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Lydia Gard is a freelance writer specialising in luxury family travel, since having two boys she is determined to find truly luxurious places that celebrate rather than simply tolerate young families. Here Lydia talks us through her top tips for eating abroad with toddlers on toddler friendly holidays...
Becoming a Global Eater
Childhood memories are a blur of colour, place and time, punctuated by poignant sensory experiences. Young children may not remember the hotel or even the country, but that first sip of fresh coconut juice or the slippery, salty tang of an oyster will never be forgotten. We're a family of big eaters. I would say we're gastronomes but we're nowhere near that sophisticated. For me, eating should be part of the adventure, and encouraging Small to explore the world through his tastebuds put places into context, "Remember Mauritius, where you had the really spicy lamb?" I know I'm lucky to have a child who eats whatever I put in front of him, but even fussy eaters can enjoy travelling by taste. If you want to watch your kids enjoy experimenting with their own taste.
Try these tips..
Prepare them before you leave by visiting your local farmers market or ethnic food store. Let them touch, smell and taste the unusual flavours. Set them a challenge to try something new, and then describe to you what it tastes like. Do the same when you travel. The local market is a great place to be immersed in a new culture. Eat out and eat together as often as you can, avoiding the temptation to opt for a 'kids menu'. We take it for granted but the way food is presented can be fascinating and kids love variety. Dim sum in a steaming basket or sushi on a conveyor belt always delights Small. Before you fly, choose a recipe from your destination and cook up their imagination. To a child, measuring out the ingredients, smelling spices and chopping vegetables is a treat not a chore. Look at each food label and talk about the origins. Be open-minded. You may not like Indian or Japanese food but that doesn't mean your kids won't. Encourage them to try everything and never tell them they won't like something until they've had a chance to try it for themselves. Likewise if they have tried it and don't like it, don't force it. Make it fun. Small challenges, like 'I bet you can't eat three different orange vegetables', make eating a game. Eating with chopsticks (however messy) or letting them feel the slippery Okra, squidgy Tofu and take the focus off the food and onto the experience.
Read more on toddler friendly holidays from Lydia on http://littleluxlifestyle.com