The tastebuds of children are not as hard to shape as many people assume. Childhood taste buds left to their own devices, however, can form poor eating habits that last a lifetime.
In an NPR interview with Bee Wilson, author of “Baby’s First Bite”, Wilson makes the point that as humans, we’re all hardwired to prefer sweetness. Wilson says “Many people have interpreted this to mean that we’re doomed to grow up and love junk food. It must mean that we’re hardwired for cupcakes – not so. All of our specific tastes for particular flavors are learned.”
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.
Perhaps the most interesting point Wilson brings up, is the idea of “kid food,” and how the market has catered to this idea that children naturally need sweeter and, more mild foods. Separating “kid food” and “adult food” may actually be the problem. Children’s taste buds are more malleable than adults; by feeding your kids whole plant foods, typically seen as “adult foods”, you are taking advantage of these impressionable years, and setting them up for better eating habits in adulthood.
It is always possible to shift our palettes as adults, however, raising children on a WFPB diet presents a unique opportunity with long lasting benefits. In an article by Dr. John Mcdougall, “Raising Plant-Based Children,” he points out the necessity of raising children on whole, plant based foods:
Sadly, one-third of all children born in the year 2000 are expected to develop diabetes during their lifetime. Additionally, artery disease (atherosclerosis), leading to strokes and heart attacks, and common cancers of the breast, colon and prostate, also begin in childhood. These trends have led to the conclusion that the current generation is expected to have a shorter lifespan than their parents. Misinformation about the nutritional needs of children is the first and foremost stumbling block to regaining their lost health and appearances.
Shaping your children’s taste buds early in life isn’t just about shaping their palate, but it’s an optimal opportunity for preventing sickness and disease, and giving them the tools they need for an adult life of optimal health. Teaching our children to enjoy whole plant foods is one of our greatest tools of prevention. Fortunately, there are numerous resources providing tips, and helpful information on raising your kids on a whole foods plant-based diet.
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.
Whether you’re transitioning to a WFPB diet with an older child, or a toddler, try starting out with some of these resources:
- The Happy Herbivore: Raising Herbies
- Naked Food: Raising Children on a Plant-Based Diet
- PlantPlate: Plant-Based Eating for Kids
- My Plant-Based Family: Plant-Based Kids
- T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies: 7 Plant-Based Family Tips from Chef Mom & Dietitian Dad
- T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies: Eat Your Vegetables! Getting Young Children to Eat Healthy (Dr. Spock)
- NutritionFacts.org: Tips to Get Kids to Eat Healthier at Home
- The Engine 2 Diet: Plant-Strong Kids