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July 18, 2013

Teaching Your Children to Love Real Food

For all the mamas out there! Make sure you read LOVEBlogger Brittany’s guest post on teaching your child to LOVE real food! What great advice from a pro

Teaching Children to LOVE Real Food

As soon as I became pregnant with Hailey I was excited about the idea of introducing her to solid food. At 6 months old we took the plunge, using baby led weaning, and let her explore baked sweet potato sticks and avocado. From there the fun only expanded to broccoli and beans, hummus and oatmeal. (For more of what Hailey eats, check out Munchkin Meals). It was so much fun for me to watch her discover new tastes and textures. It was important to me that she learned to love whole, unprocessed foods. It seemed to work for us and now at 21 months old she is still a great eater, happily chowing down on a wide variety of real food.

If I could condense what I’ve learned into only 4 tips, here is what they would be:

  1. Don’t rely on purees for too long.We skipped purees altogether, but I realize that isn’t the right choice for everyone. However, by 8 months old a child should be developmentally ready to pick up food and learn to self-feed. This is important because it introduces the child to new textures and allows them to learn to self-regulate the amount of food they eat by tuning into their internal cues.
  2. Offer more savory than sweet.Babies and kids like sweets. That isn’t news to anyone, but if you want your child to develop a taste for savory, you should expose them to it repeatedly. The sweetest food Hailey had for a long while was sweet potato and even now if she begins to get too picky with vegetables, I’ll reign in the fruits for a couple days until she is happily chowing down on quinoa and broccoli again.
  3. Be consistent.I wouldn’t classify Hailey as picky, but she certainly can be finicky. One day she won’t touch her eggs, instead she feeds them all to the dog. The next day, she gobbles them up and requests more. Just because your child doesn’t like a food one day, doesn’t mean it’s written off forever. Keep offering it, maybe changing the preparation method, and they might just eventually surprise you by gobbling it down.
  4. Read labels and focus on REAL food.I try to feed Hailey a lot of foods without labels (fruits, vegetables, whole grains), but sometimes you need to grab something quick and convenient. This is one reason why I love LOVE Grown foods. The ingredients are all real foods that anyone can recognize; no chemicals, colorings or scary sounding additives. Hailey’s favorite oatmeal breakfast is LOVE Grown’s Strawberry Raspberry Hot Oats. She’ll devour a whole container herself and ask for more.lmake y,

Most importantly, make food fun! Eating should be a positive experience for everyone involved <3