Shaping Young Tastes

That taste of ice cream, that little bite of cookie, the sip of soda, the piece of frozen pizza…they are harmless right?  After all, it is only one little bite once in a while.  Your child can’t be “ruined” by these harmless bites, right?  Every kid deserves to taste these foods, right?  That is debatable in the first three years according to Dr. Sears.  With each bite of ice cream, bite of cookie, sip of soda, and piece of frozen pizza you are shaping the tastes of your child.  You are teaching their taste buds what to expect, what is tasty, and what is normal.  Instead, why not teach their bodies to accept whole, fresh foods as normal and fun?  If you give your child a diet full of fresh foods, unsalted foods, foods low in sugar and high in fiber and protein you are setting them up for a lifetime of health eating and consequently good health.

This can be challenging.  I will be the first to admit that it can be difficult to feed your child only the healthiest of options – especially if you are eating out.  As we are introducing solids to our son we are trying to only give him unprocessed foods, but guess what?  We sneak in organic o-shaped cereal and rice cakes in small amounts each day because he just loves the crunch.  We choose our processed foods very carefully though – no unpronounceable ingredients and no added sugar.  For the most part he gets fruits, veggies (when I can convince him to eat them), beans reconstituted in the crockpot to avoid any BPA contamination from a can, whole grain whole wheat breads/pastas, long grain brown rice, and organic whole milk yogurt.  He doesn’t yet have a taste for cake, ice cream, donuts, soda, etc. and I hope that he never does.  When we go out we take his food with us and if we want to order him something, we order fresh fruit. Don’t feel like you have to order from the kids menu, which are notoriously unhealthy.  Order sides from the adult menu and pack up the leftovers or bring your child’s food with you.  Teach them to choose the healthy options on the menu.

Be kind to your child, help them develop tastes for foods that will keep them healthy throughout their life.  There will be plenty of time to let them taste and experiment with sugar-laden foods when they are a little older.  Hopefully, by then they won’t want those foods and will be satisfied with just a quick taste once in a while!

Happy shaping!