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More than half of parents want their kids to eat more of this

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family, food, eating and people concept - happy mother with puree and spoon feeding little baby sitting in highchair at home
(Photo by Ground Picture via Shutterstock)

A new survey revealed more than half of parents find it ‘challenging’ to introduce new foods to their young kids.

The survey of 2,000 new parents found that 55% have a child with picky eating habits who is hesitant to try new foods, with a majority worrying their kids might not get the nutrients they need because of their fussiness (83%).

Two in three parents want their young kids to explore new foods, but it’s no surprise that four in 10 feel stressed when offering foods their children are unfamiliar with.

Commissioned by Gerber and conducted by OnePoll, the study further revealed that 55% of parents want to introduce their children to more plant-based proteins, but 47% said they don’t know how to incorporate them into their little one’s diet.

Just as many (55%) struggle to find foods that are nutritious, interesting, flavorful and can be safely fed to their children.

For parents struggling to feed their children more diverse foods, the most common barriers include a lack of information about the types of nutrients their child needs (45%), the child’s preferences (28%) and cost (22%).

More than half (54%) of parents also admitted they don’t know enough about the nutrients available in plant-based foods to feel confident feeding them to their children.

“We hear from parents that they want more plant-based options that align with their food values,” said Gerber President and CEO Tarun Malkani. “That’s why we want to reassure parents there are more nutritious, developmentally appropriate options available so they can feed their little ones a diverse diet.”

Three in five (62%) feel it’s important for their child to explore new foods. Meanwhile, 55% said it’s important for their children to eat the same diet as they do. A third of parents surveyed described both their children’s diet and their own as being flexitarian.

Parents also claimed they and their kids share five plant-based protein meals per week.
When asked what their children’s current favorite foods are, parents said chicken (32%), yogurt (30%), strawberries (30%), bananas (29%) and fish (25%) took the top spots.

Parents also shared that spinach (23%), beans (22%), fish (22%), peas (21%), and corn (20%) were labeled the “worst of the worst” for their kids.

The meals parents and children have explored together include plant-based protein alternatives (39%), different grains and legumes (36%), bread alternatives (35%), citrus fruits (33%) and meals that have been seasoned (32%).

“It can take up to 10 times for baby to accept a new food – so don’t give up,” said Dr. Whitney Casares, Gerber’s pediatric medical consultant and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “For parents looking to incorporate plant-based choices, I advise 'feeding baby the rainbow' from a variety of foods (whole grains, fruits, veggies, meats, fish, legumes, etc.)”

TOP 10 FLAVORS AND FOODS PARENTS HAVE EXPLORED WITH THEIR CHILDREN

  • Plant-based protein alternatives - 39%
  • Interesting grains and legumes - 36%      
  • Bread alternatives - 35%       
  • Citrus fruits - 33%
  • Meals that use seasoning - 32%
  • Umami flavors - 30%
  • Garlic - 27%
  • Common herbs - 26%     
  • Turmeric - 22%       
  • Ginger - 21%       

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