From fast food to fine dining, many of the kiddies meals (and even grown-up meals) wasn’t around 30 or 40 years ago. This means that there is a good chance that what your kids are eating, you never ate when you were younger, either because it wasn’t around or because it was just unheard of.
Modern British children have eaten curry by the age of five and mussels by age six and sushi is on the menu by the age of seven, a new poll suggests.
In the UK a survey was recently conducted with parents and revealed a generational shift in what children will eat, with the average youngster trying things their parents didn’t eat until they were well into adulthood - such as chillies.
According to the poll, one in ten children under ten have tried an oyster - with hummus, bao buns from China, Japanese katsu curry and Mexican quesadillas among a list of world foods parents never tried as youngsters, but that their children regularly enjoy.
Janice Johannes from Cape Town, is a single mom of two boys who both enjoy the finer things in life.
She says it happened accidently that one day she had brought sushi home as a treat for herself and the boys wanted to taste it.
Johannes says: “Because I love sushi I brought it home one day and I thought, here is finally something I can eat on my own and they’re not going to be interested it.”
But she was mistaken, her then six year old son Lucas and his brother Sasha (4 years old) tasted the sushi and loved it.
“It became a thing after that, we would go out and they would order sushi and they would want their own plates, their own soy sauce and their own chopsticks.”
In order to control their taste for exotic foods, Johannes says she uses outings to fine dining restaurants and sushi bars as treats to reward good behaviour.
But are there hard and fast rules about what your kids should be eating from foreign shores? This is debatable, but pharmacist and complementary medicines expert Giulia Criscuolo says there are some guidelines for parents.
She says: “Jill Castle, an American paediatric nutritionist says that a child’s immune system development is slow and steady during the first 2-3 years of life, and by age 4-6 years old, adult levels of immunity are seen.”
Criscuolo adds: “Your child’s immune system continues to develop throughout puberty. Given this information, waiting until 5-6 years of age to introduce raw fish and uncooked sushi is the best way to ensure your child is defended against potentially harmful substances.”
In short she believes parents should feed children real food prepared in a reputable restaurant. “Stay away pre-packaged exotic food especially if you cannot read or understand what the list of ingredients are,” says Criscuolo.