Hey, there today I am writing a post on the one thing that I always find myself talking about with the other mothers I bump in to daily. The fussy eater’s in our lives are driving us mad. I have tried everything to get my son to be as adventurous as his sister when it comes to food but its just not happening to me. They are very different people anyway, but I sometimes wonder what has caused this fussiness in my son as he was brought up with the exact same rules, schedule, routine as his sister but he is the total opposite when it comes to food. Although I have found that he will be much more open to trying new things at his nursery, he recently started a full day session at nursery every Thursday and on his first day it was pork casserole for lunch and much to my disbelief he actually ate it. Now, normally it would be a hissy fit, even if I just placed it down, he would not even try it if I gave him something like that at home, so I don’t know if it’s because he sees his friends eating different foods, or what but he definitely seems more open to trying new things when he is out of his usual surroundings, like, at home. But, I cannot be, at his nursery at every meal time!! So, here are a few tips that have helped me along the way, and, I hope they help you with your kid(s) too.
- 1. Hide what you can– This is a tip that even my mother admits doing with me and my younger brother when we were kids. She would grate up onion to put in dishes such as spaghetti bolognese, soup or mince, as I decided I did not like onions. The funny thing was, even though the taste had not changed, what-so-ever, the onion taste was still there, but, because I did not see it, I really honestly thought that all my dinner’s had no onion in them. More fool little me! I have adopted this trick for my own two kids, and it turns out this works with pretty much everything, I grate up carrots, swede, and onion as these are the veg that I use a lot but my children (think)they do not like, so, go on and give it a go and see if they can tell the difference. If they can still tell then move on to tip number two.
- 2. Get them involved– I love this little tip. If your child can taste what you are trying to hide in their meals then invite them to create quick healthy alternative’s, I find that making healthy puddings works best, my daughter and I have a favourite pudding which is delicious easy but she loves it and it gets a portion of fruit into her. We love to cover strawberries in chocolate, yep, it’s that simple, there are loads of things to try with your kids that are fun, easy and simple but still rewardingly healthy such as banana men. This is something that my son and I do and its pretty much just creating a little man out of part of a banana, raisins or chocolate drops. You can be as creative as you and your little ones like. For some inspiration check out my Pinterest board which is full to the brim with little suggestions, you can even stay within the season with home-made healthy lollipops for those summer days, or create beautiful Christmassy treats. Click here to check out the board.
- 3. Replace meal time favourites with healthier options – My son absolutely loves chips, if he will not eat anything, like, those days where your child is just being incredibly fussy, the one thing I am 100% sure that he will eat is chips, so I switched it up and used sweet potatoes instead of normal potatoes. And instead of the normal tomato ketchup, I looked online and found an amazing recipe for a home-made ketchup that was specifically for sweet potatoes. They looked the same, but, tasted better and was much more healthy. Now when I serve up normal chips he asks for the good chips. If your kiddie is a pizza monster then instead of buying ones from the shop why not make your own, they are so easy to make you can make your own base out of only a few ingredients (check out the board for ingredients) or you can buy a base, or you can use good old puff pastry for a puffier alternative. Add anything your child will like and get them to join in. A way to curb boredom by them joining in and a healthier option for the whole family. Total Mummy win!!!!
- 4. Make smoothies– If your child is the type that just cannot and will not put a piece of fruit near their mouth then this tip truly is your saviour. I guess I am lucky as my two kids both really love fruit. They will eat almost any type of fruit and most of the time they would prefer fruit to chocolate or crisps (most of the time not all of the time, they are kids) but I do know more than a few parents who have torn their hair out when it comes to trying to get their little bundle of joy to eat fruit, until, they got wind of this tip that is. If you do not have a blender then you have to get yourself one, honestly, you will use it all the time and wonder why you didn’t always have one. You can add anything to a smoothie and you can get some beautiful recipes, not only for children but for adults too, via my Pinterest board. On hot days you can add ice cubes or a little ice cream, kale is a great addition if you are making one for yourself and if you can get your little one to have some kale then that is a total achievement. You will be so surprised by just how sweet a smoothie can taste with just a bit of banana or strawberries added in beside almost anything, beetroot, carrots, you name it. A great way to get your, and your little ones five a day in the one go!!
- 5. Do not give in – No matter what you try, remember, persistence pays off. I know that all kids are different and some things will work for some while all of these tips just will not work at all with others. I know just how fussy kids can be. Although my kids are good at eating fruit, my daughter was a nightmare when she was smaller, she is seven now, but when she was about 18 months old she would not eat anything apart from baby food, I even tried her with soup and blending down proper food but she just would not eat it, I still do not know what it was about the baby food that she liked so much, maybe it was nothing, I asked the health visitor what she thought about it at the time and she explained that sometimes it can be a form of control, its a child’s way of trying to control the situation, “even at such a young age??” I asked, and the reply was a short sharp “course, her brain is like a sponge” and that was that. I just had to persevere and persist on giving her the exact same meals as we were having, until one day, she was in her high chair, we were having sausage, chips and beans (I know, very fancy, I am a normal everyday mum, I don’t own my own herb garden, I am just like you) and she leaned over, picked up one of the sausages and started to nibble away. To which I was over the moon and was able to breathe a sigh of relief. This is just an example to let you see that no one’s kids are perfect, even though there are parents who would like to think their kid is more superior than yours there will always, always be different stages and milestones that one child will reach quicker and better than another, that’s just the way it is. Just because your child has a hard time dealing with the consistency or texture of fruit and veg, or if they are just trying to take back a little control, its normal, so stop worrying, who cares what the other parents say, we should be helping and supporting each other rather than judging and belittling, hang on in there, try what you can and I promise you, that breakthrough is just around the corner.
I hope that these little tips help at least one person out there. I do this because I love writing and I have a passion to help others where I had no help. I wish there was someone I could talk to, judgement free, when I was a first-time mum, so that’s what I am trying to do. Either way, I love writing, I love life, and I love people.
Live, love, slay.