Kid, Meet Food. Food, Kid.

Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids in the Kitchen

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how kids get involved in cooking and feeding. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

It’s time to begin the food introductions – and just when our breastfeeding relationship was going so well, too…


I pretend to be cavalier, but really, I am absolutely (and have been) in a tizzy over the future eating habits of our offspring.  Before Petals was born I read tons of books on breastfeeding – because I wanted her to have the best start in life.  I tried to eat right during pregnancy – though I didn’t really fight too hard against caffeine and breakfast biscuit cravings – so that she wouldn’t somehow be born with a taste for a greasy egg-n-cheese.  I bought recipe books about being a sneaky chef, so that when she was older I could throw all sorts of healthy vegetables into her pancakes and brownies.  I vowed to make my own baby food when the time came, so that she would get only the most awesomest foods into her tummy.


I lied a bit.

I say that I’m doing all this for her.  So that she will have a good start.  So that she will eat good foods.   And that is mostly true.  Mostly.  I’m doing all this, kind of, for us, too.  It is no secret that I and The Boy don’t have the best of eating habits.  We are both obese.  (Well, I think that I’m officially “overweight” now, but the point is that our BMI is higher than we’d like.)  We both prefer maintaining our weight with exercise over diet – and we’re both so busy and stressed out at the moment that we’re not doing a very good job of that, either.  Both of us probably have a genetic predisposition to obesity, or at least families in which obesity is the norm, and obesity-related illnesses.  Both of us are “foodies” who enjoy eating well – we enjoy sushi…and fried chicken – but will not hesitate chow down on a burger or a hot dog in a heart beat if someone throws some cheese its way.

I don’t want Petals to inherit this from us.  I struggled to breastfeed, vowed to eat better and cook better, bought those books, and spent a fortune at the Whole Foods on organic meats and veggies for her…but also, for us.  So far, not so good.  I mean, breastfeeding – check.  But as far as eating better…well….  Last night, we ordered (Horrible!) Chinese food.  The night before that I had Wendy’s and Starbucks; The Boy ate hamburgers and fries.  The night before that we ate out (Date night…what?!)…even though I’d made a delicious dinner for us ahead of time.  I think I might have cooked the night before that…or did we have hibachi take-out instead?  I’m pretty sure I was eating hibachi steak and shrimp.

Sigh.  Again.

So a few nights ago, when Petals began screaming at the breast and looking around for something solid to munch on, I began to feel anxiety creeping into my heart.  Having nothing in the fridge suitable for a kid, I grabbed the box of rice cereal that’d been sitting on the shelf since the first time I tried to shovel solidish food into her face.  I mixed it with some breastmilk, heated it up, and sat down to join her and The Boy on the couch.

The results, this time, were different.

She lapped it up hungrily and, when the bowl was empty, screamed for more.  We went through the same routine the next night.  I attempted to nurse her, she refused, and then I gave in and prepared some cereal for her which she ate up greedily.  That’s when I became afraid.

“We cannot get any more fast food!” I announced to The Boy.  He nodded.  “She’s going to start eating now, and she needs healthy food!  She will have to eat what we eat, and I will not be feeding my baby burgers and fries and what not.  I refuse!  Unless it’s like, a special occasion or something…or they’re homemade burgers and baked fries.  Maybe then.”  He nodded again.  “My kid will get to know the kitchen!  We will cook dinner together so that when she goes off to college, she won’t be at a loss as to how to make healthy food choices!”  He wiped the cereal off the babies chin.

“What are we doing for dinner tonight?” he asked, looking up at me on my figurative soapbox.

“I dunno…we really need to go food shopping,” I said.

“You wanna go get something?” he asked.

We ended up going to a local restaurant, Brigs, that serves breakfast all day.  My avocado and chicken omelet was delicious.  He seemed to enjoy his cheddar-bacon-potato soup and Cuban sandwich.  Petals sucked on her pacifier and swatted at my Pepsi as I tried to drink it and hang on to her.  “Okay…” I said, between mouthfuls of delicious, butter-laden grits.  “We start tomorrow.”

