Global Grub: Here’s How the Rest of the World Feed Their Kids
August 17, 2017
We can thank the Internet for a lot of things: one-click shopping, Blue Apron, Grumpy Cat, Justin Bieber – take your pick! But if you’re parent, your thank you stretches a little farther.
Like… Thanks for teaching me how to parent my kid, Internet!
In a world as wide as a web (translation: the world wide web), the Internet is a true landscape of diversity. And believe it or not, such diversity can, in fact, be used to help us along the oh, so difficult road of raising our children.
What to feed them? How to feed them? What are the best options? What should I stay away from? All good questions, yes, but the truth is the answer isn’t so cut and dry. It appears to all depend on where you’re living in the world.
And we don’t mean Chicago v. New York or Dallas v. Duluth. We’re talking global.
So what does this have to do with my child?
You see, just as culture and food differ in various stretches of the world, the same can be said about raising children and the practices that go with it.
Think about it this way: If you’re looking for a really great meatball recipe, do you stop at asking an Italian grandma? How about after visiting just one website? Or, like most people, do you scour the Internet in search of the very BEST meatball recipe you can find – and then ask an Italian grandma?
(Sidebar: Does anyone have a really great meatball recipe?)
The point we’re getting at is: Learning the way other cultures introduce food into their children’s lives is important in (a) determining how YOU would like to introduce food into their lives, and (b) broadening their palette… and yours.
Okay, that last one might be a bit of a stretch, but hey – knowledge is knowledge, people. So get studying!
Is there really a difference in first foods?
It depends on the culture. As an example, babies in India tend to chow down on “fed khichdi” – a mixture of rice, lentils and vegetables – while children in Kenya start off with just sweet potatoes. And per a report from the Daily Meal, babies in Japan are celebrated after eating their first solid food – “fish, sticky rice, octopus, and pickled vegetables” – in a ritual known as Okuizome, which apparently translates to “first eating.”
By the way, don’t know about you, but we don’t remember a party after eating our first vegetable!? Heck, if that were the case, kids would probably like vegetables A LOT more.
Okay, back to it…
Is it more than vegetables?
Of course! While the Middle East and Asian cultures appear to give a mixture of rice and vegetables, tropical cultures focus more so on fruits. For instance, Jamaica prides itself on its many indigenous options – anything from mangoes and bananas, to raspberry and papaya. So why not let those bright, juicy pieces of deliciousness be your child’s first solid food?
So when should I start the solid food process?
Again, it appears to differ depending on your culture. According to Let the Journey Begin, folks in the UK are advised to wait until six months.
Here’s a chart for reference. From Let the Journey Begin:
Between the 4th and 6th month: vegetable-potato-meat-tomate-puree
From the 6th month: milk-cereal porridge
From the 7th month: cereal-fruit porridge
From the 10th month: gradual introduction of family meals
Having said that, other studies show that between 4-6 months is a perfectly fine time to introduce solid foods.
It really all comes down to asking the right questions and educating yourself with quality sources. Translation: Read and ask questions! That’s really the bottom line.
What’s the takeaway?
The Internet is an endless well of knowledge for parents, and doing your research truly can help in understanding how you want to introduce food into your child’s life – and maybe even understanding how other people see the process.