This is a guest post by Mark Adamowicz, Director of Health & Safety Development here at Summer Infant.
My name is Mark and I work in product Development here at Summer Infant. My wife and I are the proud parents of 3 beautiful girls. Food. Usually it brings people joy and pleasure. However, with kids, it may suddenly become the source of anxiety and frustration. I was worried about what type of eaters we would have when our twins were born. I hear parents say all of the time that they have “picky eaters” or that their children don’t like anything but hot dogs and chicken fingers and pizza (and really, who doesn’t?). Kids are born with a few preferences, but ultimately, they will learn many of their eating habits by watching you and eating what you decide to put on the table. Picky parents – picky kids. Adventurous parents – adventurous kids (that goes for more than just food by the way).
Most of the food I grew up eating was delicious as my Mom’s side of the family is 100% Italian, but other than squid on Christmas Eve, none of it was considered “weird”. In my current and past few jobs, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to China a dozen times or so. You may have seen the shows on TV where the host eats strange foods. It’s all true. I’ve had silkworms, water beetles, alligators that were walking around the restaurant lobby 45 minutes before it showed up on my plate. So when we had kids (we started with twins), I was curious what kind of eaters we would have and what my influence could and would be. After we got through the mushy food stage, we just started introducing the kids to as many foods as we could. We made sure they ate green vegetables from an early age. We took them to restaurants where they were encouraged to try everything we were eating. They watched and helped us in the garden. They even ended up taking after some of their Dad’s strange interests in searching out strange foods. By the time of our 3rd daughter came along, we were pretty sure we didn’t just luck out having great eaters.
Most people who know us say we are lucky to have such adventurous eaters. Our kids don’t like everything (our twins will eat anchovies, but not sliced cheese…funny), but they are all pretty enthusiastic about trying new things….because their parents are. And while I’m not sure most parents are going to buy a BBQ pig’s head in Chinatown to eat with their kids (true story), it is nice to be able to go to any restaurant with your children or have them visit friends and family and never think twice about them not liking what will be served. There are enough challenges with having kids that food doesn’t necessary have to be one of them. Kids grow up learning from their parents. If they see their parents cooking and eating healthy foods and trying new things, they are more likely to.). And that makes it a little easier for Mom and Dad to actually enjoy eating at home and out with their kids. What do you have to lose?
I’d love to hear about some of the interesting foods your little ones like that aren’t considered “kid food” and how you get them to try new things.