5 Tips For Getting Your Baby to Eat Different Foods!
My son KB is such a good eater and it’s something that I brag about all the time. His daycare teachers frequently comment on how diverse his meals are and how well he eats it all. I’m tempted to say he inherited his ferocious appetite from both mom and dad. I eat all day long and his dad orders two dinners at restaurants.
He started solids at about 5 months old. I wasn’t shy about giving him pureed fish (trust me, it's not that bad!) , vegetables, and meats to diversify his palate. It was a slow start but he adapted well. At 18 months, he eats very well and turns down very few foods. Interestingly enough, he hates peanut butter!
Check out my tips below if you’re looking for new ways to coach your little one into trying new foods. These tips can be helpful no matter where you are in the transition process. Being a nurse, I was super paranoid about food allergies. I practice introducing new foods a few days apart and watching for any signs of rash, stomach upset, or trouble breathing (yes, I’m dramatic at times).
1. Offer different textures
KB won’t eat certain foods in solid form. I still puree or mash beans, leafy vegetables, and red meat. I try to keep track of which foods he only eats as pureed and offer it in that form. Occasionally, I try giving it as a solid to see if he’s graduated.
2. Experiment with temperature
I figured this one out by accident. For a long time, I tried to get KB to eat beans. He just wouldn’t do it. It went in and came back out. One day I was honestly too lazy to warm up his lunch (pureed beans) so I just took it out the fridge and started feeding him. It worked!
3. Add fruit
Lets be real. Not too many adults can eat sautéed vegetables without something extra to spice it up. My “baconize Your Vegetables” post shows you exactly how much I loooove vegetables (and bacon lol). For babies, food can be spiced up by adding a little fruit. KB eats a load of spinach, kale, and beans without even realizing he’s being tricked. I just puree everything together in a blender! Unsweetened applesauce is the quickest add-on for all foods you make for your baby. Just adding a small amount makes it more palatable. Other fruit ideas include mashed/pureed banana and mango.
KB always looks at his fork before starting a meal. Sometimes new foods don’t pass the test and he quickly pushes my hand away with an attitude! I use educational YouTube videos like Wheels on The Bus and Old McDonald to distract him and bypass the KB test. I first felt a little conflicted about this because I pictured myself raising a genius screen-free baby when I first became pregnant. That quickly changed after I started raising him on my own. I needed time to cook, time to shower, time to use the bathroom, and a good distraction to introduce new food!
5. Lose the high chair
My son is generally a free-range baby. He rarely spends time in his play yard and I don’t have baby gates. He is free to roam around the apartment with supervision and PLENTY of redirection. KB also eats on the go. I place a water cup and snacks (cup of cheerios, cheese, boiled egg-whites, blueberries, and strawberries) near his baby couch at the beginning of each day. He frequents the snack bar throughout the day, eating and drinking whenever he feels like it.
6. Monkey see, monkey do
KB is notorious for eating other people’s food so my sister frequently hides to keep him away from her tasty meals. He will run up to you with his mouth wide open like an alligator so I use it to my advantage. Getting him to try pieces of whole vegetables and fish if he sees someone eating it.
Transitioning to solids can be tedious but also fun. My best advice for helping your little one become a good eater is to experiment. Try different textures, temperatures, and colors. If all else fails, use distraction.