We definitely don’t claim that Theo is a perfect eater. He will regularly (and frustratingly) decide that he doesn’t like something and refuse to eat it, sometimes even foods he’s liked in the past.
However, we’re pretty committed to the idea of raising a child who essentially eats whatever we eat, especially while traveling.
And largely, he does.
Indian and Ethiopian foods have been major staples of his diet from the womb to now. While we don’t claim that he gained too many exotic food points in Ireland, he’s been experimenting with local food along with us throughout the trip so far.
Here are the toddler-feeding principles that have worked reasonably well for us:
1. He eats the same food as us adults. At home, this means one meal for everyone. At restaurants, this normally means that we order several items and split them all.
2. He needs to try all dishes in a meal, even if that just means touching his tongue to the food.
3. After trying a food, if he doesn’t like it, we don’t make a big deal out of it, and he doesn’t have to finish it. However, he also doesn’t get substitute foods. His meal is his meal.
4. Overall, we try to serve/order things he likes – but not always. We accept that it takes several tries to like many foods, so we keep serving things he doesn’t like initially, often in slightly different forms.
5. We work to maintain a family culture of cooking good food from quality ingredients. While we have to frequently remind ourselves to prioritize letting Theo “help” with meals (because it almost always takes more time), we do try to involve him. At meals, we talk about the food: what’s in it, what it tastes likes, etc.