Cooking with wine can tenderize meat and add a concentrated flavor to dishes. The Military Officers Association of America states that it can be used in chicken and beef dishes and in soups. Although cooking with wine while feeding your toddler is considered safe and can offer some interesting flavors for his developing palate, you can also use alternatives that prove just as tasty.
When cooking with wine, the alcohol evaporates as the dish cooks. According to CookingWithKids.com, it takes several minutes for this evaporation to occur. While trace residues of alcohol will remain, it remains in such small amounts that are considered safe for a toddler's consumption. If you are cooking with wine, you can make sure that the wine has been cooked long enough by following the recipe carefully and not taking shortcuts.
Some types of wines are better to use for cooking than others. Specialty cooking wines are typically those with salt and other preservatives added to them. However, consuming extra unwanted salt is unhealthy for your toddler and can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure. Cooking With Kids recommends that you use regular wine in place of wines specifically labeled for cooking use to avoid such issues.
If you are uncomfortable with cooking with wine for your toddler, or if your religion or lifestyle prevents it, you can omit the wine completely without compromising flavor or texture as long as wine is not one of the recipe’s main ingredients. If the wine cannot be totally omitted, use a substitute. Chicken broth and water are both substitutes for white wine, while apple juice can be substituted for red wine.
Although wine won’t ignite when you add it to a cooking pan like stronger liquors will, you should still keep your toddler away from the stove while cooking with it. Turn off the heat on the burner when you add the wine, then gradually turn the heat back up to cook off the alcohol. Keep wine bottles and all other alcohols stored out of your toddler's reach.