Created in partnership with our friends at
Exploring taste and texture with kids through nature is probably not the first thing you think about when you head out to explore. In fact, with kids, tasting nature is probably one of the things you actively try to avoid. And while your slightly older little humans (around 2-3 years of age) can understand that only some things in nature are edible, our littlest children can’t quite figure out why blueberries are okay to eat and rocks are not.
One really easy way to explore taste and texture with babies and toddlers is to bring along snacks that they can eat and use these snacks to talk about different tastes and textures of food (soft, firm, crunchy, chewy, etc.). If you or your older children are snacking on blueberries, you can offer your baby a pouch with blueberries in it or maybe Beech-Nut’s Dino Biscuits with Prebiotics, which also have blueberries in them. While everyone is eating, talk aloud about how all the snacks have blueberries in them and how blueberries taste. Or if your older child is eating crackers, offering a crunchy baby and toddler-friendly snack like Beech-Nut’s Crispeas is a great way to talk about texture.
And all of this learning will help your children later if you want them to explore nature through taste and texture by picking berries or eating edible flowers. Learn more about this with our blog post: Exploring Nature Through Taste.
Why do tastes and textures matter?
If you’ve ever fed babies and toddlers, you already know they rarely like food the first time they try it. In fact, sometimes feeding these young kiddos the fruits and veggies they need can be a battle because new tastes and textures take time to adjust to. According to the USDA, it may take up to eight to ten exposures for an infant to accept a new type of food! Offering a variety of these different tastes and textures can help young children adjust to and enjoy new foods, plus develop fine motor skills and the basics of eating like a big kid. Different textures also help little ones along developmentally as well. For example:
- Smooth foods (like veggie pouches) help babies learn to swallow food that is thicker than milk, and can start at 6 months of age.
- Soft foods (like Melties with Probiotics) help them learn to chew and swallow, but easily dissolve too! These can start around 8 months of age.
- Crunchy, crumbly, and chewy foods (like Crispeas, Dino Biscuits, and Mini Waffles with Hidden Veggies) help strengthen jaw muscles and can help prevent picky eating as children age. Generally, young children are ready for these foods around 12 months of age.
Smooth and melty soft foods are then followed by crunchy, crumbly, waffly, and chewy firm foods, like these options from Beech-Nut
Most of us are familiar with the Beech-Nut® brand and know Beech-Nut® is famous for its Naturals & Organics Jar Purees. But, did you know they have created a line of Beech-Nut® toddler snacks featuring fun & favorite tastes & textures? If you are looking for snacks to help with the taste and texture needs of young children and are super easy to pack for a hike, an older sibling’s sports activity, a walk around the block, or a trip to the grocery store with ease, Beech-Nut® has several options. Be sure to check them out here!
When you have young kids, there are so many different things to think about and pack for outdoor trips and trips to the store. Not having to worry about what snacks to pack for your babies and toddlers, really does make things easier. Now, you just have to remember to pack them. (HA!)