12 baby meals that are actually made from REAL food! A friend of mine was...
what is ‘kid’s’ food?
why do our little ones require their own category of food?
I’ve never really understood the differentiation between adult and kids food. Is it not all simply just ‘food’?
Yes children have different palates, different likes and dislikes, different favourites and quirky little eating habits. But so do grown ups. So why is it that restaurants, food producers, and supermarkets feel the need to offer us special kid friendly food?
What do we need to consider?
The first is the portion size. Children eat less than grown ups because their tummies are smaller, that’s a given. So when you’re in a restaurant just ask for a small portion.
The next thing to consider is the sugar and salt content of food. Babies, toddlers and children should all be protected from too much sugar and salt in their diet as their bodies just can’t cope with it. So when you’re in a restaurant, ask for things without sauces, and ask the staff, they should be able to check with the chef what has added salt, and sugar, and offer you a plain alternative. Most restaurants will do a plain piece of chicken, or some prawns, a bowl of steamed veg, and some mashed potato or rice for your little ones very happily.
The third fact to consider is flavour. Something with a heap of chilies in it probably wont be very palatable for a baby. So maybe don’t order them a vindaloo!
But that’s it. Those are the only things that should be different to the grown up food on offer.
So is it all a marketing ploy?
Restaurants and food producers alike are having us on. The term ‘children’s food’ and the ‘children’s menu’ is, in my opinion, a marketing ploy. Producers of chicken nuggets, fish fingers, smiley faces, and spaghetti hoops, have conned the population into believing that these foods are perfect for kids. What is wrong with chicken goujons, fish cakes, mashed potato and pasta with a fresh tomato sauce?
I get that these ‘kid’ friendly foods are an attempt to make food fun and more appealing to our little ones. But when did eating become a game? Food is fuel it’s as simple as that. We eat because we have to. Food shouldn’t have to be encouraged, or made more appealing to our children. It’s something that they have to learn is part of their every day lives. Just like bedtime and bath time and teeth cleaning time. Food is an integral part of our lives and lots of people take great pleasure in eating a good meal. It’s a sociable thing, and mealtimes are a chance to take a moment and stop in our hectic lives, to sit down with our family, catch up on the day’s events, and relax.
I’m sounding military, I know. I just think that the emphasis is wrong. Kids food from the supermarket, or restaurants has been made the way it has to make it more appealing to kids. For example, smiley face potato cakes, alphabet spaghetti in sauce, cheese sticks that can be peeled into fun strips etc. Surely the things we should be encouraging about mealtimes are not that it’s a time to play, but a time to talk, to catch up, to share stories, jokes and laughter. These are the ‘fun’ things about mealtimes. It shouldn’t be the shape of the food that’s the best bit of a meal, it should be the people you’re with and enjoying each other’s company.
Besides from all of the above the nutritional values of all of these so called kids food is so far from nutritious food it’s ridiculous. Parents are advised to feed their babies, toddlers and children nutritious food to help growth, brain development, and concentration levels. Yet the food that’s being offered to us for our kids is full of sugars, salt, processes, additives and a ton of other stuff that really isn’t good for them.
When we wean our babies, we are advised to strive towards feeding our little ones the same as the rest of the family by the age of one. So why does this rule go out of the window when we eat out in a restaurant or go shopping and see the aisles and aisles of kid specific food?
So next time you go shopping, or go to a restaurant, stop and think before you ask for the kid’s menu. Look at what is on the regular grown ups menu and order them something from that. Order them some real food!