Updated: Aug 14, 2018
Toddlers and food. Every parents secret nightmare at some stage.
I learnt the hard way with this one, I was brought up with the attitude that If I didn't eat what I was given a. I was rude, b. I was being unappreciative and c. For sure i'd go hungry.
I was also kindly reminded that there were children in the world who'd "cut off their right arm for this food" cheers mom.
So I adopted the same attitude, or atleast I tried to.
Nearly 10 years ago with my first born, there weren't all the food bloggers, yummy diaries etc and kids eat websites that there are now and nutrition was something that you just tried to keep up with, following the recommendations of health visitors and the weaning process and desperately trying to make sure you crammed in somewhere close to the five-a-day.
When Dillan started solids I decided that I wouldn't buy any of the jarred baby foods and that I'd try to keep it as organic as possible, being a new mom kind of gave me the time.
So I invested in a mulee machine, just a little mini one that blasted the same meal we were having into a paste like mixture for his dinner, which was great because as time went on I blasted for a little less time allowing for more lumps and bumps just like the jarred foods do when they go up in stages, then gradually I added whole fruits and veg on the side to help get his hands involved and develop his senses and motor skills. It worked really well until he got slightly older and started to turn his nose up at certain textures and the slimey fruits. So after a week or so of his refusal to eat anything but yoghurt, I decided that I needed to create more interest in the dishes I was giving him. So cucumbers where cut in half and called ice creams, water became vanilla water.. you get my drift.. My friends thought I was crazy, meanwhile it was their children that looked crazy on all the e-numbers and fruit shoots they were consuming, and soon enough I became the envy of my friends because my kid wasn't fussy at all, he would try anything if I made it sound fun, and if he didn't actually like it, fine, but he was trying it again the next week just to be sure..
So by the time my second came along I was pro, I was meal prepping in advance, freezing baby food for trips, batch cooking veggies and sweet potato and I started as I meant to go on with all those foods you expect children to hate, avocado, tomatoes, salad. By the time Harley was old enough to hold a veggie stick he was used to all the crazy flavours, I even had him chewing on prawns purely because they were covered in ketchup. Sounds hideous I know, but I was getting it all in. I point blank refuse to cook my children a separate meal to ours because there's just absolutely no need, Ive even gone as far as not owning a freezer over the last 2 years to avoid processed and frozen foods so everything we eat is fresh, which granted makes the 'big shop' slightly more challenging but it's well worth it.
This is no preach I'm extremely proud of my children, but lets face it what they don't know won't hurt them and this ethos has completely cut fizzy and soft drinks out of their diet and they only eat chocolate as a treat, never sweets.. unless a naught family member sneaks them some, in which case, I guess what I don't know doesn't hurt me.. haha works both ways but, they don't ask for them and there's no sugar buzz difficulties at home, which is a bonus.
And wow am I reaping the benefits now, I always dreaded having that child that you couldn't send to anybodies house for playdates easily because they weren't easy to please, and those embarrassing meal-out meltdowns.. Don't get me wrong, they're far from perfect but mealtimes became a focus point of our evenings, a time for conversation and easy eating, the children help prepare meals and both of them help with washing their own plates and cutlery.
Speaking of which did you see that viral about Japanese school mealtimes compared to the uk?! well worth the google if you get time, its a shame were not all taught the same health ethics from an early age over here.
There's something extremely satisfying about tricking the children after they've said they don't like something before even trying it, (naughty mommy) so my go-to method is to cut the food up into pretty shapes and pictures to entice them in, and it works, every time.