In our culture kids are bombarded with brightly colored food and overly sweet treats on a daily basis. It’s no wonder their taste buds are skewed! I’m going to share how to prevent picky eaters from the start.
It’s something all parents struggle with at some point. But did you know that shouldn’t be the norm? Really. Picky eating is a symptom. Not a condition. It’s the whole purpose of my blog – to help deal with picky eaters and get kids to just take a bite!
How to Handle Picky Eaters
Trust me. I’ve dealt with every kind of eating struggle you can imagine…and come out on the other side. I dealt with the root cause. Which got rid of the picky eating symptom. But it wasn’t easy!
I have ways of dealing with picky eaters in my book “Why Won’t My Child Eat?!” But today I’m sharing a little secret with you. The best way to prevent picky eaters is right from the start. From the first taste of solid food. Actually even from the time baby is in your womb and breastfeeding!
If you are pregnant, make sure you eat a wide variety of nutrient dense whole foods. Baby does taste what you’re eating! Then when baby is breastfeeding continue a nutritious diet. Your milk will change flavor based on what you eat and give your little one a taste for real food.
Prevent Picky Eaters from the First Bite
Then comes the really important step – introducing solids. You can’t wait for it with your first child. You kind of get annoyed with it by your second child. But eventually you get to or you have to (however you look at it). And what you feed your baby can create or prevent picky eaters.
I’m a huge fan of letting baby lead when it comes to solids. But that doesn’t mean a food free-for-all. It just means I offer a variety of nutrient dense food and let baby decide what and how much to eat. In general I offer baby what the rest of the family is eating. Here are my basic guidelines.
- No added sweeteners
- No food coloring or artificial ingredients
- Lots of healthy fats
- Let baby chew
- Offer variety – a mix of fruits, veggies, proteins and fats
- Stick to a gluten free or grain free diet for at least the first year
Some of my favorite first foods include:
- avocado chunks or lightly mashed
- banana chunks or lightly mashed
- ripe pear chunks
- egg yolk lightly fried in butter, coconut oil, tallow or lard or hard boiled egg yolk
- whole milk yogurt
- ripe mango chunks
- beef or chicken liver
- roasted chicken
- ground beef
Keep in mind baby is not born with an affinity towards sugar and brightly colored foods. If you skip those baby will not feel dissatisfied. On the contrary, you will be giving baby one of the best gifts ever! The gift of a taste for real, whole foods.
If you do need a few tricks to get the healthy habits going check out Think Baby.
Help With Feeding Baby Made Simple
I’m thankful there are good companies like Stonyfield Yogurt and Once Upon a Farm that have the same philosophy on feeding little ones. Companies that combine the need for simple, yet nourishing foods.
Stonyfield’s YoBaby banana mango yogurt is made with whole milk and has NO added sweeteners! As a mom of soon-to-be four kids (in less than two weeks!!) I’ve been waiting a while for this. An infant does not need sugar added to their yogurt. Honestly. They will eat it plain. Or you can mix in some fruit if you like.
We recently tried the banana mango YoBaby yogurt. Even my 10 year old loved it! I’ve even been eating it. Here is some other cool info straight from Stonyfield.
- Yobaby is the #1 pediatrician recommended yogurt for babies and kids 6 months to 2 years.
- Stonyfield YoBaby was the first yogurt made especially for babies.
- Yobaby now contains the probiotic culture BB12. In addition to live active cultures, Stretococcus Thermophilus, Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidus, Lactobacillus Casei, and Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, YoBaby® yogurt now contains the probiotic Bifidobacterium animalis lactis BB-12® that has been shown to have a digestive health benefit when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. BB-12® is a registered trademark of Chr. Hansen.
- Our texture is thick and creamy. It is thicker and isn’t as runny as other organic baby yogurts. This helps with less mess for moms while feeding AND especially for babies/toddlers that are starting to self-feed.
- We use PLA cups (meaning, made from plants!) because we heard from moms that they were concerned with polystyrene packaging – PLUS plant-based packaging has a lower carbon footprint.
Don’t Forget the Fat!
We have been eating Stonyfield yogurt for many years. But Once Upon a Farm is new to us. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and flavor of the ingredients!
Just real, whole foods. A variety of fruits, veggies, seeds and healthy fats. Exactly what little brains and bodies need. And as a mom of kids with a variety of allergies I was happy to see there are flavors each of my kids can enjoy.
According to Once Upon a Farm, “We use High Pressure Processing (HPP) to keep our food as close to the farm as it gets. HPP is a revolutionary technology in food, the kind that those unrefrigerated brands don’t use. It allows us to keep the flavors, aromas, colors, textures and nutrients of the food intact, leading to optimal taste and palate development in infants.”
One of my favorite qualities of Once Upon a Farm pouches is how the ingredients are combined.
“We synergistically combine ingredients to create optimal absorption and bioavailability of nutrients. Most baby foods are devoid of fats, especially high quality ones. At Once Upon a Farm, each recipe contains a healthy fat for stable energy levels, nutrient absorption and optimal brain development.”
That is so important to me! Kids need plenty of healthy fats for absorption and brain development!!
I know these are for little ones, but I’d happily serve them to kids of any age…or eat them myself! My kids wanted to eat them all in one day.
Skip the Sugar!
If you skip the sugar from the start your kids will not crave it and be dependent on it as they get older. They will enjoy foods in their natural state. My kids describe their vegetables as sweet! Yes, with a palate free of sugar they can enjoy sugar snap peas and carrots fresh from the garden and consider them a treat.
We do have the occasional sweet here, like homemade graham crackers or homemade ice cream. But those are not part of our daily diet. And they are not given to the little ones. Plus when I make them at home I can keep the sugar content down even in my baked goods!
You can start this process at any age. You are never too old to learn to enjoy real food.
But the best strategy is to teach your kids about whole foods from birth. Skip the sugar in first foods to teach kids how to enjoy foods in their natural state and prevent picky eaters.
I am working with Stonyfield Yogurt and Once Upon a Farm for this post. All opinions are my own.I have not been paid to post a positive review.