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  • Writer's pictureIlaria Galliano

One teaspoon at a time

Updated: Apr 12

The first meals and tastes that children experience are an important part of their growth. As parents, we put a lot of love and attention into preparing a balanced and healthy diet to serve at the table. However, there are times when children may appear uninterested or even refuse the food. 

During the weaning process, babies are introduced to new smells, scents, colors, flavors, and textures. They explore solid foods by using their senses of sight, taste, and touch. This process requires patience, as we should take it slowly. There will be days when the child seems eager and delighted to eat, while on other days, they might appear disinterested and unenthusiastic.

What can we do to encourage children to explore and appreciate new flavors? 

Babies who begin eating solid foods are introduced to a whole new world of sensory exploration. From taste and smell to touch and even hearing, this phase is a crucial part of their growth and development. While there are many different strategies parents can use to facilitate this transition, it's essential to understand which approach works best for each individual child. By helping them to enjoy meals with a sense of ease and pleasure, we can set them up for a lifetime of healthy and positive eating habits. 

For instance, we can observe how our children handle and taste different types of food by paying close attention to their facial expressions and verbal feedback, which helps us determine their preferences. It's a good idea to sit with them at the table and eat together, providing support and guidance throughout their journey of discovering new foods. By dedicating time during meals, we will transmit a sense of calmness and attentiveness to our children. We can also experiment with colors and creativity by presenting a dish with a visually appealing appearance.

If our children do not eat everything or dislike a particular meal, we should not get discouraged. Instead, we can let a few days pass and try the food again. 

What if the child really doesn't want that food?

When a child refuses to eat something, it's important to avoid forcing them to eat it. Instead, we should listen to our children and offer a helpful and calm attitude. Forcing a child to taste something they don't want to can make them uncomfortable and lead to a total refusal of that food in the future. By being patient and understanding, we create an environment where children feel comfortable to explore and experiment with food.

How to behave in this situation?

It's essential to approach a refusal with a welcoming and understanding attitude. While it's natural to have your own preferences and tastes, it's equally important to encourage your child to try different kinds of foods to make an informed decision. It's worth investigating the reasons why your child doesn't like a specific food.

You could ask yourself some questions like: is it the shape, consistency, scent, or color of the food? 

To find answers to our questions, we could experiment with the presentation of the dish. For instance, we could alter the consistency of the dish or suggest a fun activity like searching for stars (pasta) inside the dish and 'fishing' for all the chickpeas. This way, we could enjoy the meal while finding answers to our queries.

The experience at the table for the little ones is a whole world to discover, we together with them, one teaspoon at a time, transmit trust, pleasure, joy, and the desire to be together in this culinary discovery.

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