At two years old, learning how to walk, sit, stand, talk, and run are just some of the few basic skills your child can learn—and that includes learning how to eat. Babies could go beyond the skills of using a spoon or grasping finger snacks.
When your child learns how to eat, they also develop a taste for different foods, flavors, and textures that could open their budding curiosity for being an adventurous eater. As a parent, you want all types of nutritious foods for your baby and not becoming a picky eater.
Research shows that eating habits from infancy may influence your child’s meal choices throughout the years of their growth. This article is here to help you with the top five ways to help your babies enjoy their meals.
1. Adjust Your Mindset
The joy of witnessing your child’s first steps or first words is surreal. However, it can be tricky to see if your baby loves what you have prepared for them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner when it comes to eating. There will come days when your child might be into carrots, but they might not want to finish the veggie the next time you do.
Before you can even call your child a “picky eater,” it’s better to reflect on how you view things. Adjust your mindset, and hold on to that patience. Eventually, your baby can get the hang of loving veggies or fruits as much as you do.
Based on research, a child’s process of discovering and enjoying new flavors of foods is called “taste training.” So when you look back at that one time in breakfast, you offered carrots, and your child decides to make a mess on their toddler apron instead of eating the snack, it’s probably because you’ve only fed them the veggie once or twice.
2. Let Them Be Messy
Do you always tend to immediately clean up your baby every time food spills on the table? Or do you prefer your child to be tidy during meal times? Don’t rush, and allow your toddler to enjoy her meal in their experience.
Kids love to squish and smash their snacks, allowing them to use their senses and observe food texture and familiarity when it comes to the food you give them. For the entirety of a baby’s childhood, they are programmed to be curious about how they use their senses, which involves getting messy during meals.
3. Communicate With Positive Moods
By this time, your baby is slowly developing her language skills. As a mother, you can take advantage of this learning stage by speaking to her during mealtime about food. Moreover, you can practice this by putting on a positive mood, setting a happy mood for your baby.
Questions such as “is your tummy happy or still hungry?” or the classic “here comes the airplane” method could help your child enjoy the food served. However, it’s not all the time that she’s going to like the food.
So how about what to say whenever she doesn’t feel like eating? You can constantly reassure your child that you can serve the snack they wanted the next time, as you can’t always eat the same things every day.
4. Serve Only Smaller Portions of Dessert
Dessert immediately becomes every kid’s favorite food to munch on. Sweets will always find a way to keep your baby craving for more. However, it can be difficult, especially when they would rather eat sweets over nutritious foods.
The role of the dessert plays a challenge during mealtimes. Consider finishing meals with fruit rather than the traditional cake or cookies. Sweets are still accepted. However, it’s best to regulate your serving of sweet goods.
Additionally, it’s advisable never to use sweets as a form of reward or punishment. Even if your child could consume an entire plate of veggies, it’s never a good idea to link desserts to your baby’s emotions.
5. Change What You Serve For Texture Familiarity
You should focus on what your child eats along with its flavors and make them familiarize themselves with different food textures. You can serve them well-cooked, boiled sweet potatoes, ripe avocados, or steamed vegetables.
Moreover, you can add more texture by serving these dishes through different textures such as diced, lumpy, mashed, smooth, and more. According to research, children who grew accustomed to having different textured baby food are more likely to enjoy different foods as they grow older.
Give your kids a variety of snacks to gnaw on. The only way for your child to grow up into an adventurous eater is to start giving them various foods on your menu. Being a picky eater could also link to the type of food your child prefers as they grow up.
A mother’s love is always the most potent force in the world. Mothers would do anything for their children—and that includes helping them enjoy their meals. Let your child enjoy mealtime by practicing these five pieces of advice. It’s not always that they might want what you serve, but you can eventually teach them how to enjoy the snacks you serve as part of their development with this article.