Why it's actually a good thing if your child plays with their food, according to experts

It’s likely that at some point in your life you were told off for playing with your food. You might have even reprimanded your own child for doing just that once or twice.

And if you have, you wouldn’t be alone as according to new research by baby food brand Ella’s Kitchen, a third of parents still consider playing with food to be bad behaviour.

But it turns out it could actually be a very good thing for your child, especially if you are keen for them to try new foods and have more fun at mealtimes.

Studies show that little ones who engage and have fun with food using all their senses, in and outside of mealtimes, are much more willing to try those foods, and over time, learn to love them.

© Getty Images Three little children holding slices of fruit and vegetables over their eyes.

The findings by Ella’s Kitchen showed how 41 per cent of parents thought getting their children to try or eat certain foods was more stressful than a trip to the dentist, being stuck in traffic or even moving house.

But it no longer has to be this way.

To provide inspiration and bring the fun into food and mealtimes, Ella’s Kitchen is offering parents the chance to get their hands on an expert-designed tasty, touchy, squishy Sensory Play Pack, created to help little ones from six months to three years fall in love with good food through fun, multi-sensorial games.

Created in partnership with childhood eating behaviour expert Dr Helen Coulthard from De Montfort University and Ella’s Kitchen’s expert nutritionist Claire Baseley, the packs are bursting full of sensory elements, designed to help the three in four parents that admit they still struggle to get their little one to try new foods at mealtimes.

Each Sensory Play Pack includes touchy, feely, textured stickers, a sensory play activity booklet packed with recipe and game ideas, fruit and veg rainbow snap cards, a sensory play wall chart, The Purple One pouch, and some little Ella’s Kitchen socks to play a great herby smelly socks game with.

Claire Baseley, Ella’s Kitchen Nutritionist says: “Parents often find it hard to get their children to eat new foods, with vegetables often topping the list of most challenging foods to introduce – but did you know, it can take up to 8-12 experiences of a food before your little one accepts it?

“The first few experiences with a new food might result in a few funny faces, but patient perseverance is key and a fun and enjoyable experience with food now can help build confidence and curiosity as they grow and make them more willing to try new things, including a variety of yummy tastes and textures.

“At Ella’s, we want little ones to fall in love with good food and enjoy their earliest mealtime experiences which is why our Sensory Play Packs are designed with this in mind – to help you let your little one enjoy mealtimes by exploring new foods in fun and exciting ways.”

To get your little one’s Sensory Play Pack, spend £25 on Ella’s online shop and enter the code SENSORY25 at checkout… but be quick, once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Ella’s Kitchen Nutritionist Claire Baseley’s top tips for engaging the senses at mealtimes

Time for texture!

Let little hands feel the different textures of foods as you prepare a scrummy meal, like a bumpy avocado skin. Then explore the squishy, creeeamy, silky smoooth texture inside too!

No foodie faves!

Try to treat all foods as equal at mealtimes or during sensory play and avoid singling out any disliked foods, like veg, as being super yummy, healthy or fun. Little ones are clever and will get suspicious!

Finger food fun!

Encourage your little one to explore their finger foods using the senses and ask them lots of questions… Is it yummy? Squidgy? Hard? Soft? Bumpy?

Offer a variety!

Allow your little one to touch, squeeze, sniff + play, without pressuring them to eat, especially if it’s a disliked food. If they don’t want to try it, encourage them to pop it on a side plate… they’ve still engaged with it without being told to eat it.

Looks yummy!

Keep going with the visual adventure at mealtimes! Even if little ones are eating pureed or mashed food, they can still explore whole fruits and veggies with all their senses to get familiar with the colours and shapes. Show your little one the ingredients you’re using when prepping a meal and talk about the different colours + shapes. This way, they can also see the journey to their bowl or high chair!

Do you have a parenting story to share? We want to hear all about it. Email us at yourmirror@mirror.co.uk

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


Best Greedent build in Pokémon UNITE | Best held items, battle items, and moves

© Provided by Dot Esports Greedent has joined the battle as the latest Pokémon added to the Pokémon UNITE roster, and it is arguably the most confusing Pokémon to describe ... Read more »

Opinion: Meghan isn't Michelle Obama - why she should stay out of politics

OPINION: It’s not hard to understand why Marie Antoinette annoyed people in poverty-riven Revolutionary France. Her head should have stayed firmly on – chopping it off was an act of ... Read more »

Bayern Munich Alumni: Bastian Schweinsteiger recalls David De Gea sought Manuel Neuer comparison

After Liverpool’s 5-0 thrashing of Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, former Bayern Munich and Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger went of BBC 5 Live to discuss what had ... Read more »

Post Match: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at San Jose Earthquakes

© Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports The Vancouver Whitecaps find themselves in a curious position as the 2021 MLS season reaches its climax. In a turbulent Western Conference where every spot ... Read more »

"My reaction still surprises me to this day." 27 mums on the parenting moments that hurt the most.