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama

Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon November 8 with all the carnival links.)

  • Baking & letting go — Cooking with kids can be a mess. Nadia at Red White & GREEN Mom is learning to relax, be patient, and have fun with the process.
  • Family feeding in Child of Mine — Lauren at Hobo Mama reviews Ellyn Satter’s suggestions for appropriate feeding and points out where her family has problems following through.
  • Children with Knives! (And other Kitchen Tools) — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy teaches her children how to safely use knives.
  • “Mommy, Can I Help?” — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment writes about how she lets her kiddos help out with cooking, despite her {sometimes} lack of patience!
  • Solids the Second Time Around — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes recounts her experiences introducing solids to her second child.
  • The Adventure of Toddler TastebudsThe Accidental Natural Mama shares a few things that helped her daughter develop an adventurous palate.
  • A Tradition of Love — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy looks forward to sharing the kitchen traditions passed on from her mom and has already found several ways to involve baby in the kitchen.
  • The Very Best Classroom — Alicia C. at McCrenshaw’s Newest Thoughts reveals how her kitchen is more than a place to make food – it’s a classroom!
  • Raising Little Chefs — Chef Mike guest posts on Natural Parents Network about how he went from a guy who couldn’t cook to a chef who wanted to teach his boys to know how the food we love is made.
  • In the Kitchen with my kids — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine shares a delicious soup recipe that her kids love.
  • Papa, the Pancake Artist — Papa’s making an incredible breakfast over at Our Mindful Life.
  • Kids won’t eat salad? Try this one! — Tat at Mum in Search is sharing her children’s favourite salad recipe.
  • Recipe For a Great Relationship — Cooking with kids is about feeding hearts as well as bellies, writes Hannah at Wild Parenting.
  • The Ritual of Mealtimes — Syenna at Gently Parenting Twins writes about the significance of mealtimes in her family’s daily rhythm.
  • Kid, Meet Food. Food, Kid. — Alburnet at What’s Next? panicks about passing on her food “issues” to her offspring.
  • Growing Up in the Kitchen — Cassie at There’s a Pickle in My Life shares how her son is growing up in the kitchen.
  • Harvesting Corn and History — From Kenna at School Garden Year: The kids in the school garden harvest their corn and learn how much history grows in their food.
  • My Guiding Principles for Teaching my Child about Food — Tree at Mom Grooves uses these guiding principles to give her daughter a love of good food and an understanding of nutrition as well as to empower her to make the best choices for her body.
  • Kitchen Control — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro writes about her struggles to relinquish control in the kitchen to her children.
  • Food — Emma at Your Fonder Heart lets her seven month old teach her how to feed a baby.
  • Kitchen Fun? — Adrienne at Mommying My Way questions how much fun she can have in a non-functional kitchen, while trying to remain positive about the blessings of cooking for her family.
  • Kitchen Adventures — Erica at ChildOrganics shares fun ways to connect with your kids in the kitchen.
  • Kids in the Kitchen: Finding the Right Tools — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares some of her favorite child-sized kitchen gadgets and where to find them.
  • The Kitchen Classroom — Laura at Authentic Parenting knows that everything your kids want to learn is at the end of the ladle.
  • Kids in the Kitchen — Luschka from Diary of a First Child talks about the role of the kitchen in family communication and shares fun kitchen activities for the under two.
  • Our Kitchen is an Unschooling Classroom. — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle explores the many ways her kitchen has become a rich environment for learning.
  • Montessori-Inspired Food Preparation for Preschoolers — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares lots of resources for using Montessori food preparation activities for young children in the kitchen.
  • My Little Healthy Eater — Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares her research on what is the best first food for babies, and includes a healthy and yummy breakfast recipe.
  • Two Boys and Papa in the Kitchen: Recipe for Disaster?MudpieMama shares all about her fears, joys and discoveries when the boys and handsome hubby took over the kitchen.
  • Food choices, Food treats — Henrietta at Angel Wings and Herb Tea shares her family’s relationship with food.
  • learning to eat — Catherine at learner mummy reflects on little M’s first adventures with food.

