Learning to Eat: How Food Preferences and Eating Habits are Formed Early in Life

5 min read /
Growth & Development

With the introduction of age- and developmentally-appropriate complementary foods at 6 months, infants and toddlers learn about the different tastes and textures of a variety of new foods. Interestingly, the first 2 years of life offer a window of opportunity to learn healthy food preferences and eating habits that can last into childhood and even beyond. For example, timely introduction of lumpy and more textured foods promotes oral motor development, which in turn supports acceptance of increasingly complex textures. In addition, oral motor skill development is related to language development. For more information, including how to introduce unfamiliar tastes, see the following infographic.