I often see posts on Facebook about how people can get their kids to eat vegies, fruit or anything at all, or anything other than crap – I always wonder how they get the said crap, but that’s not why I am writing this post. I am thinking and it’s just my personal thoughts and speaking from experience with two young children who have gone through moments of eating everything in sight to nothing at all.
There are two things that stick out, one is baby lead weaning or BLW and the other is participation – in the growing, shopping, packing away and cooking of food and meals. I think for me this combination has been a winner and meant that our kids eat anything and everything, except for pork.
That statement also has to be prefaced by as long as they’re hungry they’ll eat anything.
Zachie had his first preserved lemon at 9mths of age, when I was dishing him up some of the tajine that we were having for dinner and I thought it was potato, I still remember the look on his little face, all squished up, but he ate it and hasn’t really looked back since. He has his moments of only eating bananas or weetbix/porridge for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
One thing I found beneficial was to bring dinner forward so that he wasn’t too tired to eat. That and letting go of my food hang ups about having to eat everything on the plate (even a Dad sized serving as a child) and remembering that they won’t starve themselves so there is no need to offer up any number of dishes, just what we’re having and if they’re hungry they’ll eat.
It’s always a good idea to look at the eating pattern your child may have and look at it over a few days rather than meal by meal, you might actually find that he or she eats a decent amount. Sophia has hardly any breakfast, picks at lunch and inhales dinner, she has always been like that. Sometimes she’ll even have two dinners, hers and some of ours.
Baby led weaning has many forms the purists will say that babies aren’t offered anything pureed, but I tend to think that’s a bit extreme. Once I’d established that neither of our kids were allergic to anything and they could sit up, I offered anything and everything from risotto to tajines to fish, you name it they eat it and I always sat/sit with them to eat. As babies that was for Zachie peaches, mangoes, berries etc as he reached that age in summer, Soph was a bit harder as it was autumn fruits for her, pears, steamed pieces of apple etc. I also waited until they watched every mouthful we had, again this is different for every child, but it’s a good indicator that they’re ready to start trying solids that’s for sure.
Anyway I just went from there, I did leave out salt (added later for us) and finely diced chicken, meat etc but otherwise there were very few adjustments I had to make to our diet in order to accommodate their taste buds.
I have always taken them to the market and got them to smell the cantaloupe, berries etc and look at the fish and I take the time to explain different foods to them as well, as much as we’re a Middle Eastern/Italian food house, if they’ve asked for Asian style noodles I have attempted to make them as I don’t want to discourage their love of all food just because Dad’s a fussy bum and only likes Moroccan food!
They have both also from a very young age either been in the kitchen watching me cook or helping (All you pearl clutches out there can speak with hubby about the photo of Zachie stirring the tomato sugo we made on the weekend) Helping has been in the form of putting the fruit away, scraping the fork down a cucumber, squishing the mince and making it into meat balls & cooking them. Zachie has even had a crack at making a cake, with a bit of help from me and the kitchen aid.
Zachie’s first attempt at Joyce’s Lemon Cake
The other thing it does too is keep them out from under your feet while you’re trying to cook dinner as was the case today, Sophia squishing the feta into our salad. Zachie cutting X in the tomatoes in preparation for blanching them. It all leads to fun times, enjoyment of food and I hope wonderful memories of days making things together. Next adventure will be more berry picking this time with Soph in tow.