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Texture preferences of 12-month-old infants and the role of early experiences

The present study examined infants’ preferences for different food textures and aimed to identify factors that play an important role in shaping these preferences. In a home setting, 70 twelve-month-old infants were exposed to cooked carrots prepared in two different textures; pureed and chopped. Infants’ mean intakes in grams for the pureed and the chopped carrots were 70.9 ± 49.1 g and 24.6 ± 28 g respectively. Infants consumed significantly more pureed carrots ( t (69) = 8.50, p < 0.001) and mothers’ rating of the infants’ enjoyment for this texture was significantly higher ( t (69) = 3.65, p < 0.01) than for chopped carrots. However a great variability in the consumption of chopped carrots was found within the infants. Spearman’s correlation and PLSR analysis showed that familiarity with different textures, especially chopped foods, is the strongest predictor of intake and liking of chopped carrots. Furthermore, infants with higher dietary variety, more teeth and a greater willingness to try new foods were more likely to consume more of the chopped carrots. Food pickiness and fussiness had a negative influence on the intake of, and liking for, chopped carrots. The present research is a first step to explain the variation in infants’ consumption and liking of different textures. It highlights the importance of not only varying the child’s experiences with different flavours but also with different textures to foster the infants’ transition to an adult diet. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Food Quality and Preference Elsevier
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