© Getty Images “My reaction still surprises me to this day.” 27 mums on the parenting moments that hurt the most. This week, my dear 11-year-old son decided that he ... Read more »

ITCZ to cause rains over NCR, other parts of the country

Rain storm weather disturbance umbrellas sickness disease flu prevention disaster announcement monsoon thumbnail generic 178122558 weather-storm weather-rain news-weather rain thumb weather thumbnail The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) currently affecting Southern ... Read more »

Revolution II 1 - 4 North Texas SC

© MLS IT Revolution II head coach Clint Peay watches from sideline Clint Peay and Revolution II returned to action on Saturday evening as they traveled to Choctaw Stadium in ... Read more »

Carlos Yulo wins silver in parallel bars finals of World Gymnastics Championships

Screenshot from FIG/YouTube Carlos Yulo wrapped up his campaign in the 50th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships with a silver medal for the parallel bars finals on Sunday. The Filipino ... Read more »

Ester Balit Den Bosch

Het nieuws: Een vrouw uit Den Bosch vermoordde haar halfzus met een mes, filmde dat en verspreidde de beelden, dat is zondagmiddag de laatste Stand vanzaken. De politie riep op ... Read more »

Arizona soccer shutout by Stanford for ninth consecutive loss

Photo courtesy Kelani Falasco The Arizona Wildcats were shutout for the fourth time in five games Sunday, falling to Stanford 4-0 in Palo Alto. The Wildcats have now lost nine ... Read more »

Arsenal first half intensity against Aston Villa must be the blueprint

© Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images What a difference it makes to go from Monday to Friday. On Monday, a passive Arsenal saw a bright start fall away to a ... Read more »

Houston Dynamo exchange own goals in loss to Austin FC

© Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports The Houston Dynamo looked to best their newest Texas rival, Austin FC, when they traveled I-10 to Q2 Stadium. However, Austin was eager to do ... Read more »

Resident Evil's Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine are now available in Fortnite

© Provided by Dot Esports Capcom and Epic Games are back at it again with another crossover—this time bringing a new tinge of horror into Fortnite via the world of ... Read more »

Koeman: Barca are getting ‘closer to winning big games'

© Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images Ronald Koeman reckons his Barcelona team are getting closer to winning some big games after losing 2-1 to Real Madrid on ... Read more »

Chelsea 7-0 Norwich City, Player Ratings: Mason Mount opens the floodgates

© Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images 1. MASON MOUNT (9.6) The hat-trick may have had a healthy dose of stat-padding involved in it, with the game long-won by ... Read more »

Pacquiao, Mayweather look to renew rivalry - on basketball court

© Provided by SPIN.ph BOXING rivals Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. may find themselves on a collision course again – but this time on the basketball court. The “Mayweather ... Read more »

Swann urges more investment in health as latest Army hospital deployment ends

Health Minister Robin Swann (right) with Corporal Lewis Maxwell (left) and Private Benjamin Brown, during a visit to the Ulster Hospital (Jonathan McCambridge/PA) Northern Ireland’s health service needs additional funding ... Read more »

Yulo wins gold in vault world championship

Filipino gymnast Carlos Yulo ruled the vault event final round to win a gold medal at the 50th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships at the Kitakyushu General Gymnasium on Sunday ... Read more »

Dot Esports' official PGL Stockholm Major power rankings

© Provided by Dot Esports CS:GO players, teams, and fans have waited over two years for the return of the Major, the most important tournament in the scene. The prestigious ... Read more »

New Kapamilya Lovi Poe returns to Metro with High Fashion Cover

Metro presents the rebirth of Lovi Poe. The daughter of The King, Fernando Poe Jr., is finally home in ABS-CBN, and her new chapter begins with a high fashion Metro ... Read more »

Johnny Russell coming up clutch just when Sporting Kansas City need him

© Provided by 90min Russell has scored in a club-record seven consecutive MLS appearances. | Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports In a league decided by playoffs, saving your best form for ... Read more »

No. 1 FSU soccer falls at No. 6 Duke

© Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat via Imagn Content Services, LLC No. 1 Florida State (14-1-1, 7-1-1 ACC) lost 1-0 to no. 6 Duke (12-2-1, 6-2-1 ACC) today in Durham, NC. Game ... Read more »

