In our last blog post, we mentioned that we decided to launch lil’gourmets after confirming with medical research that this was an ideal way to begin feeding kids. So, what is this medical research?
We asked our Pediatric Advisor, Dr. Rupa Mahadevan, to explain in her words the latest research related to first foods and infant nutrition.
A Word from Our Pediatric Advisor
Emerging evidence suggests that introducing infants to nutritious eating patterns can set the stage for a healthy diet throughout their lives. This important research has several key takeaways:
- Repeated Exposure: Familiarizing children to a varied diet that meets nutritional needs for growth and development is a skillset that can be modeled through repeated exposure and a positive food environment that fosters a variety of healthy foods with different flavors and textures.(1)
- Importance of Diversity in Vegetables: Individual patterns of food preferences in infants and eating behaviors emerge depending on the foods offered. Studies show that infants who are repeatedly exposed to different vegetables not only eat more of the vegetables to which they are exposed but also eat more of the novel vegetables, than did infants repeatedly exposed to only one vegetable.(2)
- Importance of Diversity in Flavor: Infants learn through repeated exposure to a variety of foods that vary in both flavor and texture. Exposing infants to multiple sensory contrasts of meal flavors provide more opportunities to develop flavor preferences. (3)
- Short-Term and Long-Term Benefits: The introduction and repeated exposure benefits them not only in infancy, but to also combat the rising obesity epidemic in our country.
With their focus on global flavors and their veggie-first promise, lil’gourmets veggie meals were developed with this research in mind and offer a convenient way to increase consumption of both vegetables and flavor variety. The minimal processing (4) of the product and focus on recipes allows children to truly taste the flavors of the vegetables and herbs without masking it with fruit sugars which is what helps build preferences for vegetables over time.
lil’gourmets has so many unique tastes that are a real treat to expand the palate and provides balanced nutrition. I recommend it to families starting solid foods, as sauce or dip for picky eaters who need more vegetables in the diet, as well as to patients looking for healthy alternatives to applesauce and pudding.
About Dr. Rupa Mahadevan, MD FAAPGeneral Pediatrics | Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Northwestern Medicine
Dr. Mahadevan completed a specialized fellowship in Integrative Medicine through the University of Arizona after her pediatric training which sparked her passion to educate and promote wellness in children. Prior to medical school, Rupa worked as a nutrition counselor, and she is passionate about educating parents how to cook healthy meals for their children. She has her own blog promoting wellness in kids which you can find at www.kidchendoc.com or you can follow her on Instagram at @kidchendoc.
What Dr. Rupa's Advice Means for lil'gourmets
As you learn more about first foods and nutrition for your lil'ones, and decide what works best for your family, we've summarized what makes lil'gourmets so unique vs. other baby and toddler foods:
- Our veggie-first promise means that each meal is 70-95% vegetables and beans combined with nourishing healthy fats like coconut milk and olive oil, delivering 1+ daily serving of veggies/beans per cup
- Our six authentic global recipes use unique chef-crafted spice blends to introduce the varied tastes of Morocco, India, Spain, Australia, the Middle East, and the U.S. to our youngest eaters
- Minimally processed and sold refrigerated to be closest to homemade, lil’gourmets has a thicker texture than other prepared baby foods
- With only 2-5g of natural sugars and no added salt or sugar, lil'gourmets has less than half the sugar of national brands, which allows the taste of our fresh veggies to really shine
- Pediatrician-approved for 6 months and up, our ready-to-eat flavors are great as a meal for babies or a snack, side, or dip for toddlers & older kids.
Any questions or comments? Feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!
- Gerrish CJ, Mennella JA. Flavor variety enhances food acceptance in formula-fed infants. Am J Clin Nutr 2001; 73:1080–5.
- Foterek K, Hilbig A, Alexy U. Associations between commercial complementary food consumption and fruit and vegetable intake in children. Results of the DONALD study. Appetite 2015;85:84–90.
- Mennella JA, Reiter AR, Daniels LM. Vegetable and Fruit Acceptance during Infancy: Impact of Ontogeny, Genetics, and Early Experiences. Adv Nutr. 2016;7(1):211S-219S. Published 2016 Jan 15. doi:10.3945/an.115.008649
- lil’gourmets products utilize a non-thermal pasteurization process (high pressure pasteurization or HPP) and require refrigeration. Benefit is fresh, homemade taste with minimal nutrient degradation vs heat-pasteurized, shelf-stable products.