By Allie Evans, Co-op Board Member, Astoria Mom, & Naturopathic Physician
As parents, of course we want to feed our children the most nourishing health foods out there. We go through great efforts to buy healthy ingredients, and sometimes successfully, sometimes unsuccessfully prepare them into meals our children will eat. I can remember steaming and pureeing plain unseasoned zucchini for my daughter’s first meal, which she undeniably did not enjoy; nor did I when I tried it.
In terms of the physiology of a child, taste and taste preferences are a very real and necessary part of a child’s development, yet it can be very inconvenient for the health-conscious desperately hoping their child will someday love kale. Pickiness is in fact normal and physiologic.
In light of this, maybe we, as the adults feeding the children, can shift our paradigm just a bit. What if we make peace with where the child is at. Let’s not give ourselves a hard time that all our child wants to eat is the same foods over and over. Let us teach through example. Let the children see us adults feeding ourselves in a nourishing fashion and let them learn through our model. Let’s be brave and try new recipes for our kids, but feel OK when we put a trusted favorite on their plate. Let’s balance the adventure and the comfort. Let’s encourage our kids to exercise their taste buds and try bites of new foods without forcing them to like it or finish it. The more times they try, the more likely they will be to train their taste buds into liking it. But remember, actions speak louder than words, let them see us shopping, preparing and enjoying wholesome foods, and some day they may just be on board with a lunch of tempeh, greens and quinoa. Here’s to the adventure. Let’s go on it with the youngsters we are feeding, and we may find some new foods for ourselves as well.