Thoughts on Cooking for Kids
Cooking for kids is an exercise in camouflage, patience and restraint. Now that my daughter has started to go to preschool, she has started to have all the foods that I didn't really want her to have such as pizza, fried chicken, candy, pastries, cookies, sausages, sugary drinks, and much more. When she was at home, her mother and I would make everything fresh and she used to eat more vegetables. Now, if I had packed her lunch everyday, she would have been envious of the other kids anyway. I understand the lunch lady's position as well. They have limited resources and time to make food for many kids. They want to limit waste and they want the kids to be happy.
The problem with this is that it develops the child's idea of what is "delicious" and "good." I think they also develop a taste for salt, sugar and, sadly, MSG. I don't really know what I can do except that I need to make the food at home better and tastier than what she has at school. One thing that I found works is to just put it in her lunch box that she eats from at school. The other thing is to chop things up super fine and then add a bit of dried seaweed. For some reason my daughter loves seaweed and kimbap. She associates kimbap with a festival food.
When I fry rice, I use little oil and try to hide as many vegetables as possible as well as mashed up tofu.
My daughter likes fried chicken and chicken tenders and ketchup which upsets me greatly, so I have been making my own and then baking them rather than frying them.
Over time, she associates things with me, her Daddy. She will call things, "Daddy's Chicken, Daddy's bread, Daddy's Pizza," etc. It's nice to hear and a way to get her to eat more. It's a delicate balance that must be tread and I am learning as much as she is. Being a foodie and wanting to raise a foodie is a difficult choir. Who knows, she may never appreciate food as much as I or her mother does, but we can at least try.
Now I have to make some homemade ketchup since she likes it. Maybe, I'll put some carrots or something in it. :)