I really hate the term kid food. It implies that everything other than chicken fingers and fruit gummies is too advanced, too flavorful, too grown up for children's consumption; we have to dumb it down, refine it, pump it full of high-fructose corn syrup then stuff it into cartoon-character-clad packaging. Why can't we just serve kids real food? Like the kind that grows up from the ground or on a pasture or in the ocean?
Unfortunately, my oldest son does not find my ideology poetic or appealing.
"Ewww, this is spicy!" he whined the other day.
"No, it's not," I replied. "It just has flavor."
"Yeah, but I hate flavor!"
We have fought so many dinnertime wars. You know the drill. If you eat one more bite you can have dessert. But this is what you asked for! You're not leaving this table until you finish that plate... And, the other day, I reached a new low: Don't you know there are starving children in Africa?
A few days ago, I pulled out a piece of construction paper and slapped a sticker on it and so began the Brad's New Foods Chart. Every time he not only tastes but eats a small portion of a new food, he gets a sticker. When he fills up the chart, he gets a prize.
So far, he has enjoyed -- yes, enjoyed -- quinoa, multi-grain tortillas and scrambled eggs. I haven't served pb&j in three days. Win. Since then, I haven't heard him even once utter his typical complaint when staring down something he doesn't want to eat: "I like good food, okay? And good food is in Paris."
So, how do you get your kids to eat healthy foods?