Recently I read a post by another blogger who was lamenting that her daughter had to stop eating gluten and dairy for health reasons. She wrote in her post that although she herself had stopped eating gluten a while ago, she was absolutely stumped as to what she could feed her kid.

I made a comment that what I found worked the best when giving up dairy was not to try to find replacements (Thank you It Start’s With Food for that idea), but rather to focus on meals that don’t call for dairy at all. Her response? “Yes, I don’t want to replace dairy with fake cheese etc, but what do I feed her?!”

….How about vegetables? Meat? Fruit? Legumes (if you’re not paleo).

I kept re-reading her post and her response to mine and other’s comments. This blogger knows what real food is. She’s been gluten free herself for a few years now. And as far as I can tell, feeds her children a “clean” diet. What was I missing?

kids menuFinally I realized what was the problem. “Kid food.” Salads, steak, stews. These aren’t considered “kid foods.” What do we feed kids? Mini sandwiches, hot dogs, pizzas, chicken fingers, yogurt cups, string cheese, milk, juice boxes. Even if you feed your kids a “clean, real food diet” you might still stick with versions of these when feeding your children.

This concept of kid food still blows my mind. I’m almost 90% positive it’s just an American thing. Almost every restaurant that is considered “kid friendly” has a kid’s menu. And it’s always the same foods: Pizza, hotdogs, chicken fingers, cheese burgers, grilled cheese. As if kids won’t like or will refuse to eat anything else.

Fact: kids will eat what you give them to eat. You’re the parent. Don’t know what you’ll feed them if you can’t give them pasta or string cheese? How about you start with what’s on your own plate?

4 thoughts on “What Is Kid Food?”

  1. I agree with you 100%!
    I’ve been doing GF diet for kids now almost 4 years. They have what we have.

    People always comment about the breakfasts I pack for them (I have two boys) in the morning – “It doesn’t really seem like breakfast?” But, it’s brunch type foods. Maybe it isn’t breakfast to them, but it is our normal, our breakfast. Sometimes there is bread. Sometimes there is not.

    We take them out to two nice restaurants in our area that cater to GF diets, and they order grown up food like we do. They can’t have anything on the children’s menu. They can’t read, so they don’t know there is a children’s menu.

    I don’t understand why it has to be complicated. As someone once told me, “Choose your hard.”

    Choose what you can do. Don’t let the peripherals throw you off your game or make it too hard. Drop what is unnecessary and just keep up with what has to be done at the moment.

    When you get to a point where doing something fun like bento and using little cutters, stencils and punches looks like it’s up your alley – do it, or don’t do it – but don’t make your life hard as if it is a “must”. It just isn’t.

    1. Totally agree on “choose your hard.” The first time I did the Whole30, I got so frustrated because I was overcomplicating everything. Maybe because of the blog, but I felt like I needed to come up with these super cool recipes for every meal. I got so frustrated that I actually convinced myself that the Whole30 was just too hard.
      It finally took Jake to shake me awake. He told me to make stir-fry, every night. Some sort of protein and veggies. Boom, done. Turns out paleo really isn’t that hard at all 🙂

  2. I may just see digestive problems everywhere because of my own, but I always wonder how often kids’ “pickiness” is actually an outward manifestation of underlying digestive issues. If kids tend to feel sick after eating for one reason or another, and come to associate those feelings (rightly or wrongly) with certain foods but don’t know how to verbalize this to their parents, then they may come off as simply picky. For those kids, making the food look appealing/cute might help get them to eat it, even if they’ve come to think of food as bad/painful.

    I also think that sometimes it’s just a question of how confidently parents give their kids new foods! If you’re handing it over already saying, “You might not like this…” then you’re stacking the deck against yourself. If you give it confidently, kids will have the sense that it’s food you like that’s worth eating. Also if there’s a way to make them feel like they’re acting more mature by eating “adult food,” that can help, too. This is just a personal thing, but I never wanted to order off of the kids’ menu when I was a kid—I always wanted what the grown-ups were having! 🙂

    1. Oh! That’s such an interesting theory. And now that I’m thinking about it, I actually think there is some truth to that. It’s sort of like the grown up version that most people go through in college (you drink too much tequila, get violently ill, and then can never go near the stuff ever again). Lol.

      And definitely agreed on giving kids food confidently. But we also have to remember that kids listen so much to their friends. If a friend says that a food is gross, our kids might think that too.

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