As children grow up, they become fussy eaters. They only want to wear certain brands and listen to a particular type of music, you know the drill. Well, it’s the same with food; but only if you let them have their way!
As a parent, you’re in full control over what your child has to eat. However, from time to time this role will be reversed and you’ll find yourself giving into tantrums. What does this mean? Dessert will be allowed, even though the main meal has barely been touched. Vegetables will be left, and chips, and yet more chips, will be devoured.
This is when children start to become picky eaters. They’ll decide they no longer like peas and will insist on only eating their pasta if it comes with tomato ketchup. Why? Because they know they can get away with it.
But if you introduce a variety of flavours from a young age, you will find your child will be more accepting of different foods. It’s important to incorporate culinary spices and herbs into your child’s diet as early as you can.
You don’t want to feed your children anything too spicy at first, but if you start with a little spiced food on a regular basis, their pain receptors become pruned and become ‘food smart’. If you give your child fiery food often enough, they’ll get used to the spiciness and eventually, they’ll be wanting more.
So how can you familiarise your child with new flavours? Follow these rules and your child will be food smart in no time:
#1 Start Early
The earlier you expose your child to exotic flavours such as basil, cinnamon, coriander, cumin and turmeric, the better. This way, from a very young age your child can enjoy the same meals as you. Children love to be treated like adults; they spend their entire childhood replicating chores such as cooking and shopping through play. To eat the same meal as mum and dad is a triumph! Open up your child’s taste buds to different flavours through cooking with spices with them; but be sure to leave out the chilli….for now anyway!
#2 Practice What You Preach
It’s no good trying to persuade your child to eat something if you won’t eat it yourself. Children can always sense trepidation in a parent so if you’re hesitant to try something, you’ve got no hope whatsoever of them trying it. Be sure to try new food and they’ll follow suit.
#3 Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Don’t completely abandon your child’s personal comfort zone, baby steps are essential when it comes to introducing your child to spices. There’s no point in rushing in with guns blazing, just work within your child’s limits. You know better than anyone how your child will react to strange and new experiences– if they’d prefer to dip sushi in ketchup rather than soy sauce, so be it. Take it in your stride that they are eating sushi in the first place!
So now you know how to introduce your child to new flavours, stock up on some herbs and spices and watch your children enjoy some exciting new food.
About the author: Just Ingredients
‘We are passionate about culinary and botanical ingredients, seeking out the best herbs and spices from the top producers around the world’.