By Sade Meeks, MS,RD
Messy Monkeys are made for little taste buds! But what does that really mean? Are little taste buds different from “grown-up taste buds? How so?” Well, I plan to answer those important questions!
For starters, little taste buds aren’t really that little. Our little one’s taste buds are plentiful! Let me give you some perspective. An infant may have 30,000 taste buds in comparison to an elderly person who could have only 5,000. With such a huge difference in the amount of taste buds, you can imagine how things can taste different to a child vs an adult. One of the most common taste differences is seen in a child’s preference for sweeter foods. They are typically more sensitive to bitter tastes until adolescence. In general, we often see kids who prefer sweet tasting foods, however there are varying flavor sensitivities among kids.
Children of the same age can also have different tastes preferences. For instance, the common inclination for sweeter foods isn’t the case for a child with certain sensitivities to sweet flavors. That little one you never have to argue with about eating their veggies may be less sensitive to bitter flavors. That preference relates to a smaller percentage of children.
Why the differences in flavor preferences among children? It has a lot to do with our genes! For example, children and adults with two bitter-sensitive alleles (PP) are more likely to be more sensitive to bitter tastes, than those with just one. Though genes are one answer to the varying flavor preferences, we can’t ignore that fact that experiences can ultimately override the genes.
“Age and culture also contribute to taste preferences, at times overriding the influence of genetics.” (Science Daily)
Check out the blog post entitled Battle of the Taste Buds to learn about other factors that may contribute to taste preferences.
Messy Monkeys makes these healthy baked snacks, with your child’s taste buds in mind! Children will typically experience new flavors in a much more intense way than we do. For this reason, it’s important to closely manage the salt and sugar they eat. With children’s little taste buds in mind, we were inspired to create our new Messy Monkeys Baked Snacks!