TAKING THE FUSS OUT OF DINNER TIME
Handling your little picky eaters
The Instagram account My Kid Can’t Eat This reblogs real struggles of parents all over the world with their little picky eaters. The reasons range from the bread is broken to pizzas can’t be square.
Married couple Zoe Bather and Joe Sharpe know the feeling so they decided to write a book in a bid to help solve the problem for other parents. Around The World With The Ingreedies is a children’s picture and cookbook that aims to get kids excited about new foods through sharing fun food facts and recipes from around the world. Bather says: “We don’t expect kids to like everything they’re given to eat. But we do believe if you tell them about the history and culture of food, it will inspire them to try something new. Eating together should be a pleasure, not a pain.”
Here are some of her tips...
EXPOSE THEM TO CULTURES
Through books, TV or trips out, encourage children to explore the history and culture that surrounds food. Chinese tea rituals, Mexican pinatas, Spanish tomato throwing festivals – these weird and wonderful, exotic tales of food will spark their interest in associated ingredients, flavours and recipes.
PLAN MEALS TOGETHER
Get some cookery books out and involve the kids in deciding what you’re going to eat. If they see you implementing some of their ideas, they’ll be much more accepting of what’s put in front of them.
GO SHOPPING TOGETHER
If they’re old enough, challenge them to find some ingredients on your list. Simply handling some veg or counting out some fruit gets them familiar with raw ingredients - demystifying what’s in their dinner. They’ll also see how much effort goes into preparing meals and start to value more what they eat
INVOLVE THEM WHEN COOKING
Get them to taste or smell an ingredient, and have them play some small part in the preparation or cooking (a stir here, a teaspoon of something there), and they’ll be excited to try the end result with you.
ONE MEAL FOR ALL
Eat together round the table whenever possible, and eat the same thing. Don’t separate what they’re eating from what you’re eating, as you’re setting yourself up for making several dinners each night. You’re not a restaurant. When eating out, hunt out restaurants that don’t have a separate kids menu, but offer half portions and can be flexible on toppings, sauces and condiments.
Kids won’t always like everything you cook. But talking about what they liked or disliked in a dish goes a long way. Get them to describe tastes or textures they weren’t keen on, and perhaps you can change that for next time by going easy on the lemon or leaving out a spice.
MAKE FOOD EXCITING
Try something new as a family once a week – explore an unfamiliar cuisine, have a go at a new recipe or just try using a new ingredient. If they see you trying something new, they’ll want to be part of the experience and fun, and will ultimately have a much more open and less anxious attitude towards food.
SAY AAH: Feeding a fussy eater can be frustrating. Get a bit of help from the book Around The World With The Ingreedies, available on Amazon.com