Our healthcare professionals answer your questions about pregnancy, birth and beyond. This time, Lucy Jones looks at introducing new foods

How can I encourage my one-year-old daughter to be more adventurous when it comes to trying different flavours and textures?

It’s entirely normal for a one-year-old to be cautious. However, it’s important to expose children to a wide variety of tastes and textures from a young age in order to help lay the foundations for healthy eating habits.

If toddlers don’t like a new food at first, try, try and try again. It can take up to 25 attempts before they learn to like it. Studies have shown most parents stop offering after five, which is far too early. It’s also good to eat the food in front of your child so they see you enjoying it.

Don’t blend everything into a smooth purée. Leave some lumps and stir through wholegrain or Arborio rice, pieces of meat and veg, and pulses like lentils or quinoa.

Try adding a new flavour to a meal you know they love; add some chopped parsley or a pinch of mild curry powder to their favourite cheesy pasta. They are more likely to embrace new flavours if it’s in a format they are familiar with. And be sure to offer lots of praise when they do try new things.

Lucy Jones, nutritionist for Little Dish

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInGoogle+Email to someone