Cover story:

This week we turn to the real ex­perts on what chil­dren want to eat: the kids – and re­ceive some sur­pris­ingly healthy an­swers

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS -

Eat your greens. It’s the re­lent­less parental chime in an age of food warn­ings, child­hood obe­sity and strong-minded tots.

In­un­dated by ad­vice, many par­ents are left con­fused about what kids should eat, how to cater to ‘picky eaters’, and are treats al­lowed, like ever?

It’s true, Aus­tralian chil­dren don’t eat enough veg­eta­bles. Be­tween two and 18, kids eat on av­er­age 1.8 serves of veg a day, and less than 1 per cent con­sume the rec­om­mended num­ber of serves of veg, ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics. Ade­laide health re­search in 2016 found pro­cessed and ‘junk foods’ make up half of many chil­dren’s daily en­ergy in­take. It’s no won­der that around one in four Aus­tralian chil­dren aged five to 17 are over­weight or obese.

We know the rules.As food writer Michael Pol­lan puts it, “eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. Kids and par­ents alike are con­stantly bom­barded with new ad­vice.Fat falls in and out of fash­ion, we’re told to quit sugar and there’s al­ways a must-eat su­per food. Av­o­cado, any­one?

But no mat­ter the ad­vice, the lat­est health trend or ‘wis­dom’, kids, as they say, will be kids. Chil­dren can re­mind us that food should also be a joy.It’s time to lis­ten. Kids will al­ways want their cake, their tow­ers of waf­fles, their wedges of wa­ter­melon. They may also make some sur­pris­ing, adult- ap­proved choices.We turn to the real ex­perts on what chil­dren want to eat in 2017: the kids.

DAPHNE, 11

I’m not a picky eater, but with some foods I just won’t eat them. Not with most things. Like, I like eat­ing a lot of ad­vanced foods, like olives and kale chips, but I don’t really like eat­ing things with pump­kin in them. I don’t like, what’s that sour thing you put in kom­bucha? Gin­ger. I don’t like gin­ger. I like shak­shuka, which has eggy beans in it, and I only like sour­dough bread, not the other soft kind.We call that party bread.

The worst thing I’ve ever eaten is pump­kin and spinach lasagne, which my mum made last week. I used to really like pump­kin but now I don’t that much, and I used to like, what’s it called? Spanako­pita. But I just started not lik­ing it. Some­times mum makes things too much. I used to not like may­on­naise and pick­les but now I love them and I also don’t like chicken curry any­more, home­made, be­cause it was made too much. Le­banese is the best food be­cause it’s got just all those lentils and pita bread and hum­mus.And pick­les.

JACK (PIC­TURED, LEFT), 6

I’m not really fussy with food but when my sis­ter Mar­ley gets better food than me I fuss. I like most things. I used to eat figs and brus­sels sprouts. I don’t even eat them any­more. I change my mind about food. I used to like Weet­bix for break­fast and now I like waf­fles. I want to eat dough­nuts with straw­berry ic­ing. They taste so good and I like their shape. I wish my par­ents would cook fish and chips and hash browns some­times. What other things will they never give me? McDon­alds! Kids at school def­i­nitely have a better lunch than me. A boy Toby some­times [has] a mini dough­nut, and a burger as his sand­wich. But he is really fit, some­how.

BELLA (PIC­TURED, RIGHT), 6

I’m a fussy eater be­cause I don’t like pick­les.The worst thing I’ve ever eaten is pick­les. I used to not like car­rots and now I love car­rots. No­body has to make me eat them, I get them from the fridge by my­self. They’re crunchy and nice. Pears aren’t as yummy as they used to be. I can make my own toast. If mum gives me a pickle I will hide it in the bin.

HARRY, 7

Healthy food is good but some­times you need some sweets for a one-off. If you eat healthy for such a long time you might need to have some sweets. When I grow up I will eat pizza, and green beans, for din­ner. My favourite food was a choco­late vol­cano ex­plod­ing thing [choco­late lava pud­ding]. Ital­ians eat the best food be­cause there’s pizza and ice cream. Some­times I worry about food. I don’t know whether I’m go­ing to like new food and then if I eat a lump of it I might ex­plode, it might be really bad.

MAR­LEY (PIC­TURED, MID­DLE), 9

We have a shop­ping prob­lem in our fam­ily. My mum writes the shop­ping list and some­times it’s too healthy. I’m not fussy, really. I mean I like Brus­sels sprouts. I don’t like them boiled but I like them roasted and with ba­con. Mum makes them.The worst thing I don’t like is a tomato.Any tomato.

I have changed my mind about food. Mac and cheese, def­i­nitely. I used to think it’s too cheesy; now I like the cheese. I like mid­dle cheese. I like pizza. And chorizo. It’s a thick, spicier ver­sion of salami. It’s yummy. It orig­i­nated in Spain, we learnt about it at school.It comes in pack­ets. But my favourite food is dough­nuts. Dough­nuts, def­i­nitely. I like straw­berry ones. Ex­cept some­times they’re too plain.But then I like the choco­late ones and they’re too bit­ter.So then I like the straw­berry ones.

I don’t know what coun­try makes the best food. What coun­try makes waf­fles? [Amer­ica.] OK, Amer­ica. I can cook. I cooked a mar­ble cake for my dad for his birth­day. Some­times when food in our cup­board gets so bor­ing I cook my own lunch.

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