Take Your Kids Around the World: Culinary Passport

When friends realize we are an “organic living” family, they tend to have a lot of questions and concerns.

Them: “Where do you buy food?”

Me: “At many of the same stores in which you already shop.”

Them: “How do you NOT eat fast food?”

Me: “I just don’t go there. To be honest, I don’t even consider it an option.” (Little do they know I physically *gag* at whatever that “smell” is in a McDonald’s.)

Them: “Isn’t organic food super expensive?”

Me: “Yes, but so are diabetes and cancer. *insert laugh here* They do cost a little more, but you have to learn it’s a game of give and take. For example,i f you forgo the case of Gatorade each week, then $22 has just been freed to spend on organic produce (or whatever.) It’s all about making the best choice possible.

Them: “…but my kids LIKE Gatorade.”

Me: “They will LIKE water…you just haven’t given them the chance.”

I will be frankly honest here. Never in my life have I seen such picky eaters as I have in the past few years. I am not even kidding. Kids stay or hang out at our place…a lot. Of course, I am always curious to see which ones will eat what we eat and which ones will proclaim, “I don’t like that,” without hesitation or even a simple taste. Some of them even resort to bringing their own food. Yes, they are THAT choosy.

Here’s my take on the whole “picky eating” situation. You can take it or leave it. I’m guessing that children these days aren’t getting the “clean food” exposure that we all once did as kids. They have become so accustomed to the taste of sodium laden, over- processed, high fat, sugar packed foods that “normal” foods taste bland. When I was a kid, fresh fruit was exciting! To get a fresh strawberry or cold slice of watermelon was almost a “luxury.” Now? It seems if the fruit isn’t covered in some sort of syrup or mixed into the filling of a hostess pie, children aren’t all that excited about it. I’ve had some actually grumble and push away apple slices. What’s wrong with this picture? Children’s taste buds need to change and it’s imperative that it happens soon.

Just recently, I came across a blog post titled “I Am Raising Two Future Foodies,” written by Polish Mama on the Prairie (@PolPrairieMama.) She totally had me at the line [RE: her daughter]: “She giggled and said “But I’m not eating Sea Cucumber.  That’s the poopy hole of the ocean.”  Thank you, Andrew Zimmern.” But even after that, she gave a list of some fantastic ways to help your child become a more adventurous eater. I immediately fell in love with her idea of making a “culinary passport.”

When I googled for ideas on “food passports,” I realized that someone has already jumped on that marketing train (why didn’t *I* think of this?) Already available is an activity book “passport” that comes with stickers to reward your child for trying different foods. What a great way to introduce “odd” foods, like avocado or kiwi, to younger children. But for older children with already more established tastes, a culinary passport introducing foods around the world would be way more adventurous. Give them a small notebook and let them design one themselves. The possibilities are virtually endless! Use stickers or internet printout “badges” to glue on to represent each country’s cuisine. Before you know it, you’re child will have taken a culinary trip around the world.

As we eat a lot of cultural cuisine, I’ll be posting several recipes to get you started. So pack your taste buds and get ready for your foodie vacation!

7 Responses to Take Your Kids Around the World: Culinary Passport
  1. Polish Mama on the Prairie
    June 14, 2012 | 10:21 AM

    Wow, I feel so honored that you liked the article this much! Sending you hugs!

    • Toni
      June 14, 2012 | 11:12 AM

      You’re so sweet…you have a list of GREAT ideas!! I hope everyone will read them :) *hugs back atcha*

  2. Colleen
    June 15, 2012 | 11:31 AM

    I *LOVE* to see someone writing about this! We’re not an organic family, but we eat a lot of fresh fruit and veggies – we focus on eating more healthy and less processed foods. I often get crazy looks from friends followed by comments like, “How do you get your kids to EAT THAT?!?” Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve always just given them the option to try California rolls or salad with blue cheese or spicy fish tacos. They used to see it as what Mama was eating and therefore wanted what I had, and I never discouraged it!

    • Toni
      June 18, 2012 | 10:38 AM

      Thanks for reading and good for you!! I totally get the “crazy looks” too. Most recently, our son has taken a liking to sriracha, to the point of using it as a dipping sauce now. lol Even that one surprised ME but I certainly won’t discourage it. Naturally everyone will have some sort of food they don’t like but this food pickiness has gone to the extreme!

  3. Melisa
    June 15, 2012 | 6:25 PM

    That is a great idea!

    We are eating way better in this house over the past year or so: avoiding processed foods as much as possible and such.

    After a recent visit to my doctor I started really reading the labels for sodium specifically and some foods are surprising to me in how much sodium they contain! (and I don’t eat those anymore, except I will allow myself the occasional Vienna Beef hot dog you know. :) )

    • Toni
      June 18, 2012 | 10:34 AM

      Your eyes are really opened when you start reading labels. One good thing about avoiding fast food/processed foods is your sodium intake will drop drastically! No wonder everyone seems to be on blood pressure medicines…you can’t find anything these days without it containing a shaker full of salt. The occasional Vienna Beef is okay in my book as well. 😉

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