We all know how easy it is to get our little ones to eat anything sugary and sweet - like cookies, ice cream, and candy. But when it comes to introducing healthy snacks into their daily eating routine, they may not have the same enthusiasm.
From sour faces to food thrown on the floor, feeding high-quality, wholesome, and healthy snacks can be a challenge. But vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and other snacks will help give your baby sufficient amounts of the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals they need for healthy growth and development.
Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for making snack time healthy and happy.
The first 1000 days (which covers conception to a baby’s second birthday), is a vital time of development that will impact your baby’s food preferences and choices as they grow. Here is how to advance healthy eating habits in this critical time:
Babies’ taste preferences start before they are even born! Because flavors are transmitted from the maternal diet to amniotic fluid and breast milk, mothers who consume a variety of healthful foods throughout pregnancy and lactation provide their infants with an opportunity to learn to like these flavors. This in turn eases the transition to healthful foods at weaning.
Early learning about flavors continues at weaning and when your baby is starting solids. Frequent exposure to a variety of foods will help shape long-term healthy eating habits for your little one.
Food preferences begin early and will be influenced by positive and repeated experiences with a variety of foods. These include healthy baby snacks like pureed peas, smashed avocado, pureed fruits, fish, protein-rich foods, iron-rich foods, and whole grains.
Your child is most likely to accept new foods during their first couple of years of life than any other time later on. When they are ready to eat solids, help them become adventurous eaters by introducing new snacks from every food group.
When trying different tastes and textures, it can take up to 10 or more tries before your little one will begin to accept and like it. That’s especially true with snacks that aren’t salty and sweet, like vegetables.
There is also a span of time where your little one will be more likely to refuse new foods and snacks, or reject foods they used to eat. That’s okay. When this happens, don’t force them to eat. Instead, continue to offer healthy foods on repeat, and they will learn to love them!
When you’re trying to introduce new snacks (like vegetables) try to mix them into an already accepted snack. For example, you can puree a new vegetable and mix it with breastmilk, applesauce, or cereal.
You can also try different cooking methods for different foods, like steaming, roasting, or sauteing, as a way to add flavor and increase the likelihood that they will accept more healthy foods.
Some More Healthy Snacking Tips: