Sunday, January 15, 2006

Feeding Kids Right From The Start

A great little piece puncturing the myths about kids and food appears in today's New York Times magazine. Check it out: Generation Pad Thai

This piece should be must reading for any parent concerned about raising children to have a healthy attitude toward food.

The recommendations are especially good:
  1. Make your children eat at the table from a very young age - This sets the tone for kids that dining is something the family does together - that means everybody.
  2. Make them eat what you do, even if you have to purée it. - Okay this is a little over the top with babies, but I agree that pureed real food is better than anything in the jar including organic baby food. Remember, children's palettes are formed very early, so the sooner they get exposed to a variety of tastes and textures the better.
  3. Pack lunches fashioned from leftovers. - This means you need to cook meals in the first place - but there is nothing better than a sandwich made from a leftover roast, or as my kids love, left over pasta and ragu
  4. Eschew Baggies filled with Goldfish - The key here is to not fill up kids with junk between meals.
  5. Buy them the most expensive chocolate you can afford. No this is not crazy advice! The sooner kids learn what real food and even the best foods taste like, the sooner they will understand the difference between the authentic good stuff and the industrially produced erzatz food that permeates American groceries and tables.
My favorite quote from the article:

"I look in people's fridges and it appalls me," said Hugo Matheson, a chef at the Kitchen in Boulder, Colo. "The demographic around here doesn't have financial issues, but they still buy prepackaged lasagna from Whole Foods when all the kid really needs to eat is half a chicken breast."

Some will note that all this advice comes from professional chefs - but believe me you do not need to be one to feed your kids good, wholesome food. It doesn't need to be fancy but only needs to be made with love, care and good basic ingredients.


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