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Good Housekeeping
Jennifer Chan, Assistant Managing Editor
February 19, 2012

Teach Your Kids to Eat Finger Foods on Their Own to Help Them Develop Healthy Eating Habits

Feeding them pureed food is only effective up to a certain point. By Jennifer Chan

FN moms, perhaps the time has come for you to start weaning your baby off of baby food. According to a new study published in the BMJ Open, allowing your toddler to eat on his or her own is better than spoon-feeding him or her with puree. 

The study involved 155 children between the ages 20 months to six-and-a-half years old. Their parents were asked to answer a questionnaire regarding the children’s food preferences and eating habits as well as their height and weight. 

Based on the results, 93 kids were eating bite-sized finger foods on their own, while 63 were still being spoonfed with puree. The more independent kids appeared to like food rich in carbs (for example, toast), while the more dependent kids showed a preference for sweets. The finger food-eating babies also had a healthier weight, while the spoonfed kids were more obese.

These results suggest that kids who learn to eat on their own are more likely to develop healthy eating habits. Researchers believe that this is because they learn how to pace themselves and their appetites at an early age. The fact that they can actually discern perceptual qualities in their food might also have something to do with it.

As parents, you can try weaning your child off their usual blender-processed meals and start introducing bite-sized solid foods for them to try. Start with incorporating fruits and vegetables into their daily meals and take it from there.

For more on children and eating, check these out on FN:


(Photo by avlxyz via Flickr Creative Commons)

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Jennifer Chan
Assistant Managing Editor
Jennifer Chan was a contributing writer for Female Network for two years before formally joining the team as a staff writer in July 2012... Read more...
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