French parents teach their children to eat like we teach our kids to read: with love, patience and firm persistence they expose their children to a wide variety of tastes, flavors and textures that are the building blocks of a varied, healthy diet. Pediatrician-recommended first foods for French babies are leek soup, endive, spinach and beets (not bland rice cereal — have you ever tasted that stuff)? They teach their children that “good for you foods” taste good (broccoli – yum!), whereas we often do the opposite.
Differences in first foods, I'm realizing, are substantial around the globe. My pediatrician mentioned a while back that in India, where they have a lot of peanut-based foods, peanuts are often among the first things a baby is given. He said that the recent research he'd been reading is finding that giving foods sooner offers some protection against allergies, rather than the previous thinking. (Though he wasn't comfortable with giving peanuts to little ones here.) I hadn't really considered it beyond that. But the idea that first foods might influence pickyness is an interesting one. And makes some sense. The "simple" foods, the "kid-friendly" foods are often not very flavorful, and if that's what's familiar, then it's seems logical that rejecting strong flavors would follow.
Here's another interesting idea: variety.
To introduce kids to a wide variety of foods, no dish can be repeated more than once per month. Food for thought.
I realize that this is a good idea, but I'm realizing that our variety has shrunk down to the point that it hardly qualifies. So, I'm having a look at my recipe collection, and looking for new recipes. Ones that use the familiar ingredients and also some that use some less familiar foods. It'll be good for us all. Maybe I'll have a look at my Japanese cookbook again and see if I can come up with some foods from there. It also occurs to me that I make a 2 week menu, and I can pretty easily make sure that meals from the old menu are not repeated on the new one when I make them. That would give me about a month rotation on my meals. I'll need some more recipes to do that, but that's OK: I like looking at food. Pinterest is a great place for doing that!
I'm not sure that I'm ready to give up snacking yet, but more and more I think that may be key to the weightloss I've been struggling to make happen. I'm thinking about it. But I think I'll make the other changes first and then ponder snacking more seriously.
Here are some of the new recipes that look tasty this afternoon. What are some of your favorites?
Dinner in a Skillet (TONS of variations)
Italian Sausage Skillet Dinner (new ingredient = italian sausage)
Chicken Skillet Dinner (unusual ingredient = mushrooms)