Thursday Tips: What Is Kids’ Food?

What Is Kids FoodWhat is ‘kid’s food’? When we say ‘kid’s food,’ do we mean certain foods are only for kids? No one else gets to eat mac ‘n cheese and chicken nuggets? Or do we mean that other foods aren’t for kids? The meats and veggies and less processed starches are only for the adults and not meant for children? This is important to think about because these are the clear and unintended messages we send to kids every time we talk about ‘kids’ food.’

‘Kids’ foods’ are usually softer foods like pasta and chicken nuggets. But rather than saying these are ‘kids’ foods,’ let’s talk about them as soft foods. A lot of kids like soft foods because they’re easy to chew or because they have a mild flavor or because it’s what they’re used to.

We have to talk to kids to understand why they are picking the foods they’re picking. There are so many different diets and so many reasons people eat the foods they do. Not liking a food is ok, but let’s talk about the reasons. And talk about the reasons your children like the foods they like, too. If they don’t like mushy foods, but like crunchy foods, you can definitely expand on that!

This is loosely the idea of food chaining.You can expand on textures, tastes, anything your child likes about a food and start introducing new foods with those characteristics. It’s not a quick fix, but it is a great way to keep experiences with food positive as you slowly teach your picky eater about new foods.

Let’s agree that ‘kids’ food’ is not nearly descriptive enough to explain to kids why people eat what they eat. Everyone has a specific diet that we eat for our own specific reasons. It’s kind of fascinating!

So help your kids learn about foods, what they like, what they don’t, and what’s out there to try! Get them involved in grocery shopping, making a meal, or pick an activity from this site and talk about food. People food.

Happy food play!


19 thoughts on “Thursday Tips: What Is Kids’ Food?

  1. I love this! I think a lot of my patients think of “kids foods” and automatically think less healthy foods, and because they’ve somehow gotten this “kids” label people assume it’s normal to feed their children high-sugar, high-sodium, high-fat meals. This is simply incorrect! At a time when food preferences are set for life, it’s extra important to emphasize the good stuff. Soft foods can also be healthy foods, and talking about “soft” (vs “kid”) doesn’t result in the same cultural tendency towards the highly processed and less nutritious.

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  2. I’m gonna have to relearn my vocabulary regarding “kid’s food.” I think part of it is laziness and/or surrender. It’s so much easier to feed kids processed meals or fast food since there’s less fussiness/fighting associated with it. Making nutritious food fun also helps…and bribery 😩

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  3. In my native country which is Italy when kids were fussy about food their parents told them; “O mangi questa minestra o salti dalla finestra.” In Italian it rhymes and it means: “Either you eat this soup or you jump out of the window.” This meant that they had no choice so they had to eat it. There was no kid food then and all kids ate what was given to them without complaining. In fact I never heard of anorexic children in those days.

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  4. Love your blog! My son is a picky eater (I come from a long line of them) and now that he is over an intense gag reflex is eating more…as long as it is small enough for him to swallow whole. His favorite veggies are green peas. He had a speech delay and it took a long time before we were able to talk about food and have him accept that we sometimes (even grownups) eat things we don’t really like because they are better for us.

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  5. When my two where growing up and now we all eat the same and work allowing eat together, we just used to mash or blend when they where young, and when my nephew stays he gets the same treatment and eats us out of house and home 🙂

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  6. I discovered that if I gave my kids chopsticks they’d eat just about anything-just for the challenge of getting it into their mouths. Overall though, our kids ate like we ate-a varied multicultural diet. They had their definite likes and dislikes but they had to at least try what was on their plates.

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  7. I hate kid food! My kid won’t eat it because she is used to eating healthy food. But when we go to restaurants everything on the kids menu is over processed junk that we know she won’t even touch.


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