extracted from The Not-So-New Mum’s Notebook

Struggling with what to feed your kids?

Struggling with what to feed your kids?

Mealtime – the time when mums are most likely to be found pulling their hair out. Feeding young kids can be stressful, unrewarding and really hard to master. Despite everyone telling you not to worry when your child isn’t eating or they refuse to exist on anything other than plain pasta or a beige banquet from the freezer, it physically hurts that nurturing bit of your heart and soul. It doesn’t matter how many inventive ways you find to hide vegetables in a sauce, your toddler just knows. Their sixth sense has picked up that you are trying to trick them with SOMETHING THAT IS NOT BEIGE. Well, would you mind if I tell you NOT to worry? That it’s all going to be ok and your toddler is NOT always going to eat like this. That one day, theymay even voluntarily eat a bit of cabbage or spinach? I am not kidding.

There is a reason for fussy eating

Somewhere along this merry journey of feeding my kids, I learned about food neophobia, which occurs in children at around 18 months to two years old. Apparently, it’s an evolutionary trait designed to protect them from harm, which results in them treating anything new with suspicion, presumably dating back to more primitive times when they were much more likely to be exposed to red berries and wild mushrooms that could literally kill them. It doesn’t matter if this seems a bit far-fetched now, when you’re serving them a completely sterile chicken casserole. Don’t you feel just a little bit better for having a rational reason for their pickiness?

How to get your kid(s) to eat

Put it on your plate and look like you’re enjoying it. This method is almost foolproof. I can serve identical foods on different plates. Theirs will be pushed aside in disgust and, seconds later, they’ll be tucking into mine and saying, ‘Mmmmmmm’. Other tactics include eliminating snacks – fussy kids are much more likely to eat when they’re really hungry – and serving what you know they’ll eat, even if they have had it five days in a row. This will save yoursanity, if nothing else and it won’t do them any harm. For about two years, my middle child would only eat plain pasta with butter. Sometimes, she’d be really wild and have a bagel. It used to kill me. At the age of six, she now scoffs down a full roast dinner; broccoli, carrots and all. What’s better, her four-year-old brother, who pretty much weaned himself on chocolate fingers and anything he found on the car floor, copies her (one perk of having multiple children). Finally, you can always offset all the beige stuff and get some actual nutri­ents down them with one of those fruit or vegetable pouches you buy during weaning, even if they’re WAY past the weaning stage. It doesn’t matter how you do it; just find a way that works for you.

Amy Ransom writes for Female First
Amy Ransom writes for Female First
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