While your child’s taste buds are developing, it’s important for them to be exposed to vegetables in their natural state, so as not to set up unrealistic expectations that veggies (and other foods) are sweeter.
This is especially true when it comes to introducing solids. Babies need to be given the opportunity to experience the natural taste of less-sweet vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, before sweetening them with pear or apple puree. Teaching babies and young children to enjoy a wide range of flavours and vegetables is important and will ultimately help to avoid future challenges and fussy eating behaviours.
Snacking on fruit
Fruit contains the intrinsic sugar fructose, and whilst some fruits contain more fructose than others (mango, banana, dates, and grapes), many fruits have a low glycemic index such as strawberries, blueberries and kiwifruit. So giving children fruit as a snack or dessert is perfectly fine, especially if it’s replacing a refined sugar snack.
It’s important to note that fruit should not be a child’s main tummy filler and is best paired with a protein and healthy fat that will keep children satiated for longer. Eg. Try apple slices with some nut butter or berries with yoghurt.
How much fruit should my child be eating?
The recommended guidelines for children are two serves of fruit per day. But if your child is active and plays sport, an extra serve of fruit is ok, as long as it doesn’t replace other foods in their diet. Once your child has had their 2-3 serves of fruit per day, offer veggies as a snack instead.
An engaging way to offer this may include some vibrant fresh veggie sticks with a delicious dip, like a homemade hummus or tzatziki. Including a vegetable-based dip will not only add important protein to their diet but boost their overall veggie intake too.