Leaving Our Food Comfort Zones

One thing I know for sure is that toddlers aren’t the most open-minded or consistent eaters. We have, actually, been pretty lucky. My son, Deacon, likes a lot of different food, including a wide array of vegetables. But you know what he usually likes better? I’ll bet you could guess: pasta, pizza, waffles, etc.

Because Deacon does eat vegetables regularly and sometimes now considers the consumption of an apple or at least apple sauce, I don’t worry about food too much, but I am a little concerned about him developing the same poor eating habits many Americans have today. And I’m no gleaming example of health. As a kid, my favorite food was shredded cheese smashed into a ball by my clammy, mucky hands. And today, Ben and Jerry are my good, good friends. Still, when it comes to making healthy choices, we do okay.

Over the holidays, I had a bit of a revelation – maybe our favorite foods would be different if we presented our family with more opportunities to try new things. My son loves dates. No, he is not romancing any other toddlers just yet, I’m talking about the fruit kind of date. I made dates stuffed with goat cheese and topped with honey over the holidays (delicious, by the way), and Deacon wanted to try. I happily passed a date to him, thinking for sure the “all done” sign would follow, but shockingly, he ate the whole thing. In fact, he ate many dates for multiple days until they were gone. And not the ones topped with honey either! This had me thinking, what else might he like if I offered it?

I started reading a book recently. (Side note – how do parents have time to read? I had this book for months before opening it, and I am now only on chapter three, where I’ll probably stay until 2018). It is French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon. The author talks about French kids with favorite foods including beets and escargot. Deacon would probably hate these foods, but how will I know if I don’t try?

This year, my husband and I have decided it is time to expand our pallets and Deacon’s too, if he allows it. Rather than walking straight to the fruits, vegetables and meats that are tried and true in our home, I am going to venture out. So watch out parsnips, beets and bok choy, I’m coming for you! Escargot… maybe next year.

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