Is Special Kid Food Necessary?

Jodie Parus, RD, LD

There may be times that you want to prepare a special treat for your kids, whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.

But, rest assured, it is not necessary to prepare something for the adults and then a completely separate “kid friendly” option every time your family gathers around the table.

A study called “The Family Meal Panacea,” from the University of Edinburgh and led by Dr. Valeria Skafida, found that children who eat the same meals as their parents have healthier diets than those who eat special meals designed to cater to their kid palates.

“Eating the same food as parents is the aspect of family meals most strongly linked to better diets in children, highlighting the detrimental effect in the rise of ‘children’s food’.” Unless a child has a serious allergy or medical issue, there is no reason why kids can’t learn to eat the same foods as their parents.

At about 6 months, your baby is ready for some solid foods, alongside their milk or formula (no cow’s milk before 1 year). Rice cereal is often the first food added into a baby’s diet at this point. Soon after, they can also begin trying some cooked and mashed or pureed vegetables and fruits. At the 10-12 month mark your baby can have chopped rather than mashed foods as well as some finger foods. These are general rules of thumb, so be sure to check with your child’s pediatrician to discuss introducing solids according to their specific development.

There are many advantages to feeding your child a home cooked meal and allowing them to enjoy the same foods as you. You will know all of the ingredients that are included and you will have more time to spend together at the table!

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