The average intake of vegetables for an Irish pre-school child is just one measly portion per day. So how do you introduce a variety of fruits and vegetables to help ensure your little one develops a taste for healthy foods from an early age?
Did you know? If you feed your smallies vegetables at an early stage, the chances of them accepting a greater variety of healthy choices at the dinner table in the future will increase. Try these simple tips…
1. Start weaning with baby rice mixed with your baby’s usual milk to help your baby get used to a slightly thicker feed and eating from a spoon. A vital part of the weaning experience is to encourage babies to enjoy a wide variety of foods from a young age, including slightly more bitter tasting foods like vegetables as well as the sweeter tasting foods like fruit.
2. Time to introduce those veggies. It is recommended that you introduce one new food every 1-2 days. So if you start with baby rice mixed with your baby’s usual milk, after a couple of days you can then introduce a new food.
Start by introducing plain single vegetable flavours such as cauliflower, carrot or turnip, before beginning with fruits. This will help form their taste for vegetables and also healthy eating habits for the rest of their lives. You can mix plain vegetable puree with baby rice for more variety but don’t be afraid to keep offering new veggie purées on their own every 1-2 days. Remember: It can take up to ten times of you offering a taste before your baby may accept it, so perseverance is key!
Follow this simple model:
- START – with a single veggie.
- VARY – with different single veggies.
- REPEAT – with the same veggie flavours in exciting new combinations.
3. Now you’re really getting going. If your baby is happily taking about six teaspoons at a single feed, you can introduce a second spoon-feed in the day and slowly build up to three meals. Once they have been introduced to a variety of different vegetables, you can start to introduce fruit too. Then, continue to offer lots of new foods such as fruits, lentils, chicken and beef, for a whole new world of taste and variety.
To help you in your quest, “Cow & Gate Friends” have developed savoury vegetable pouches, spanning from first spoons to 10 months + with tailored vegetable & vegetable and meat combinations. These wonderful weaning varieties are available in all major retailers now.
Solid foods should be introduced around 6 months and not before 17 weeks of age. Use Cow & Gate friends products as part of a varied weaning diet. For more info, click here.