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Research consistently reveals our baby’s early food experiences count when it comes to forming good eating habits.

Here are Rafferty’s Garden’s top 10 tips to grow a healthy food lover:

1. Progress on texture: Ditch very smooth puree as soon as soon as you can. UK research reveals delaying introduction of textured and lumpy foods may result in fussier food habits that can extend into school age years.

2. Don’t give up:

Keep putting offering refused foods. Becoming familiar with a food is the first step to actually eating it. Babies may need to see it 10-15 times before it’s ‘familiar’.

3. Less is best: Growth drives hunger and hunger drives appetite in small children and babies. And, because of this you can never tell if they’ll eat like a bird or a bear. Less on their plate means they can always have more.

4. A water habit: Introduce a proper rimmed cup with a little water when you start solids. Practice makes perfect with drinking and a water drinking habit will see them in good stead throughout life.

5. Shift your main: Consider making lunch the main meal. Tired babies and toddlers are often not interested in food.

6. Practice the division of responsibility: Parents provide (good food at appropriate times) and children decide (to eat or not). Trust in your baby’s own ability to know when they are hungry or not.

7. Self service: Encourage independence and new motor skills with opportunities to self serve from bowls in the center of the table – like a mini smorgasbord. Just try not to worry about the mess!

8. Keep it simple: Go for plain basic food. Hours spent on elaborate food preparation is easily lost on babies and toddlers and only fuels your disappointment when they won’t eat it.

9. Enlist help: Make food interesting somewhere other than the table. Involve toddlers in shopping, preparing and even growing food if you can.

10. Be a super model: Make meal times a family affair so you can model good eating habits. American research tells us our babies and young children are more likely to try new foods when they see us eating it.

Are your kids healthy food lovers? TELL US in the comments below. 

Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • An interesting mini article. Thanks for posting.

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  • What great advice! Thanks for sharing!

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  • Thanks for sharing . Great read

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  • My little one is testing me at meal times at the moment and I get down hearted when she pushes back the food I give her. But after reading this article I am just going to relax and try the food again another time.

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  • What great advice! Will definitely be using them in the future. Trying to get my little one to eat more finger foods and foods with more texture without gagging. She still has an overactive gag reflex which makes eating lumpy foods difficult and often a challenge to ensure she keeps the food down when she gags.


    • hopefully it is all good now. maybe she wasn’t ready for that stage

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  • I can relate to the water tip, Karen, I remember we always have water with food very early in our childhood. My mum was very smart.

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  • Lots of food choices leads to a love of lists of foods.

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  • My son loves his veg and fruit. Sometimes I have to hide his meat in his meals so I know he is getting enough iron and protein,

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  • It can get frustrating at times coercing children to eat healthy, some good advice. Even the best eater will go thru phrases where they refuse even their favourite foods. Patience is needed, lol

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  • Our little bub has a small child table in the kitchen. It usually has at least 3 different bowls. It has anything from grapes, raisins, carrot sticks, cooked rice, salads, canned pieces of fruit in them, as well as a cup of water. She’s only 1 year old but she’ll help herself if she’s feeling peckish.

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  • There are some great tips here!

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  • Great tips, I will remember these when the time comes. Thanks for sharing.

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  • First time mum here and I am always worried if I have or am doing the right thing when it comes to feeding my little one….reading these articles and comments are helping me.
    Ill have a crack at a couple of tips and see if it works for us.


    • yeah don’t stress too much, you will learn

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  • I love this article it’s full of great ideas.

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  • Interesting read!

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