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How Food Preferences Are Developed in the First Two Years of Life

How Food Preferences Are Developed in the First Two Years of Life

There are many children who have very particular food preferences, which can be understandably frustrating for parents—especially if their kids have unhealthy food preferences. What many parents don’t realize is that these unhealthy food preferences are often developed in the first two years of their lives.

In the first two years of life, kids are constantly learning, which is also when food preferences tend to form. Most food preferences are learned, although some are innate. Developing healthy food preferences is extremely important for children, as it will directly impact their eating behaviors, which are linked to overall health, wellness and the possibility of obesity.

It can be very difficult as a parent to get your little one to eat healthy—but it is so important, particularly while they are young. After all, there are many companies who target their sugary and unhealthy foods specifically to parents and kids. While these foods may taste great, and can be an easy way to get little kids to want to eat something (over fruits and vegetables), it is a slippery slope for parents and kids alike.

There are so many different “kid-friendly” snacks out there right now, and it can be easy for parents to gravitate towards snacks and food items that are marketed towards children. It is even easier for kids to want to grab these fun and colorful snacks. However, just because a product says it’s “for kids” it doesn’t mean it is “healthy for kids.” In fact, according to a study from the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity found some pretty interesting statistics on baby and toddler snacks. They concluded that only 4 out of 80 tested snacks met nutritious standards and that 50% of baby food snacks and 83% of toddler food snacks had added sweeteners in them.

Eating sugary, fatty or salty foods, or eating servings that are disproportionate to a child’s needs are all ways in which kids can develop poor eating habits and food preferences. Although these preferences can be unlearned, it can be more difficult as your child ages or reaches adulthood. Unfortunately, the marketing of food to children in the media is unregulated, so it is up to parents to make sure they are diligent when it comes to their child’s healthy eating choices.

If you have more questions on what you can do to help your child make healthier eating choices and develop healthier food preferences, contact Continuum at 817-617-8650 to schedule an appointment with us today.