Building a Confident and Varied Eater

We've all heard the stories.  The little girl who ate nothing but custard until she was five, or the boy who refused to eat any food that wasn't orange.  No doubt your little one will develop an overt fondness for some foods and if left to their own devices, could quite happily feast away on that for the rest of their days.

The thing is, we all know the importance of a balanced diet, no matter how old you are.  By introducing your baby to a wide variety of foods when they are young, you are encouraging them to experiment with new foods.  It’s also an opportunity for fun and exploration that could set them up with a lifetime of healthy eating habits. Later on, you might find they’re wary of new foods and this is normal for toddlers, but teaching them to be open to new things early on could make life easier down the track.

Food rainbow: Babies love colour, so why not offer foods in many different colours to peak your little ones interest?  Carrots, avocado, beetroot,  sweet potato, there are lots of fun colours to play with and your baby is sure to find meal time more interesting.

Persistence pays: Babies might reject food ten or more times before they decide they like it so keep offering different foods, one day your picky little eater might decide they like it and you have hit the jackpot!  Similarly, food they once loved might fall out of favour, again just keep offering it here and there and they eventually will start eating it again.

Variety: By introducing your baby to everything the culinary world has to offer, you will help them become a more confident eater who is happy to try new things.

Adding lumps: Toddlers often complain about foods being slimy, squishy or prickly.  To help your baby become used to different textures, once they are confidently eating purees, offer mashed foods and then progress to soft lumps and chunky foods and hopefully you might end up with a confident eater in years to come.

Eating together: Babies are happiest when surrounded by the people they love so why not try to eat your meals together when possible?  If bub sees you enjoying your food, meal times are seen as fun and your little one might be more open to trying the things they see you eating.

Let the mess begin: How many times were you told 'don't play with your food'?  Now parents are encouraged to do the opposite - it is a good thing to let your young children (babies especially) to play with their food!  By squishing it through their fingers or rolling it on their plate they are using all their senses to learn to understand what food is all about.  And whilst it might seem food ends up everywhere but in your baby's mouth, by encouraging self-feeding you are giving them their independence which is a really positive thing.

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