We have a 14 months old toddler at home and are wondering to what extent what she eats now is going to affect her food preferences later in life - and is this something we should actively try to impact now?

This question is not about healthy / unhealthy foods (we already know that vegetables are good, and salty products bad), but rather about more general food preferences, e.g. national cuisine.

To elaborate, the situations is the following one: due to the COVID pandemic, she has always stayed at home with us and been fed food that is almost exclusively either (1) cooked by us at home or (2) purchased in the local supermarket. In short, she is very used to the local cuisine. Now, we're living in a small European country, and its fairly typical for us here to study abroad, work abroad, or emigrate altogether to a different country. I have plenty of experience with living abroad myself, and it's likely my daughter too will move abroad at some point of her life. The thing is: when living abroad, I had problems to find "comfort foods" for myself, and disliked many of meal options popular with the locals there. I'd rather wish that my daughther avoided developing strong preferences for the local food, especially e.g. sweets and dairy products not readily available in other countries.

  • Hello, I understand your concern but I do not see the question you ask here? Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


At some point kids have to eat what the family eats. That doesn't mean you can't have them try various foods. Culture is also in the meals you cook and that's what you transmit to your child.

I don't think you should promote specific foods though, but definitely you should try things that you make yourself which are offbeat. That said, don't make 1 meal for the family but give a whole other meal to your daughter.

Like all people, there will be things she grows to like more than others. The difficult part is when the kid start to balk when they see unfamiliar food, in which case you should encourage (not force) them to try 1 bite. Then another. And accept that sometimes, people don't like some foods.

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