Taste development already starts in the womb. It has been shown that children in the womb already perceive certain flavors through the amniotic fluid. The amniotic fluid reflects the taste of the food that the mother takes in. When the mother eats a varied diet, the child already gets used to different tastes and can develop a preference for certain flavors.
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Breastfeeding helps to familiarize babies with different flavors and to eat vegetables (and fruits) more easily later on. This is because it has been shown that the taste and smell of breast milk also vary according to the mother’s diet, automatically allowing the child to get used to variations in the taste of food and making it easier to get used to new flavors.
Teach Them Early
The age at which new foods are introduced is crucial. This is the period from 6 months to 1 year. From the age of ± 2 years, it is much more difficult to get children used to new flavors. Therefore, teach babies to get used to vegetable flavors with solid food as early as possible. It is recommended to start the supplement with only vegetable snacks. Give the baby one vegetable snack every day. Give a different vegetable every day for five days, then start over with the first vegetable. Introduce fruit after two weeks. Once the baby is given two solid feeds a day, each feed should include vegetables and/or fruit.
• Set a good example yourself. Eat a lot of vegetables yourself and do that together with your children. Children who often eat with their parents have been shown to eat more vegetables.
• Eat vegetables all day long. Do not limit the consumption of vegetables to the hot meal, but also put them on the table for breakfast, with a sandwich meal, as a snack, and as an aperitif and television snack.
Introduce As Many Veggies as Possible
Let your child taste as many vegetables as possible so that they get to know the taste. Tasting does not necessarily mean swallowing. Definitely don’t punish your child for not wanting to eat something.
Don’t give up after one failed attempt. A child has to taste a new taste on average of 10 to 15 times before learning to appreciate it. Do not remove vegetables that they do not like, such as Brussels sprouts or chicory, from the menu immediately. Try again after a few days. Research has shown that repetition is the best way to familiarize young children with new flavors. Your child’s taste preference may change in time too. So what they don’t like today, they may appreciate in the future.
Serve a different vegetable every day and vary the preparations. By regularly serving children something new, you practice their taste. If your child does not like a certain vegetable when it is cooked, try it in a different way: baked, stir-fried, in the oven, raw… A tasty sauce can also convince them to eat the vegetables.
Cook Veggies With Al Dente
Research shows that slightly older children prefer crunchy vegetables and vegetables with an even color (no browning). Mushy vegetables are the least popular. In terms of preparation, the preference is for steamed and boiled vegetables. Grilled and fried vegetables are usually less popular. Of course, this does not apply to babies: they prefer mashed/pureed food.
These simple tips helped a lot of mothers with their young ones. Finally, they said, the battle every day during mealtime has been reduced to minimal.