Broccoli, zucchini, arugula, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, beets and more. In a country with such a variety of fruits and vegetables, it seems impossible to imagine that your child does not like – almost – none of them. But just offer the spoon with something green or colored for him to refuse to eat. And it seems that there is nothing to change his mind.
Calm! It doesn’t just happen there in your home, but it is possible to turn the tide. A review of 11 studies published in the scientific journal Pediatrics , of the American Academy of Pediatrics, proved – once again – that food preferences, especially with regard to fruits and vegetables or sweet drinks, defined during the first two years are long-lasting. In other words, it is an incredible window of opportunity for you to offer healthy foods to your child and ensure that he has a balanced diet throughout his life.
To arrive at this result, the researchers analyzed the diets of 1,500 6-year-old children by comparing their eating patterns with those observed in another study that followed the same children during the first year. According to pediatrician Kelley Scanlon, of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention at the American Academy of Pediatrics and one of the authors of the research, it was possible to notice that children who consumed few fruits and vegetables when babies remained with the bad habit until 6 years old.
It seems easy to change this scenario, but you know well that in practice it is not so. The secret is to be patient and insist. “Children can take up to 7 days to get used to the new taste of a food. In general, parents offer food at most three times and give up ”, explains pediatric nutrologist Artur Delgado, from Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein (SP).
So if you offered your son braised zucchini and he refused, offer the same baked food the next day. If he refuses again, do the same for the next few days, varying the preparation. It can be raw, in the form of a puree, like dumplings, in soup … Probably he will get used to the taste and accept the food. But if, over the course of seven days, your child refuses to eat, it may be a sign that he really doesn’t like it. “It is clear that parents can start offering the vegetable later on, but already knowing that the refusal was total previously”, warns Delgado. In other words, you don’t have to insist so much this time, okay?
Another key point in conquering your child’s taste buds is to set an example. “From 10 months onwards, the child already has a more definite perception of the environment. She perceives the structure of the food and the people eating around it ”, explains Delgado. That is why having meals with the whole family sitting at the table and eating, of course, the same food is quite an incentive for your child to eat well. Make this moment pleasant, almost fun, so that food is seen as pleasure.
We don’t even have to say about turning on the TV and other screens during meals. They may even make your child eat, but that way the child is not paying attention to the taste of the food. You are just swallowing your food while you are entertained with other things, that is, you are not learning to eat, which is the main goal.