It’s natural to want the best for your children. You do all that you can to ensure that they will be healthy, happy, and set up for success down the road. You take the time to teach them how to be good stewards of the world and conscious of how their behavior affects those around them.
Your child is always learning and experiencing new things, and a lot of the behaviors and habits that they learn in their early childhood can carry into their later years. You will be doing your little ones an invaluable favor if the habits and behaviors happen to be positive ones. One of the most important teachings you can instill in them is how to have a healthy relationship with their food.
Why Starting Early Matters
What a child learns in the first two years of their life informs and shapes much of their future. It is during this time that a child develops the base knowledge of the world around them as well as the foundations of language. Because of this, much of what you do within the first two years will have a profound effect on how your child views and interacts with food.
Though we have a biological need for food, our desires and preferences are not hard-wired into us. This is where the psychology of food comes into play. Food can comfort you, remind you of past experiences you associate with the sight and smell of a particular dish, and help you to connect with others.
This is why it is important to pay close attention to what your child consumes day to day. It may not seem like a big deal to reward your little one with a sweet treat when you are proud of them for succeeding in something, but it increases the likelihood that they will associate sweets with those pleasurable feelings. In the future, they may feel a natural desire to reward themselves with unhealthy food after passing an exam or getting a promotion without truly understanding why.
Choosing the Right Foods
It’s no surprise that breastfeeding your baby is generally seen as the best way to give them a head start in their development. After all, it does provide them with all of the necessary nutrients to help them grow while also building up their immune system. Eventually though, whether you breastfeed or use formula, you will have to make the switch to solid foods.
When you do transition over to solid foods, you’re presented with one of the best opportunities to aid in your child’s development. While they will gain the inherent benefits of consuming new foods like the introduction of nutrients not found in breast milk or formula, it also provides them with the opportunity to explore new textures and tastes. This exploration is vital to the healthy development of a child’s brain, and it is one of the first opportunities an infant gets to learn and experience things by themselves.
When adding in solid foods, you are also given the chance to get a head start in introducing healthy foods to your child. While yes, your child will naturally have preferences to certain foods, if you make a conscious decision to feed them healthy items the likelihood that they will enjoy them later on in life will increase. This is also a good time to slowly introduce things like shellfish, peanuts, cow’s milk and other items that are likely to cause an allergic reaction to see if your baby has any sensitivities.
Companies like Little Spoon deliver fresh, organic baby food right to your door. With tantalizing mixtures like chia mango coconut milk and blueberry chickpea spinach pear rosemary, you can relax and think about having fun with your baby instead of stressing out trying to find time to cook and puree your own baby foods. Little Spoon takes the guesswork out of feeding your baby by preparing amazing and delicious blends that make sure your baby’s first 1,000 days are filled with the proper nutrition that will set them up for a lifetime of health and wellbeing. If you want to give Little Spoon a try, you can get 15% off your first order with coupon code FASHIONABLEWIFE.
Cultivating Good Habits
If your baby doesn’t seem to like any of the healthy options presented to them, don’t worry. It can often take up to 20 attempts with a new food before an infant will even try it, let alone express a preference for it. Keep introducing a wide variety of healthy foods with unique flavors and textures in order to help them develop their palate, and you will reap the rewards in later years.
Consider making your own baby food at home with a blender or food processor that is able to puree items. By making your own baby food, you are in direct control over exactly what your baby is exposed to, and you won’t have to worry about preservatives or any other worrisome ingredients. It is also a good opportunity to introduce a greater concentration of vegetables than what is generally found in store-bought baby foods.
Making your own baby food at home is rewarding, but you may often find yourself too busy to make a special meal for your child. If this is the case, don’t worry too much — store-bought baby food can also have health benefits. While baby food at home can have a higher concentration of the veggies your baby needs, it can end up having a higher caloric and fat content than store-bought. Store-bought baby foods tend to have a lower variety of protein options and tend to focus on red meat instead of things like fish that have oils which aid in mental development. Striking a balance between home-cooked and store-bought foods can provide your baby with the best of both worlds. It can be a lot of work trying to give your baby the best, but meal delivery services like Raised Real and Little Spoon aim to take the stress out of baby food at home.
Enjoying the Results
If you spend a significant portion of your child’s early life working to build up that idea of eating healthy by choosing the right foods and cultivating good habits, you will soon see your hard work pay off. The first and most obvious result is that your child will be healthy, more inclined to make healthy choices for themselves, naturally choosing to avoid processed sugars and other not-so-good food items on their own.
Another benefit to helping your child develop a healthy relationship with food is that they will naturally become a more adventurous eater. By exposing them to a variety of flavors and textures early on, they will build an appreciation for the novelty of trying new foods. By not giving into your child wants when they express a desire for sweet or salty snacks, you are helping to expand their palate and help them to be less picky eaters.
This confidence in trying new and exciting foods will carry on into their adult lives as well. If they end up encountering new foods while traveling with family, they will be less likely to balk at it because it isn’t familiar. Even if they don’t end up finding it palatable, they will have tried something new and gained that experience, helping to shape them as a person.
Giving your child a head-start in their relationship with food is simple but can be time-consuming. It takes practice and dedication, but implementing these tips and staying consistent with them will do your baby a world of good as you feed your baby food at home. Always remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and when it comes to your little one nothing is more important.