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Caitlin Adams Makes Her (Rather Compelling) Case for Feeding Littles Real Food

I tend to think that getting my girlies to toss back Brussels sprouts (just Millie) or green beans (just Audrey) or beets (neither) is one part genetics, one part dogged determination on my part, and one part pure luck.

But after reading Caitlin’s column this week, I’m going to try and up my game on that whole dogged determination thing. (Beets are going to happen friends. I am determined, doggedly in fact.)

I’ll let Caitlin, take it from here.

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By Caitlin Adams

As we gear up for this holiday season, I have one thing on my mind: food. While others are compiling holiday lists and mapping a Black Friday strategy, I’ll be dreaming about homemade pumpkin pie and green bean spears.

I’m just going to come out and say it: I have a big appetite. I rarely meet a food I don’t happily scarf down, and guess who is the mastermind behind my food lust? My mom.

My mom was an advocate of the big menu for little stomachs. My dad blames this parenting style on an ill fated cruise we took as youngsters in which my little brother ordered five rounds of lobster (he took that all-inclusive deal to heart) and managed to down every single bite. From that trip forward, a pack of monsters were born, and The Adams Family children scoffed at a server’s mere mention of a kiddie menu.

While most of my friends were eating frozen pizza or Happy Meals, we begged our Mom for salmon and sautéed vegetables. (This is not a joke. I craved fruit like most kids crave pixie sticks) Not only were the endless food options exciting, but it made us feel like we were adults since we all used the same menu. (Don’t get me wrong, we did enjoy the occasional French fry, but it was mixed in with a plethora of healthy options.)

Fast-forward a few years, and what might have seemed like a kooky parenting style has turned out to be one of the smartest moves on my mom’s part. My brothers and I will eat just about anything, and I know it’s a result of our childhood meals that went beyond processed chicken nuggets and greasy tater tots.

Forgoing the kids menu for adult options is such a small change, but one that will make all the difference later. We are so concerned about our own healthy eating habits, so why should those of our children be any different? Habits start early, so start your little ones on the right foot.

Want to know the perk? Kids’ menus are filled with fried, unhealthy options, but upgrading to the big kids menu will open doors to healthier dishes. Even better, giving kids free reign with a menu might help combat the ever-annoying picky eater syndrome. And if I still haven’t convinced you, larger dishes mean the plates can be shared, so the bill shouldn’t break the bank.

So bring on the Brussels sprouts, tuna nicoise, and roasted eggplant. Next time you head out for a family meal, skip the shaky kids menu and reach for the adult version. I guarantee you will feel better for feeding your children the healthier option, and they will grow up appreciating all kinds of food.