Fed up by the sea of fruit-heavy, unbalanced baby foods on the market, Square Baby is proud to announce our commitment to Partnership for a Healthier America as a Veggies Early & Often partner!
And this partnership makes perfect sense for us: Square Baby is rooted in nutrition science and committed to Inspiring Healthy Eaters for Life. Through our balanced, “Square Meals”, we offer 100% Daily Nutrition meal plans that are customized to your baby’s age, stage, and dietary needs. We take the guesswork out of providing 100% of baby’s daily recommended servings of veggies, fruit, whole grains, and protein. We also embrace and offer a variety of textures, spices, and unique flavors to help baby become a “foodie” by fostering palate development for an adventurous lil eater.
Through our partnership, we will work together to transform the food landscape for our youngest eaters with the goal of raising a generation that loves vegetables and is free from chronic disease and obesity.
We will collaborate with industry leaders, health professionals, and early education partners to encourage innovative approaches to introducing and sustaining the consumption of a variety of vegetables that children accept and enjoy.
“Square Baby will lead by example. And call on the industry to join us.”
– Katie Thomson, MS, RDN, Square Baby Cofounder & CEO
PHA’s white paper highlights the shortcomings of vegetable offerings in the U.S. commercial baby and toddler food marketplace. It also provides key research on why early veggie consumption is critical to raising an adventurous eater and supporting early development and lifelong health outcomes.
4 Key messages of the “Yes, Kids Can Learn to Love Veggies” white paper:
1. Veggies early and often are critical to a happy, healthy life
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent chronic diseases and support weight management but unfortunately, only about 10% of children consume the recommended amounts of vegetables. Since the early years of a child’s life are a critical period for the development of healthy taste preferences and dietary patterns, it is an opportune time to cultivate vegetable acceptance.
2. Through exposure early and often, kids can grow to love veggies
Children are born with preferences for sweet and salty tastes, but not for the bitter, umami, or even spicy tastes of vegetables. It can take 10 or more tastes for a child to accept a new vegetable.The strategy of hiding or muting vegetable flavors, such as mixing them with more than 50% fruit puree, reduces a child’s opportunities to learn and enjoy vegetable flavors.
3. Early veggie variety is key to raising an adventurous, healthy eater
Introducing variety is just as important as quantity because each vegetable provides different nutrients that contribute to good health. Between 4 and 7 months of age, infants appear highly receptive to new flavors and textures and generally require fewer exposures than older children to increase acceptance. Beginning in the second year of life, children become more selective about what they eat. This rejection of new and unfamiliar foods, called food neophobia, is minimal during infancy but gets stronger as the child becomes more autonomous.
4. Role model for kids—cook and eat a balanced, plant-forward diet
Parents and caregivers are gatekeepers; their decisions about what, when, and how to offer foods to children can have as much influence as biology on children’s food preferences and acceptance. The vegetables a child is exposed to during the complementary feeding period should be part of the family’s typical diet and food environment, so that when children develop preferences for those vegetables, they continue to be exposed to them as the child fully transitions to table foods. Family-style meal times are associated with higher vegetable intake and children’s preference for vegetables and their vegetable consumption is predicted by eating approximately the same food as their parents.
For Parents, Caregivers & Medical Professionals, check out this super-helpful infographic!
Learn more about PHA’s Shaping Early Palates initiative and Veggies Early & Often campaign.