Do we feed our children too much bland food?

Be Healthy February 23, 2011
Spice
photo by Sunil Photos

We are in the middle of a move this week, so this will be a short post.  I wanted to get this conversation started though.  I talk to many parents who, while cooking for their family, choose not to add herbs & spices to their food until the children’s portion has been taken out. While I understand this theory for spicy items (cayenne, jalapeno, etc.), I don’t think that we should be “protecting” our kids from tasting different and sometime strong flavors. Are we developing a bland palate in our children?

What do you think?

Do you offer food made with interesting spices and herbs to your children?

Do you have a “picky” eater?

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20 Comments

  • Reply kia February 23, 2011 at 7:32 am

    My kiddo is 8 months old and we are blasting his taste buds with all kinds of produce and herbs before he begins his picky stage (a la Dr. Green's Feeding Baby Green). What is there to protect? A desire for flavors? My baby does like some out of the ordinary flavors like banana peppers and pickled ginger on his journey though. We'll see where this gets us in a few years?

  • Reply Lauren February 23, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    An important point. I made the mistake when my boys were little, cooking everything plain, plain, plain. Fortunately now they love thai food and spice and I didn't ruin them forever. Last night we had chicken marinated in cumin/garlic and cayenne and my 6 year old asked to make it "saltier" next time.

  • Reply Jaime February 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Interesting. I am not sure in regards to the question, I fed my daughter a variety of foods before she suffered a head injury and then after she was removed from the feeding tube, I went back to feeding her various cuisine (thai, vietnamese, Indian, Middle Eastern, Ethiopian, etc) she will eat it and enjoy it but now that she's seven, she's very picky and would prefer PB&J.

  • Reply Nichol February 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    We have always fed the kids what we eat, even spicy foods. It seems like a much better choice because now, they don't like bland tasting foods…and we thought it was good practice in case they ever go abroad to another country.

  • Reply alison @ Ingredients, Inc. February 23, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    I have exposed my 3 kids to everything because of what I do for a living always recipe testing. They eat everything and are not picky eaters. I think it's all in what you teach them by example and what they get used to

  • Reply Elaine February 23, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    While I don't have kids…I did used to be one! And my mom didn't do baby food and she didn't cook us seperate meals. She was a working mom that barely had time to get food on the table. As a baby, I ate the pureed version of what everyone else was eating (luckily had a family of healthy eaters so I wasn't eating pureed cheeseburger or anything). And when I was a kid, if I decided to be a brat and not eat something, I went hungry. I learned that lesson once. My mom also had us get involved in the cooking so i think I appreciated the food more too. I am very grateful for what my mom did as I have never been a picky eater and love spicy and different foods.

  • Reply Jessica & Tracie February 23, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    We cook one meal. If they dont like it they dont have to eat it. But they have to try at least 3 bites (chewed and swallowed, not spit out). Hailey especially likes sour/spicy things. While Belle is pickier (by my standards) she'd blow most picky kids out of the water! I LOVE that my children love fun, tasty, flavorful food!

  • Reply Jessica & Tracie February 23, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    We cook one meal. If they dont like it they dont have to eat it. But they have to try at least 3 bites (chewed and swallowed, not spit out). Hailey especially likes sour/spicy things. While Belle is pickier (by my standards) she'd blow most picky kids out of the water! I LOVE that my children love fun, tasty, flavorful food!

  • Reply Melissa Edge February 23, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    My son has a broad palette. At 22 months he loves curry, pesto, hummus, raw onions, all veggies and fruits. He can't get enough of jalapeno pickles and anything spicy. He eats what we eat and no exceptions. Thank goodness their is no fighting about it and hopefully, there never will be.

  • Reply Alysa February 24, 2011 at 3:35 am

    Kia, that is so great. I love that you are exposing him to so many flavors before he enters the typical picky phase.

  • Reply Alysa February 24, 2011 at 3:39 am

    Lauren, I started to make that mistake too. Thankfully my son snapped me out of it one day when he scarfed down a plate of marinated salmon (from my plate!)

  • Reply Alysa February 24, 2011 at 3:40 am

    Nichol, your kids will definitely thank you one day for exposing them to many flavors!

  • Reply Alysa February 24, 2011 at 3:40 am

    Jaime, the good thing is that she has been exposed to those flavors. That will help her when she comes out of her picky phase (and as she grows up).

  • Reply Alysa February 24, 2011 at 3:41 am

    Alison, I am sure your kids are great eaters with such a good cook as a mom. Can't wait for your cookbook to come out!

  • Reply Alysa February 24, 2011 at 3:41 am

    Jessica, I have witnessed your girls eating a variety of foods. So glad you are exposing them to flavor!

  • Reply Alysa February 24, 2011 at 3:42 am

    Elaine, I love that you are grateful to your mom for feeding you that way. I am grateful to my parents for that too!

  • Reply Alysa February 24, 2011 at 3:43 am

    Melissa, that's so cool to hear. Sounds like you are doing everything right!

  • Reply sarahlearns February 24, 2011 at 10:45 am

    i don't have kids yet, but when i was growing up, my mom didn't make our food any different from what she and my dad were eating. i am so thankful for that! i can't say for sure that's why i'm not a picky eater, but i'm sure it helped. we weren't forced to eat anything we didn't like, but we liked almost everything she made!

  • Reply Anonymous February 24, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    My kids have been eating everything from spicy to mildly seasoned from the start. They love garlicky, spicy stuff and really enjoy flavors! Don't feed kids bland foods or they will have troubles when they are older tolerating them.

  • Reply Jessica February 26, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    I grew up in a bland food house. Our house is not so. I love trying new recipes and new flavors. I think kids like trying new things too, if they're exposed to that way of thinking early enough in life.
    When I cook for my parents and younger siblings still at home they usually love what I make! But I do have one brother who is too picky to even try new things, and it really irritates me because he's 17 years old! Mommy shouldn't have to make him plain blah spaghetti or leave the beans out of his chili.

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