I’m not a huge fan of packet food for myself or my kids but I’m not violently opposed either. There’s a place for junk food after a long day . . . I might have mentioned that my husband is currently away from home. This extra domestic responsibility means that by the end of my day I have run out of steam in the area of creative cuisine for kids and it’s very easy to fall for the trap of packet food.
I have persisted with healthy options though, but dinner time has become a battle ground where night after night I serve up something healthy and tasty and Master 3 simply will not even look at it. Pushing food away that I have lovingly prepared and calling it ‘yucky’ is more than a little heartbreaking. Actually it downright pisses me off. Especially since Master 2, who would normally eat shit (his own even!) through a sock is catching on to the game of how to make Mama madder than a bucket of frogs!
I have tried many ways to make the food appealing. I have created ‘meat people with cheesy hair’ (rissole mince pushed through a gingerbread man cookie cutter with grated cheese for hair. Note this can be jazzed up further by creating a face with dobs of tomato sauce). I have created ‘mashed potato snow people’ with arms and legs of carrots and mini pizza ‘faces’ with olives for eyes and cashews for smiles. I have let them pick vegetables from our garden and help make the food in an effort to spark an interest.
It’s all had limited success. The novelty food creations basically work once, if at all, and then I’m back to square one next time trying to be even more creative only to end up with the same result.
I have run the gamut with kids and food. I have tried forcing them to taste new things (thinking that if they could just get a taste they would want more, result: more food is spat out on the floor and everyone is cries), preparing separate special favourite foods, coaxing and cajoling, dessert bribery, making food fun and just pretending not to care.
Right now I am at the stage of ‘this is the food we are all eating tonight. If you don’t eat it you must stay at the table until everyone else has finished. Then you can have a drink, a bath and go to bed.’
I think it’s working because my children are not malnourished and it has greatly reduced the number of tears and whining at dinner time.
Do your kids eat easily? How do you make food appealing to them?