A few days ago an article surfaced online which gave a few of us parenting bloggers a good old chuckle. It centred on how to get your little fussy eaters to consume nutritious and healthy meals,one of the holy grails of good parenting. Children as we know can be notorious for not wanting to eat well. My kids are no different!
The article had three little steps to follow in order to get your picky eater back on track towards healthy living and away from the type 2 diabetes express hurtling on the horizon. It was as easy as 1,2,3,they proclaimed. You simply stuck to the 3 ‘r’s and you would begin to see results.There was a whole study and everything which like proved it must be fact. Except that the law of averages states that what works for one group of random kids probably won’t work for another. And so it has proved with the minis. For the record,here are the three magic ‘r’s.
1.Repeat. You keep introducing foods until they eventually pass tiny unwilling lips.
2. Role modelling You show your kids how tasty everything is. I have begun to lose the will to live by making exaggerated “mmmmm” noises.The minis aren’t buying it for a second. In fact,all I seem to be doing is encouraging them to give their food to me,such is the fuss they see me making over what’s on their plates.
3. Rewards Where praising the child for their good behaviour in trying new things will 4. reinforce their desire to eat healthily.
I added in an extra ‘r’ there.The sad fact of the matter is I could add an extra hundred ‘r’s and it wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference with fussy eaters! They are so called because they are just that-fussy about eating and all that comes close to their little gobs.
There was a time when both minis ate everything (and I do mean everything-olives, fish,all manner of veg) but once they reached the 18 month mark they both start rejecting healthy,flavoursome meals in favour of bland,beige food. I’m trying to look at it from their point of view. They’ve tried a lot of foods.They knows what they like and what they dislike. They’re then choosing to ask for their favourite food (chips and potato waffles by the way) every single day of the year. Which is not exactly unheard of or unlike us grown ups who should know better. Show of hands who has had this exact same sentence floating around in their heads at least once or twice in their lifetimes?
I’m going to eat a whole box of -insert entirely inappropriate food stuff here- for my dinner cos I’m an adult and I can do what I want!
Here are a list of things I have tried in vain in order to get a more varied and healthy diet up and running for the minis.
Getting them to help peel and chop vegetables.
Talking about all the lovely dinners that include vegetables when we’re out doing a food shop.
Making chips out of healthy alternatives such as sweet potato or polenta.
Hiding tiny scraps of meat and veg in their beloved potato waffles.
This last one is the only one that has proved to be a success. After over two and a half years of stressful dinner experiences,I think the last one is the way to go.Yes,it’s a bit tedious placing the most delicate of openings for other food stuffs in the waffles themselves and yes the actual amount of good food they’re getting is microscopic but the stress levels at mealtimes have been reduced to zero.
Although we did all eat out in a sushi restaurant the other day. All four of us. The girls played with the chopsticks in relative peace and quiet as we waited for our food to arrive. They ate bowls of steamed rice balls and drank green tea. We got to enjoy our Bento boxes instead of the usual carboholic dishes on offer in more kid friendly eating establishments. It was a rare occasion where we got to be those smug asshole look my kids are better than yours cos we ‘re eating in a goddamn sushi restaurant kind of parents.
Of course hours later,I was back to bending over a kitchen countertop dicing up ham into tiny,undetectable pieces and shoving them into frozen processed potato products but at least we’ll always have Wa Cafe in Galway,where a mealtime marriage of culinary delights and happy kids meant for 24 minutes at least,we were finally living the dream.