Children Eat What They Enjoy, and Enjoy What They Know….
Humans are omnivores – they’ll eat anything that looks nutritious, and therein lies a problem: they can also poison themselves in many different ways. So evolution came up with a solution. Make the young generally ‘neo-phobic’ (fear of new things’) that is, wary of unfamiliar foods. Another great strategy is to get them to copy their mother and only eat what she eats, as it’s should always be safe.
So we copy our Mum.
When we’re in the womb we swallow the amniotic fluid and learn the tastes of the foods that our mother has just eaten. When we breastfed we share her taste experiences similarly. In this way her food preferences programmes our brains into liking the same foods. Then she introduces us to spoon-foods and this allows us to accept and enjoy those foods as well.
By the end of the first year we should have had a wide experience of good foods that our family eats and likes.
Just as well. At 1 year our evolution says that now we are mobile (when we can toddle off and experiment with eating poisonous berries in the garden) we should eat only what we have already experienced. Our neophobia becomes more powerful to protect us. Toddlers generally don’t like unfamiliar stuff to eat!
The bottom line is to make sure that in the amniotic fluid, in the breastmilk and later on the spoon there is only good quality, healthy foods. In this way we programme our babies as they grow to enjoy food that will nurture their bodies and give them a long and healthy life.