Shaping Young Taste Buds

Spurred on by a friends comments- that went something like this:

“To stay on my food soap box for just a bit longer, I find we are in interesting times when it comes to food. Cooking shows have never been more popular, however it seems the vast majority of our generation don’t know how to cook. I think it is partly due to our parents’ generation (not consciously), but in pursuing careers etc, traditions in cooking fell by the wayside and simple processed food came in to replace it. So, our generation didn’t have the previous one teaching us how to cook. This is not meant to be an indictment of women’s lib, but traditionally the cooking role fell on the female (that’s not good or bad, just how it was). Happily, it seems that there are more and more males willing to share or take over that role.”

– I started thinking about how messed up our current relationship with really is, and where does it begin?

I have very definite opinions on food, and our child’s relationship with it. Obviously, my papa-friend above does as well.  My guidelines for how to feed my son and the kiddos who come to our pre-preschool are listed on my Toddler Recipe page but here’s a quick rehash:

1) The food must be real food, not terribly processed.

2) It must be as fresh (and local) as possible. I never serve canned fruits or vegetables…although in the interest of time I do serve frozen vegetables, usually organic yummy kinds. That said, I will choose something local over organic, especially if the organic food has been shipped from far, far away. Our family tries to support local farmers as much as possible.

3) Don’t disguise the food. I like kiddos to know that we are eating, for example if kale is being added to a muffin mix (see kale muffins) I will involve the kiddos in throwing the kale into the blender so they know exactly WHAT made that muffin GREEN!

4) I am not a short order cook. I don’t cook special things for Darwin, or the kiddos at the pre-preschool. When we sit down to eat, everyone is eating the same thing.

I find that the quality of the food that kiddos eat determines their behaviors: in positive and negative ways. This was very apparent to me while working with kid with disabilities, why does it affect them in a more visible manner?…not sure, but that’s a topic for a different day. That aside, we are what we eat. If you want a energetic, alert child then offer whole, nutritious foods. If you want a kid who is happy to lounge with you on the couch, but also throws trememdous tantrums, then go ahead and feed them malasadas daily. I was planning on writing a complete post on this topic, but during my research I found a beautiful article that completely resonates with me and my approach to feeding kids. Thus, I do not need to, I only need to pass it on and share it with you.

If you are shaping and influencing young taste buds please a moment to read Kids And Food: A Budding Relationship from Core Parenting in Portland.

Bon appetit!

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