7 secrets to weaning fuss-free eaters

Try these tips to prevent your baby from developing into a picky eater…

New Content Item

Have a kid who will only chow down on plain rice or bread-crumbed nuggets and sweets? You count yourself lucky to get a tiny piece of veg on past their lips.

Well, it really doesn’t have to be this way. By setting the foundations of healthy, balanced eating with your little one now, you’ll be able to maximise your chances of fuss-free mealtimes and a healthy diet later.

Here’s what to do…

1) Encourage more adventurous tastes

Picky eating is partly genetic. Some children are simply born fussier than others. But that doesn’t mean parents should just accept picky eating. Encouraging a diverse palate can help you counter this tendency.

Professor Marion Hetherington, a biopsychologist at the University of Leeds in the UK, believes that what parents do when introducing solid foods can make a significant difference. “Research has shown that if babies are given a wide range of healthy foods from 6 months onwards, they are likely to develop healthy eating habits.”

Nobody loves every type of food. Accepting this can take the pressure off your child and reduce any fussiness.

2) Introduce variety in the first weeks of solids

Younger babies tend to accept new textures and flavours more readily than slightly older ones, when a certain natural wariness kicks in. By bringing as many different foods to them between 6 months (when you start to wean) and 9 months, you’ll maximise the chances of your baby happily eating them longer term. 

And we do mean lots — aim to offer five different fruits and vegetables every week. To make the most of this window of opportunity, vary the textures too.

“If vegetables or lumpy textures are only given at, say, 9 months of age, then this predicts lower acceptance of vegetables and fussier eating later in childhood,” Professor Hetherington explains.

3) Sneak veg into your baby’s milk (yes, really!)

The idea of mixing vegetables and milk might turn your grown-up stomach, but this can be a very effective way of ensuring that baby gives them a go. 

Professor Hetherington explains, “At around 6 months, add some vegetable purée to breast or formula milk, to give [them] just a taste of this new food using a spoon. After exposing your baby to a range of vegetables in milk in this way, say over 12 days, then try vegetable purée in baby rice. 

“Finally, gradually reduce the rice component to offer pure vegetable. This will ensure that your baby is given the new flavour alongside a well-liked one.”

Tried these three? We have four more tips — read on!