In Defense of “Kid Food”

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

I started my parenting journey like a lot of mothers do: with joy, optimism, and mounds of unrealistic expectations. Lofty goals regarding all the nutritious foods my kids were going to eat were quickly met with frustration as my two-year-old daughter repeatedly refused my offers of fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. For months, I resisted the temptation to provide easy alternatives, but recently, after noticing that her diet had reduced to a stagnant combination of dairy and grains, I began to take a different approach.

Despite the constant snubbing of my home cooking, there were certain foods she’d never turn down. Chicken nuggets? She’d inhale them. Pouches of fruit and veggie puree designed specifically for toddlers? Gone. There must be something magical in these “kid food” items as I call them because they are insanely popular with the wee ones. Other things that I would lump into this category would be packaged items like boxed mac and cheese, hot dogs, rice cakes, fruit leather, and cheese crackers. Rarely have I encountered a child that won’t eat them.

Feeding these types of foods on more than just the sporadic occasion was never part of my parenting plan, but I’m warming up to the notion that a chicken nugget is better than no chicken at all, and perhaps I should be happy about my daughter eating fruit, even if it is from a pouch.

While we don’t offer “kid food” exclusively and we try to encourage whole foods when we can (as well as read labels carefully), we’ve also stopped beating ourselves up for supplementing when it’s needed. The end result? We are paying a little more for groceries, but our kids are healthier and our sanity — well, we actually have some now.

What do you think about “kid food”? How have your thoughts changed since having children?

(Image: Christie Ellis)