NYC-based pediatrician and mom of three, Dr. Deena Blanchard of Premier Pediatrics, shares her top tips for guiding your little ones to healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.

As a mom of three boys, I understand how important it is to parents to set and maintain healthy eating habits from the start. Below are some tips to help your little one off on the right foot with feeding and prevent picky eating down the road.

Start with veggies first. Build the palate foundation with savory foods like veggies. As your baby grows and comes to love fruits and veggies, mix them up. So if your little one loves pears, try an Ella’s Kitchen favorite ‘Broccoli, Pears and Peas’.

Be patient and persistent. Encourage your little one to try a variety of tastes and textures! Try different foods more than once, as it may take over 10 times (you read that right!) for little ones to accept a new flavor.

Use quality ingredients. Choose organic ingredients when possible. Organic foods are grown without the use of potentially harmful chemical pesticides that may negatively impact your baby’s growth and development. When on-the-go, I like Ella’s Kitchen products; they’re made with ingredients just like you would use at home. They use real lemon juice, no artificial preservatives, and certified organic fruit + vegetable puree not from concentrate so that little ones experience the full flavor!

Don’t be afraid of bold tastes. Utilize a variety of herbs, spices, and unique ingredients. Yes, lil’ foodies can have spices too! You can check out some fun recipes on this site, along with ideas to turn pouches into fun meals as your little one grows.

Commit to family meals. Enjoy mealtime! Your little ones are watching you eat and appreciate good foods with them. Trying new foods and discovering new flavors together as your foodie grows help create a good little eater and foodie for life.

Creating healthy eating habits and introducing a wide variety of tastes from the first bite can be really helpful in creating a lil’ foodie and a child who will maintain lifelong healthy eating habits. Think of your child’s palate as a blank canvas that you can influence and early on and have sustained effects. Your goal as a parent is to create a healthy relationship with food. Most importantly, have fun! This is an exciting time for you and your little one, enjoy your journey to creating a lil’ foodie!

Deena Blanchard MD, MPH is a board certified pediatrician working at Premier Pediatrics. Dr. Blanchard has been with Premier since 2009. She completed her residency training at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of Columbia Presbyterian; where she was awarded Physician of the Year in 2007. There she served as a family advocate as part of the family advisory comity. Prior to attending medical school, she completed her Masters of Public Health at Temple University with a focus on health education. Dr. Blanchard attended Medical School at Albert Einstein College of Medicine where she was awarded Alpha Omega Alpha and The American Women’s Association Glascow Rubin Achievement Award. She currently guest blogs for many child-parent sites.

Premier Pediatrics is an established pediatric practice with locations in both Brooklyn and Manhattan. They have been tending to children for over 30 years with a strong focus on state of the art medical care and family wellness. They offer prenatal visits free of charge which can be scheduled by either calling the office 212-598-0331, 718-369-0817 or via our Prenatal Guide. Be sure to like them on Facebook.