Do you know a child who likes to eat vegetables or fish? There are cases, but they are not frequent. Even speaking to workers who guard school canteens, there are very few who claim to see children eat these foods without protest.
All this has an explanation. When we are born our taste buds are more sensitive to flavors and as the years go by and we grow we gradually lose them, we lose that “sensitivity”. That is why older people tolerate bitter foods better than children. In addition, there are children who are born with a large number of papillae (more than other children) and therefore their sense of taste is more “exquisite” , they notice the flavors in a more intense way, this is what are called “super tasters”. These are going to be the ones with the most trouble eating .
1. START FROM THE FIRST MOMENT
When we refer from the first moment we refer from the pregnancy . When the mother eats, the baby receives through the amniotic fluid the flavors of the food that the mother takes because that liquid is made up of proteins, vitamins and other nutrients through the food. That would partly explain why there are babies who tolerate vegetables better than others, because they get used to those flavors before birth .
After birth, the same thing happens again, the child receives its food through the mother’s milk, whose taste will be different depending on its diet . Receiving a wide variety of flavors through milk will make the baby more receptive to all kinds of flavors in the future. Therefore, if you do not want to have problems regarding this issue in the future, it is advisable that you start from pregnancy to eat in a varied and balanced way, following the basis of the Mediterranean diet . The objective is that since childhood the baby experiments with these flavors so that in the future he better accepts these foods. It is even better that you take a preference for vegetables, fish and other less conventional flavors in this period (since eating sweet things will not require prior learning …).
2. REMOVE EVERYTHING THAT IS UNHEALTHY FROM THE TABLE
Many parents complain that their children do not eat healthy , however, at mealtime you always see Coca-Cola on the table instead of water, white bread instead of whole wheat or chocolate custard instead of fruit . To begin with, if you want your child to try new foods, there should be no more options on the table because they will always go for the known . And some will say: “is that if not, do not eat anything.” And what is the problem? He may not eat anything at that meal, but when dinner comes hungry he will certainly object to the plate less. The problem is that if they have the possibility to choose another type of food that if they like it, they will never try anything new for themselves.. For example: if the child gets off without trying the midday puree but at snack time he eats cookies, we are not getting anything, only that he arrives with more anxiety to the snack and has a bad time, he may even swell.
However, if we eliminate those unhealthy foods from the house, we do not give it a chance to snack between meals and sooner or later you will have no choice but to try new foods. Nor is it that the meals are composed only of natural or healthy products, the idea is to make a combination, with things that he likes but in less quantity than the others (so he does not fill only with what he likes).
The fear that the child will not eat is very common in parents and most of them live it with great suffering. They insist over and over that their child finish his plate. Regarding the quantities we must not be strict. If they finish the dish they can repeat calmly, but if they are not hungry, never force them to eat . Although it seems to you that they have eaten little, the nutritional needs are very variable for children and should not be compared between them. In short, the one who will know best who is hungry is your child , let him pay attention to his stomach. The fear that the child may be left hungry is irrational. There has not yet been any case of a child dying of hunger while having food on the table.
3. REPEAT THE EXPOSITIONS AND SET AN EXAMPLE
It is the golden rule, you cannot expect them to eat food that you eat from Easter to Ramos. If you want your child to eat carrot puree, be prepared to get fed up with him for a good season. Serve it frequently for the whole family and be the first to try it and continually repeat how good it is . Do not force him to eat it, do not scold him, or make a fuss. Serve him a very small amount at first and tell him that later he can have the second (something he likes more) and dessert. If you don’t eat it, remove it without comment, but keep your word . Never insist or threaten again and again because then you will be turning the vegetables into a negative stimulus and in the future you will be less likely to try them.
On the other hand, you must be a role model. That they see you preferring fruits to industrial pastries or fish instead of fried. Not just once, if not the more times the better. In the same way, insist on frequently putting those foods on the table cooked differently.
4. DON’T CHEAT AND BE PATIENT
There are parents who, desperate for their children not to eat vegetables or fish, mask pieces in their meals by treating their children as if they were fools. For example putting vegetables in macaroni, pizzas or even in cakes. This strategy is good if the child is aware that these vegetables exist and they realize that mixed with other things they taste good but they should never eat them without knowing they exist. Yes, we as parents may be calmer because we know that at least they take vitamins but if what we want is that they end up liking those foods they have to know that they have eaten them. If they discover that they have been taken deceived, you will only make them skeptical and trust you less in the future.