What does shark meat and family meals have in common?! I used to be the…
Picky Eater Problems?
We all know that mealtimes with babies and toddlers can be difficult. The single greatest challenge that the vast majority of my clients face is the Picky Eater Problem. Moms know their children need healthy foods but can easily get overwhelmed and distressed trying to find items their kiddos will actually eat.
Finding enough options that they will eat and providing a variety of nutrients in a well-balanced meal can be tough. Having to play the guessing game day in and day out can be frustrating and exhausting.
But you feel like you have to, otherwise, your kiddo will be subsisting solely on mac-n-cheese or pb&j. And we can’t have that, now can we? (No seriously, can we? Asking for a friend ;))
My goal is for you to have meals that are fun and enjoyable – not chaotic and miserable! So today, I would like to share a little tip with you.
This is just one piece of the picky eating puzzle, but it will give you some insight as to WHY your toddler is refusing certain foods. If your kiddo is not wanting to eat at all – that’s a different story, and you can read my post on that here!
Are you ready for this knowledge I am about to drop for ya?
It is how to distinguish whether your child does not like the TASTE of the food, or if they do not like the TEXTURE of the food!
Oftentimes, toddlers (and babies, obviously!) are not able to tell us what they like or don’t like, let alone describe their preferences for certain tastes or textures!
That means we have to be detectives, and this trick will aid you in your investigation.
So how can we tell why they don’t like certain foods?
You might be saying, “What does it matter? Why is it important whether it’s the taste or the texture? Either way, my kid isn’t eating it!”
Well, let me tell you – knowing why your child refuses certain foods makes playing that guessing game a whole lot easier. It can give you so much insight as to what foods to plan, prepare, and introduce to your little munchkin.
Humans possess more nerve endings in our mouths than in our hands, so texture plays a huge role in our food preferences! This is a tactile process. If your little one does not like the texture of their food, they will have an immediate response.
Touch receptors are sensitive and will react instantly to a texture they do not like. Usually, you’ll see them spitting food out or pushing it out with their tongue. In general, you’re looking for a reaction where they try to remove that food from their tongue right away.
In contrast, taste is a chemical process! Once food lands on your child’s tongue, their taste buds send signals to their brain, which then interprets the information. This process takes 1-3 seconds. If your little one does not like the taste of their food, they will have a delayed response.
Kinda like adults, kids can sometimes take a second or two to decide if they actually like that flavour. They may react with a whole body shiver or shudder. Or even better, sometimes they’ll make the “this is yucky” face. Just like the one they do when they bite into a lemon.
Now you try!
It’s a very subtle difference. Every child will have a slightly different way to express what they are feeling. You will have to watch yours closely to get an idea of how they react to taste versus texture. With some practice, you’ll be able to tell in no time!
Make sure to comment below to let me know if this tip helped you, and which foods you have discovered to be a taste issue or a texture issue! Were there any that you thought might be a texture issue but now you’ve realized it’s a taste reaction?
Head on over to our Baby and Kids Holistic Nutrition Facebook group to get more great tips.