Encouraging Your Child to Appreciate Their Taste Buds

by Cheryl Tallman

trying out broccoli and dipEncouraging healthy eating is about balance -- even when it comes to taste. Toddlers are well known for picky eating. A typical time line for accepting a new food is: seeing a food first on the table, then on their plate, finally choosing to taste it and eventually eating it. Here are a few tips that can help you expand or improve the balance in your child's taste buds.

Experiment with Tastes: Allow your child to experience and identify the four unique tastes that make up flavor – sweet, salty, sour, bitter. Taste small amounts of different ingredients to identify which taste category they belong to. This can be a fun kitchen activity when preparing dinner!

Stay Balanced: Good taste is a balancing act. Include a variety of tastes in your meals and encourage your child to try all foods. Experiencing the same tastes all the time is not a path to healthy eating.

Ask Them and Talk About It: When you hear "that's yummy!" or "Yuck -- that's terrible!" -- ask which flavor is best or bothering. The more you understand your child's taste preferences the easier to guide (and expand) their food choices.

Sweet Tendency: Both breast milk and formula are sweet. It is the first taste we develop and as a result we're already "off balance" when we begin eating foods. It is believed the earlier you introduce your child to other tastes, the better chance you have of keeping a "sweet tooth" from overpowering the taste buds.

Cheryl Tallman is the co-founder of Fresh Baby, creators of the award-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit, and author of the So Easy Baby Food Basics: Homemade Baby Food in Less Than 30 Minutes Per Week and So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips and Simple Recipes for the Toddler Years. Visit Cheryl online at FreshBaby.com for more delicious tips.

Copyright © Cheryl Tallman. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.