experience with enthusiasm and positivity. Your baby will feed off your cues.