Healthy eater - baby/toddler

Our mission: create a world where all children are healthy, adventurous eaters.

Designed by a mommy and daddy team (registered dietitian meets digital marketing expert), FlavorBaby is the first and only app designed to help parents raise children who will prefer the flavors of a healthy diet – for life. Utilizing an evidence-based approach and aided by the guidance of an advisory committee comprised of doctors, researchers, registered dieticians, chefs and parents, FlavorBaby makes it easy for parents to shape their children’s palates to create healthy eaters for life. Now eat up!

Marion Hetherington, D.Phil

FlavorBaby creators,
Mac and Jeanne McLaurin

advisory committee
Marion Hetherington, D.Phil

Marion Hetherington, D.Phil.

Professor Hetherington is a Biopsychologist with an interest in human appetite across the life span, with a specialist research focus on child feeding and mother-infant interactions during feeding. She obtained her  D.Phil. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Oxford and a B.Sc. in Psychology (1st Class Honours) from the University of Glasgow. Her post-doctoral training included fellowships held at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. Marion's research on the weaning process contributed greatly to the development of this app and served to inform aspects of the Habeat project.

Kimberly Trout, Ph.D.

Kimberly Trout, Ph.D.

Throughout her career as a certified nurse midwife and a failure-to-thrive nurse clinician, Kimberly Kovach Trout has focused on providing safe, high-quality care, including improving nutrition during pregnancy. As a researcher, Dr. Trout is working on establishing evidence-based guidelines for patients with gestational diabetes. She teaches midwifery and women’s health at Penn Nursing and, as a clinician educator, Dr. Trout also works to expand midwifery education and practice in developing countries, where it can dramatically reduce preventable maternal deaths. Her Pilot Study to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Intake in Latina Women, contributed to the creation of the FlavorBaby app.

Tracy Northam, MSBC, RDN, CLC

Tracy Northam, MSBC, RDN, CLC

Tracy is a Clinical Dietician and Certified Lactation Counselor specializing in Neonatology, nutrition support and pediatrics. Her work has included parental education on infant nutrition, nutrition research and data collection, as well as serving on multiple hospital advisory committees. She has a B.S. in Dietetics from the Indiana University and an M.S. in Business Communications from Spalding University.

Jeanne McLaurin, MS, MEd, RDN

Jeanne McLaurin MS, MEd, RDN

Jeanne is a nutrition consultant and guest lecturer with a focus on family nutrition and child wellness. Jeanne holds two Masters Degrees in Nutrition from Columbia University, an MS in Applied Physiology and Nutrition and an MEd in community nutrition education. She previously held the position of endocrine dietitian at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center and has earned certification as a health and fitness instructor from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Nancy Duran

Nancy Duran

Nancy is a qualified chef, food editor and recipe developer. Trained at the Cordon Bleu in Sydney, Australia, she began her culinary career in the kitchen of the critically acclaimed restaurant, Rockpool, working under the tutelage of the internationally famed chef Neil Perry. Working under the Australian Woman's Weekly brand, She’s published two cook books, Café Favourites and Cooking from the Pantry, and has served as a ghostwriter for celebrity chefs. She also contributed recipes to the cook book Fresh Foods for Babies and Toddlers. She currently serves as an editor for Fine Cooking Magazine and author of her blog The Ripe Earth – a guide to cooking farm fresh food.

Mac McLaurin

Mac McLaurin

Mac is a digital communications expert with an emphasis on food, health and wellness. He began his career creating campaigns for nonprofits such Organ & Tissue Donation, Northshore Hospital, and the CJ Foundation for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. His award-winning work for global brands as well as local charities and hospitals eventually led to the opening of his own digital marketing firm, Fifteen Degrees. Focused on mobile-optimized educational experiences, his work expanded into the food and nutrition categories with clients such as Cheeses of Europe, Olives from Spain, Little Duck Organics. Today he is the creator of FlavorBaby and, together with his wife Jeanne, is dedicated to the mission of creating a world where all children are healthy, adventurous eaters.

the research behind our evidence-based approach

While there are thousands of research articles and studies on Early Flavor Learning, during our 4+ years of studying the subject, a few specific research studies served to shape our thinking more than others. We’d like to thank their authors and acknowledge their important work with the links below:

Flavor exposure in utero and during breast feeding leads to specific food preferences over time.  – Lucy Cooke

A fetus develops a preference for the flavors of her mother’s diet and carries these preferences into childhood and adulthood.  – Kim Trout

The flavors of a mother’s diet are transferred to her breast milk. – Helene Hausner

Birth to aged 4 months is a sensitive period in human flavor learning and the effects of formula flavors last into adulthood. – Julie Mennella

Prenatal and early postnatal exposure to a vegetable flavor enhanced the infants’ enjoyment of that vegetable flavor in solid foods during weaning. – Julie Mennella

Breastfeeding and experience with variety early in weaning increases infants’ acceptance of new foods for up to two months  – Andrea Maier-Noth

Breast feeding along with early repeated exposure to vegetables (up to 10 tries in a 3-5 day rotation scheme at weaning) increased acceptance of familiar and unfamiliar vegetables at 15-months, 3 years and at 6 years of age. – Andrea Maier-Noth

Gradual step-by-step, repeated exposure to vegetables (in a 4-day rotation) during early weaning lead to infants eating more of those same vegetables, eating them faster, and liking them more. – Marion Hetherington

Children’s acceptance of new foods at weaning. Research suggests repeated exposure and variety could be the key. – Sophie Nicklaus

Food-related experiences during the first two years of life shape the dietary variety of school-aged children.Jean D. Skinner

Breastfeeding and the introduction of a variety of vegetables at weaning positively effects acceptance and repeated exposure is a powerful tool. – Sylvie Issanchou

Additionally, here a few comprehensive literature overviews that examine EFL and its impact on eating behavior later in life:

Early Flavor Learning sets the stage for life-long food habits – Gary Beauchamp

Breastfeeding and Introduction of Complementary Foods as Predictive of Food AcceptanceGillian Harris

Early Taste Experiences and Later Food Choices – Valentina De Cosmi

Complementary feeding: Vegetables first, frequently and in variety Lucy Chambers

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