Bad "Kid Food" Advice

I can pinpoint the exact moment when I lost control of my children’s healthy eating habits.  It was way back in 2003, and my daughter was around seven months old.  She’d been eating solid foods for a couple of months at that point.  Mostly, I gave her mashed up fruits and vegetables and tiny little pieces of roasted turkey, grilled chicken, ground beef and sautéed tofu.  Mostly, she spit out everything except for the fruit – my very first sign of her rampant sweet tooth.   

I was taking a very popular baby class with a parenting “expert” who seemed to be a guru on everything.  Every week, she’d lecture us on a different topic and then we’d have a discussion about how it related to our own babies.  

One week, the topic was eating, and in the discussion time, I expressed my frustration with my daughter’s unwillingness to eat anything but fruit and cereal.  The guru said that the problem was that I was giving her foods that she wouldn’t like.  She told us that if we wanted them to eat, we should give our kids “kid food” - grilled cheese and chicken tenders and hamburgers and hot dogs (cut up, of course).  She said that there was a reason most kids ate those foods, and that they’d eat other things as they got older.

I remember feeling both surprised and distinctly relieved when she said that.  Surprised to hear an expert say that it was okay to give kids unhealthy foods, but relieved because I felt like I’d just been given permission to stop trying to feed my daughter food she clearly didn’t like.