When it comes to mealtime for our little ones, there is one rule that many of us (myself included) have to remind ourselves of on a regular basis: Just because we do not like a food doesn’t mean that our little ones will feel the same way! In fact, experts suggest that it takes a young child an average of seven tries of a particular food (in seven separate feedings), to make a “final” judgement as to whether or not they like a particular taste. And even beyond that, we all know that the preferences of our little ones often change with the wind. Those crackers they couldn’t get enough of yesterday, just may be the bain of their existence today. Ahh….they sure do keep us on our toes don’t they?
In my almost 4 years of mama-hood, I have made it a point to offer my littles tastes of just about everything that we adults eat at mealtime. That part is easy. What can be a bit more difficult is remembering to offer them tastes of foods that we may not typically include on our “favorites” list. Foods that maybe we have an aversion to or simply have always THOUGHT we wouldn’t like. This is where I have had a few surprises along the way…foods I thought there was no way my kiddos would eat, let alone ask for again down the road. Turns out, when we present foods to our kids without bias, they make their own judgments and sometimes, the verdict just may surprise you. Many of them are typically on the “yuck” list for kiddos, but all are packed with nutritional goodness, and when prepared correctly and presented in a positive light, they may just be asking for more!
Here are a few to try that have surprised me along the way:
1. Lima Beans – Yup….probably my personal least favorite legume, but my kiddos LOVE them….frozen. Weird? Maybe, but they eat them like candy and I call that a win!
2. Beets – You will for sure have to pop the little ones in the bath after a meal of these puppies, but the fun color and easy to eat consistency, makes for a winning combo.
3. Brussels Sprouts – Hop on Pinterest any time and you are sure to find numerous recipes for these beauties…don;t let your own childhood hatred for them stand in your way. Try them…and share them. I bet your opinion just may be changed!
4. Cauliflower – From tots, to poppers, to pizza crusts, this is one versatile veggie and it is a favorite in our house!!
5 . Shellfish – Obviously, make sure your little one is age-appropriate before trying this one, but peeling, cracking, and shucking is FUN for the wee ones. Yes, be prepared to help and for mealtime to take a while, but you just may have some great photo ops!
The moral of the story: When it comes to feeding your little ones and setting them off on the right foot for proper nutrition, be sure to check your own food biases at the door. It can be tough for sure. But feeding my little ones had broadened my own palate along the way and opened my eyes to new flavors I never thought I would love. Just another surprise on this little journey we call parenthood!