Toddler Bites: More Than Mac and Cheese

| January 19, 2008 | 3 Comments

I admit that my son at two and a half doesn’t eat like many other kids. His diet isn’t limited to nugget-y things and mac and cheese. Although he does enjoy those things, they aren’t staples. He happily munches on Brussels sprouts (particularly my pancetta and basil Brussels sprouts), fish of all kinds, and anything with high flavor.

My husband recently bought a cinnamon chipotle rub to use on chicken we were making. I sampled the chicken and worried that it might be a little spicy for Will’s taste. I don’t know why I worried. I should know better. After all, when I was pregnant with him I ate spicy food almost daily. The cravings for nachos with lots of jalapeños were killer (and I didn’t deny them – at all). Plus all the spicy items from the Chinese restaurant I frequented (walking there negated the calories, right?) and the Fire sauce from Taco Bell . . . hey, I never, ever said I ate healthy food. So, it should be no surprise that Will has a taste for fiery flavors too. Anyway, Will ate a lot of that chicken breast. A lot. Without a mention of it being too spicy (which he does know enough to say).

How did Will get a broad palate? He didn’t have any other option. I just don’t and won’t subscribe to the train of thought that toddler food should be bland or that they shouldn’t eat what everyone else is eating. From the time Will was old enough to chew food, he’s been sampling and eating the same things as my husband and I. Aside from the fruit and vegetable purees that I started him on — and made myself with a hint of spice — he’s been eating real food for nearly two years. And when we go to restaurants, I would rather feed him off my plate than order him chicken fingers in a pasta place or a hamburger in Japanese steak house. Seriously, why do people do that to their kids?

In the real world, breaded, fried chicken pieces are not the universal food.

So my advice? Feed your kids real food. Flavored food. Why should their taste buds be deprived?

Category: Feeding Kids

About the Author ()

Sarah Walker Caron is a freelance writer, editor and recipe developer. Her work has appeared in countless online and print publications including iVillage, BELLA NYC Magazine, Yum for Kids magazine and more. She lives in Connecticut with her two kids, two beagles and husband.

Comments (3)

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  1. Patti says:

    This post reminds me of when I told Ralph about how you were giving baby Will snippets of garlicky meatballs when we went to lunch a long time ago. He thought that was a great way of introducing him to real food, and to get him to enjoy it.

  2. Sarah Caron says:

    Hey Patti,

    You remember that? Will loves everything garlicy — must get it from his mother! What did Ralph think of that anyway?

  3. Patti says:

    He thought it was a great idea, and he wishes we had given our children more unusual stuff when they were toddlers.
    Live and learn!

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