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Overweight kids eating at McDonaldsEver since Eric turned 12 months, I started to get this question a lot. Everybody seemed to be interested in what he is eating, from our child’s health nurse to people I accidentally bumped into after not seeing them for months.

And 9 times out of 10 the question “What is he eating?” was followed by “Is he eating what you’re eating?”. I would normally start telling them about how I cook separately for Eric and they would get this worried look on their faces. And then they would start questioning me why Eric doesn’t eat what the rest of the family eats. The message was loud and clear – it is wrong to be feeding the child special meals.

This got me thinking – am I really doing something silly here? Obviously there are many reasons to feed the baby what Rob and I eat.

  • Some would say it’s easier because you only cook everything together
  • Some would say it’s cheaper because you don’t buy any special ingredients and shop less times a week.
  • Some would say it’s the best way to make sure child gets to try a lot of different foods.
  • But being an opinionative nonconformist that I am, I will still disagree and give you a list of reasons to cook for small children separately:

      1. I am busy and so is my husband. Sometimes we don’t have time to cook for ourselves, which means that we’ll eat instant noodles that evening. Eric’s food is always ready in the freezer, waiting for me to warm and serve. Are instant noodles better for little kids than veggies, meatballs, fish sticks and the like? I don’t think so.

      2. It’s a well-known fact that kids’ eating habits are different from adults’. Kids eat smaller meals but more frequently. There are days when Rob’s cooking, but the dinner is not yet ready when Eric is already hungry. Why risk a hungry meltdown if it can be avoided by always having the kid’s food ready?

      3. Another well known fact is that kids under 3 shouldn’t be given dairy products with reduced amount of fat, such as “light” yogurt, cheese or milk. On the other hand, as adults we’re watching our cholesterol levels. Doesn’t this mean that separating adults’ and kids’ menu is legitimate?

      4. We like eating spicy food and some dishes are too hot for a little kid to handle. Why risk giving him stomach ulcer?

      5. We use salt and sugar, sometimes a lot of it, in our cooking, when our kid doesn’t know what salt or sugar is. Why not keep it this way a little bit longer when many sources say it’s the healthiest way?

      6. When I cook for Eric, I do everything to preserve as much vitamins as possible and to keep the unhealthy ingredients out – I steam, not boil, I fry with just a tiny little bit of oil, etc. I’ve created a healthy menu for my kid and follow it religiously because he likes this kind of food and it’s good for him. While I can put this effort into cooking for the child, I don’t have the time to do the same for us – not yet, at least. What’s wrong with putting the kid first?

      7. Sometimes Rob and I go on a diet and then it means – no bread, no pasta, no crackers, no rice, we start eating a lot of vegetarian dishes instead. But little kids need all that in their menu, why deny Eric the source of energy he needs for daily growth? Why should he eat what we eat and miss out on all the good stuff because we’re dieting?

    As you can see I’ve got my reasons for cooking Eric’s food separately.

    How does this work in your family? Is your child eating what you’re eating?