How to get your child to eat new foods

Research shows that babies get a taste for foods whilst in the womb.
Baby in the Womb
Researchers from the Monell Centre in the US have been looking into what babies and toddlers like to eat. Unsurprisingly the research shows that children have a strong preference for foods which contain sugars and salt, but it does indicate that a mum who has a varied diet during pregnancy will have a child who is more accepting of different foods as they grow up.

Children can be fickle, and even my son a relatively unfussy eater can suddenly decide that certain foods are yucky and he could not possibly eat them, but getting him to try certain new foods has often been a struggle. For a long time he had a strong resistance to eating anything spicy, until we accidentally brought a pizza which a hot one. He suddenly decided he liked spicy.

The overall conclusion from the research is that early and regular exposure to foods makes the child more accepting of the food later on in life. But this effect was not limited to being in the womb, the food that your child eats will also influence their future preferences.

When tempting children with foods that they should be eating patience is needed, repeating the same food over time to get use to it works, but once your child will allowing it in their mouth don’t make our mistake of giving them big portions, start small and build them up.

What did work well was making it more fun, seeing the dinosaurs in the Natural History museum persuaded my son that that he was a tree eating Tyrannosaurs and thus solving his phobia or broccoli and purple spouting (quick tip, mash potato is great for “planting” the tree broccoli in). Chopping up the food very small and mixing with a more palatable food, like leeks mixed in with mashed potatoes or chopped vegetables into a tomato sauce works wonders, especially when covered in cheese.

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