It really is as easy as A-B-C...
Sponsored by Kiddylicious.
We know from experience that it can be a struggle getting your baby or toddler to eat new and unusual tasting food - especially when that food is healthy and nutritional!
But don't fret, because six mums have come to the rescue with some top tips for getting your little one to taste a whole new range of food. So, you better get your notepad and pen at the ready...
Tip 1: Introduce new foods during the first or second bite
Mum-of-one Tessa Anastasiou follows the theory that "the hungrier the child, the more willing they are to try something new!". She always introduces new food to her one-year-old at the beginning of a meal, and then consistently incorporates that food into a further six to eight meals so that the taste and texture becomes familiar. Sounds easy enough, right? That's because it is!
Tip 2: Mix up your textures
Early exposure to chunky and lumpy foods can help ensure that your little one grows up enjoying a wide variety of tastes. After all, the last thing you want is a fussy easter on your hands!
At around seven months old, your baby will start learning how to chew, so you can start introducing food with small chunks into their diet. If you're not sure where to start, we recommend the Kiddylicious Little Bistro meals, as they contain soft chunks of vegetables, rice and pasta, which will help encourage chewing. In turn, this will strengthen your baby's jaw, tongue and speech muscles!
Mum-of-one Fiona Driedi has just returned to work from maternity leave, and told us that she loves the Little Bistro meals because they taste just like a true homemade, nutritious dinner that she would cook herself: "I don't always have the time to cook my baby a meal from scratch, so when I'm really busy I swear by the Kiddylicious Little Bistro meals. You can serve them straight after heating them in the microwave - I just wish that I had discovered them sooner!".
Tip 3: Introduce flavours early on
Many parents will shy away from introducing adventurous flavours such as spices into their baby's diet while they're still young. But, as mum-of-two Lucy Stile can attest, the earlier the better! She said: "I added tiny amounts of cumin, tumeric and coriander into my childrens meals from around ten months old. It really helped to encourage them to be more adventurous with food as they grew up!".
Tip 4: Make mealtime colourful
As well as mixing up new textures and tastes, you can also entice your baby to try new foods through colour. Lucie Cave, Editor-in-Chief of heat, told us: "Having a variety of colours in front of my baby meant that he felt like he had choice. Too much beige food is never appealing for anyone - even an eight-month-old!".
Tip 5: Let them make a mess
Yes, your dining room may look a state after lunchtime, but rest assured that mess is all part of the learning process when it comes to weaning. By letting your toddler play with their food, you encourage them to experiment with texture and taste, as well as improve their hand-eye coordination - bonus!
Maria Reyes, who has a two-year-old, used to feed her toddler only pureed meals, but has recently started introducing him to chunkier foods (like the Kiddylicious Little Bistro meals), so that he can experiment with different textures. She told us that by letting her toddler play with the food before eating, it's helped him "to become more confident with new foods. Weaning went from being a scary experience to something that we both look forward to!". See, with some gentle encouragement you can help your baby get accustomed to a whole range of new foods.
Tip 6: Go at your baby's pace
It can be frustrating when your baby isn't cooperating at mealtime. Mum-of-one Sara Linfoot advises to just go with the flow and not get stressed out. She said: "If your toddler is being really picky with a certain type of food, don't force it! Leave it off the menu for a few days, and then return to it again. Perseverance is key here, so stick to your guns, mums."
You can buy the Kiddylicious Little Bistro range from all major supermarkets.
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