About alburnet

New mom, new natural, and..for the last year...still a new teacher!

Posted on November 8, 2011, in Baby, baby-led weaning, breastfeeding, English Teachers, Parenting. Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. The first step on any journey is becoming aware of the need, yes? It looks like you’re on your way, and you have plenty of motivation 🙂 Have you researched baby led weaning at all? Skip the rice cereal and homemade baby food, and just give your little one what you’re eating – now that is motivation to eat healthy!

    • Oh yes, I’ve researched the heck out of baby led weaning! In my post “Let Them Eat Solids” ( I actually explore this option. And I do give her foods to explore on her own – two days ago, at a buffet, she accidentally threw the piece of broccoli she was gnawing on into the handbag of the woman sitting behind her. Last night I chowed down on a tuna salad sandwich and apples and let her use a rice cookie to scoop up some mashed up apples for herself. It hasn’t been too difficult to adjust, and I’ve found that when blending up foods for her I can easily use the leftovers to make healthier foods for myself.

      So far, a combination of mashes and “as is” food seem to be working okay. I’ll definitely keep you posted!

  2. Gaaaaah, I know that feeling. We usually eat pretty healthily. But I’m the health food fanatic in the family. When my husband’s around, I keep turning around to see the kiddo eating hot dogs, baloney, ramen noodles, and cake. And when we go out, somehow he ends up eating a ton of french fries …. and begging for them the rest of the week. Sigh.

    I guess I have to surrender myself to the 80/20 rule — if 80% of what we eat is good, then if the remaining 20% doesn’t quite measure up, he’ll survive … somehow.

  3. We were similarly inspired and baby-led weaning with our son led to us radically changing our diet, becoming interested in nutrition, getting healthier and losing weight. I wish you every success on your mission!

  4. Love your writing style–you really drew me in. And thanks for being so real–this is just like so many things about parenthood–when you picture yourself as a parent you picture a better version of yourself. And sometimes you can get there and sometimes you can’t, at least not right away. I’ve found that after a lot of early-on frustration about not “doing right” a lot of the things I thought I’d do, if I give myself time, I get there (two steps forward, one and a half steps back, usually). This week, my house has reached an acceptable level of cleanliness (not that clean by most people’s standards but swept at least) and that’s surely not true all the time. But as my crew gets older, it’s more frequent. Have a great journey toward healthy eating, and if you are a book reader, I find Michael Pollan inspiring (helps me stay on track). Try Food Rules for a quick first dip into the water if you haven’t read his stuff already.

  5. Don’t forget: You have provided your daughter the perfect nutrition for her first few months. That’s a big deal.
    How about choosing one night of the week when you ALL share a healthy meal together around a table. Go for a slow, sustainable change.

    Having kids has also encouraged me to improve my eating habits, although I’m far from being a health foodie. My youngest is just starting to join in family meals so i’m more conscious of healthy food choices again. Sheila’s 80/20 rule sounds fair!

  6. Oh, I can totally relate to you! We haven’t had fast food for years now. Daughter is 4 1/2. We don’t want her craving it like we did as kids. My husband and I both had parents who decided to be “health food” households. That was 40 years ago, so there were not many choices. Of course we both became candy fiends.
    My husband read a book called Eating Animals by Jonathon Safran Foer… I couldn’t even read it… but he was absolutely done with fast food after that. It made it so much easier for me. We decided to keep our meat budget the same and just eat less meat. It’s working okay.
    Good luck with the beginnings of solids!! Enjoy and don’t worry too much about getting it “perfect”

  7. I really loved this post, honest, punchy and a great writing style. I really admire your determination to change, kids really throw all our weak spots into the spotlight don’t they? And then as they grow you watch them and its like looking in the mirror. My family eats pretty ok, but I have a real ‘nibbling ‘and snacking issue. In fact my partner calls me the mouse. And guess what ,I really struggle when I see that same behaviour in my kids…ie sneaking peanut butter out of the jar, grabbing spoonfuls of cake dough. Having our little ones is such a motivation to change for the better, good luck!

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