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How Old Before My Child Can Eat Lobster

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Your Email Questions Answered by Dr. Susan Turben

How old does a child have to be to eat seafood such as lobster, crab, shrimp, etc…?

The decision to offer solid foods to very young children is usually made by pediatricians who are most concerned about the immature digestive tracts of toddlers and preschoolers. It is common for young children to instinctively dislike a large number of food products. The reason kids stick up their noses at a lot of foods is partly based on the appearance of only one kind of food on a plate. They like to pick and snack and use their fingers, so a good idea is to offer several items on the plate and only offer a few bites of each food at one time.

Kids in their preschool years and older are known to be heavily influenced by viewing types of food on TV. They quickly adapt to food that appears on billboards or signs like Mickie D. Most parents do not think their children eat enough but the truth is that the child’s stomach is not bigger than a good size lemon!

That is why kids need snacks and three sit-down (no TV) meals a day! Offer as little sugar as possible because sugar increases hunger rapidly and within an hour, kids start bugging you to eat candy or something with more sugar. Generally, children under the age of five are too picky to want to try unusual foods, but if you let kids use their fingers and just sample a taste off fingers rather than having to eat a whole spoonful, they will do it!

Unless there are allergies, mucus, swallowing issues, or bowel or bladder problems, parents wait too long to teach their kids to enjoy eating with them. Carbohydrates are especially popular and Italian, Polish, Mexican and American cooking are the usual favorites. Indian, Russian, Korean and other Asian dishes are not as popular, but really tasty. Be careful not to over-spice your cooking.

If you really want your child to be a good and healthy eater, it is simple…really! Offer food without making him or her eat very much at a time. Sit with your child and talk to him or her. Have fun eating and talking. It is more social than nutritional for children to want to go to the table and try new foods! Set an example…it works every time.

Now for the fish thing…most fish and shellfish actually do cause some reaction, mostly dislike; however many five-to eight year-olds like fried or baked fish with cheese and bread more than kids that age like beef. Hamburgers and hot dogs are exceptions, for sure. Then there are the vegetable kids. If you offer at least one vegetable twice a day and don’t talk about it, the idea will sink in that the family rule is that all kids must have at least two veggies a day, preferably raw, and not too much of it. Try not to give babies any baby food vegetables in a jar…puree it yourself!

There is so much sugar in those little jars, even when the label says they are sugar-reduced or sugar-free. NOT!!!! On that same order, avoid giving little and big kids too many foods everyday containing corn syrup. It is hard to find a lot of food that doesn’t have it! Even English muffins have corn syrup, for flavor if you can believe it! Check with your physician. They know your child and know the right diet for them.

Ask Dr. Susan