I have two kids: Jon, who is 9, and Miren, who is almost 6. They are polar opposites in pretty much everything in life, and particularly in food. I used to be one of those people who confidently exclaimed to others “My kids will eat everything!” And I admit it, those words came from a place of know-it-all-in-food European judgment. But once I had my own kids, I realized I was wrong.
My children are healthy eaters. Jon is very precise in the way he likes flavors and textures, and his palate gravitates towards healthy foods and a preference for carbs. Miren loves eggs, plain and simple. Fried eggs and Spanish tortilla are everything to her—breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Although I haven’t quite conquered the “my kids will eat everything!” goal, I am a firm believer in not being a slave to my children, especially in the kitchen. “This is not a restaurant,” I say to them, but it can be a challenge sometimes. When I ask, “What would you like for breakfast?,” I shoot myself in the foot. It goes against my mantra, yet I fall into the trap every time. And if I let them dictate breakfast, we would be having a feast every morning.
I have asked them to compromise. Each day, one of them gets to choose the breakfast that requires cooking and the other can either conform or have a bowl of already-made granola. If Jon asks for waffles one day, Miren must eat them or else she can grab a piece of fruit or granola. On the following day, we switch roles: fried eggs with avocado for Miren and granola for Jon. And so on and so forth. So far, so good.
How do you feed children with opposing tastes? Share your tips in the comments.
I am Aran, a Basque ex-pat living in the US since 1998. I am a mother of a boy and a girl who keep me busy and a freelance food writer, stylist and photographer. Cannelle et Vanille is a journal of all my recipes, travels and life stories.
I am also working on my first cookbook that will be published by Little, Brown & Company in the fall of 2012.