The dodgy deals rocking the royal family revealed on 60 Minutes

Their titles bring entitlement, but how much should the British royal family be allowed to exploit that privilege? That’s the question that was probed by Channel 9’s 60 Minutes show ... Read more »

Gary Neville admits pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is 'intolerable'

© Provided by 90min Solskjaer is under immense pressure at United | OLI SCARFF/GettyImages Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has admitted the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hitting ... Read more »

Sunshine Cruz explains her freelance status as an artist to netizens

Through a facebook post on Thursday, October 21, Sunshine Cruz explained her freelancing status after netizens questioned her loyalty to her network. © Provided by LionhearTV Cruz returned to GMA ... Read more »

How to Change Your Overwatch Name for Free

In honor of Cole Cassidy’s name reveal, Blizzard is allowing players to change their Overwatch usernames for a limited time. Blizzard Entertainment has finally revealed the new name for its ... Read more »

Highlights of Roma's 0-0 Draw With Napoli

© Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images Following a crushing defeat in the Conference League, I would guess that most Romanisti would say that a confident and undefeated Napoli is the ... Read more »

Robin Fraser 'proud' of Colorado Rapids for securing MLS Cup Playoff spot

© Provided by 90min Fraser has guided Colorado to the playoffs in each of his two full seasons in charge. | C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports Robin Fraser has expressed ... Read more »

Verstappen felt unsure aggressive strategy beat Hamilton for US GP win

© Steven Tee / Motorsport Images Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B Verstappen lost the lead from F1 title rival Lewis Hamilton at the start, but was able to get ... Read more »

Dybala saves Juve at Inter, Napoli's perfect start ends

© Vincenzo PINTO Napoli’s Victor Osimhen thought his offside goal should have stood at Roma Paulo Dybala saved Juventus on Sunday with a controversial late penalty which earned his team ... Read more »

Ronald Koeman's car mobbed outside Camp Nou after Clasico defeat

© Provided by 90min Barcelona lost the Clasico 2-1 | Eric Alonso/GettyImages Ronald Koeman’s car was mobbed as the Barcelona manager attempted to leave Camp Nou after his side’s 2-1 ... Read more »

Cloud9 aim to carry NA's final flag to Worlds 2021 semifinals in tomorrow's match against Gen.G

© Provided by Dot Esports The 2021 League of Legends World Championship has produced multiple exciting storylines so far, including the LJL’s historic group stage qualification and the LCK’s stranglehold ... Read more »

JoJo Siwa went brunette to match her 'Dancing With the Stars' partner Jenna Johnson for Halloween

© Provided by INSIDER JoJo Siwa dyed her hair brown to match her “Dancing With the Stars” partner Jenna Johnson. Danny Moloshok/Reuters; JOCE/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images JoJo Siwa revealed on Saturday that ... Read more »

Kylie Padilla on Aljur Abrenica: "While we were formally married, I never had any extra-marital relationships with other men."

© Provided by PEP.ph Isa-isang sinagot ni Kylie Padilla, 28, ang mga paratang sa kanya ng estranged husband na si Aljur Abrenica, 31. Inamin ni Kylie na totoong siya ang ... Read more »

Florida Mayhem welcomes back Checkmate as DPS

© Provided by Dot Esports As one of the Overwatch League teams aiming for a complete shakeup of their roster going into the 2022 season, the Florida Mayhem has continued ... Read more »

Analysis: How Tunisia reached financial meltdown

© Provided by Al Jazeera Tunisia’s President Kais Saied meets newly appointed Prime Minister Najla Bouden Romdhane in Tunis last month [File: Reuters] Tunis, Tunisia – The shock that followed ... Read more »

The Queen to be joined by another royal on future visits in case of health scares

The Queen will be joined on future public visits by another member of the royal family to avoid letting people down in case of health scares. The 95-year-old monarch spent ... Read more »

No assassin, no problem for Blacklist's Wise

Photo: Blacklist International/Facebook After completing their back-to-back championships with a dominant Game 5 win, the whole Blacklist International squad was visibly emotional in the post-game celebration but none more visible ... Read more »

Sounders vs. Sporting KC: Highlights, stats and quotes

© Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports A slow start put the Seattle Sounders in a hole but a strong start to the second half allowed them to equalize and put them ... Read more »

NHS mental health referrals to surge by a third due to pandemic

Forecasts from The Strategy Unit suggest that the number of referrals for mental health help will rise by 33 per cent in the next three years – Adam Kuylenstierna/EyeEm Mental ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic