Living / 3 October, 2023 / Ellie Thompson
Helping parents introduce more variety into their children’s diets
Did you know that nearly half of parents (48%) admit their kids munch on just six or fewer types of fresh food every week? It’s not surprising, then, that 54% of parents find it tricky to come up with creative ways to introduce new foods to their little ones.
The Organix A-Z of Great Food wall chart and hub have been carefully curated by nutritionists to help spark a love of great food from the offset. The A-Z of Great Food for kids includes a range of nutritious and healthy foods, flavours and textures. From favourite fruits to challenging vegetables, bitter flavours and unusual textures, the 26 foods found in the Organix A-Z will help to get your child enjoying a wide variety of foods so they grow up into happy, healthy eaters.
Mummy Nutrition’s Top 10 Tips
Expert Dietitian Mummy Nutrition has put together a handy guide featuring support and top tips to show how you can incorporate the Organix A-Z of Great Food at home. Get ready to make meal and snack times with little ones fun and enjoyable!
1. Preparing and serving
Make sure vegetables and fruits are cooked and cut appropriately for the age and ability of your child. It is important to remember that every baby is unique and has their own rhythm of development! Cooked vegetables are often chewed more easily; both steaming and microwaving are great options. Raw carrot and apple should be grated for younger children.
2. Persistence in palate development
If your child refuses to eat a new food, try not to be put off, as it may take several exposures before they accept it. Research shows that children should be given unfamiliar foods as many as 10-15 times to help develop and support regular consumption! Try again in a few days time and consider cooking and serving it in a slightly different way. You could try some food play. Make a funny face out of the fruits/vegetables, or make some fruit kebabs.
3. Lead by example
Role model – if you want your child to try new foods, make sure to eat the food with them to show them you enjoy it! Try to keep mealtimes calm, try not to add any pressure, and make it relaxing (if possible)!
4. Exploring foods through play
Spell out your child’s name using bricks or cards with letters on, and add the corresponding foods according to the Organix A-Z of Great Food wall chart next to each letter. Talk about where the food comes from, where it grows (on trees/ underground) and how you can cook and eat it. Aim to use the foods in their meals and snacks across the week.
5. Inspired by healthy heroes
Talk about what your child’s favourite characters, or superheroes may like to eat by spelling out their name using the wall chart. Ask your child if they would like to eat the same foods. Add them to your next shopping list and bring your little one food shopping with you to choose the foods, so they feel a part of the process.
6. Nutritional innovation
Think about creative ways to add nuts into your child’s diet. Whilst children should not be given whole nuts (as they are a choking risk), they can have ground nuts stirred into porridge or yogurt, or a smooth nut butter on toast (make sure it has no added sugar/salt).
If your child has a particular nut allergy, you can use a seed instead. The NHS advises introducing foods that can trigger allergic reactions one at a time and in very small amounts so that you can spot any reaction. These foods include cow’s milk; eggs; foods that contain gluten, including wheat, barley and rye; tree nuts and peanuts (serve them crushed or ground); sesame; soya; fish and shellfish (do not serve raw or lightly cooked).
7. Empowering eating
Have a go at letting your little one serve themselves from bowls of food at the table so they feel more in control of what’s on their plate! They may like to serve you, too.
8. Smaller bodies mean smaller portions
Remember that your child’s tummy is smaller than yours. Their portions will be smaller. A handful of fruit or vegetables is a portion, and you can use their hands to determine what makes up their five a day.
9. Creative cooking
Show your child the fun recipe plates on the Organix website and have a go at recreating them together. Talk about which foods you can tick off on the Organix A-Z of Great Food wall chart as you go. From Hummingbird Oaty Bars to Broccoli and Cauliflower Trees fun plates, there are so many creative ideas.
Try to include at least one of the 26 foods from the Organix A-Z of Great Food wall chart each day. Remember that variety is key to a healthy and balanced diet. Try to leave a gap of three days before introducing a new food in case of allergies.
You can download your own A-Z Great Food wall chart from the Organix A-Z hub, along with an array of inspiring recipes, tips and advice, plus key benefits of each of the 26 foods.