What makes a child a reluctant (fussy), or good eater?
I get asked a lot of questions about what my children eat and their eating habits. I counted myself lucky until a little while ago when I really started to think about what it was that made my children’s eating habits not fit into the reluctant (or fussy eater) category.
The most common questions I am asked about my children (in relation to meals) are:
“Did your children really eat that ?”
“If you ate that for dinner what did your children have?”
I also receive statements such as:
“I wish my kids would eat that”
“(Child’s name) would never give that a try”
I met Christie from Childhood 101 this year as part of my blogging journey. She is passionate about children’s development. Her award winning parenting site is the main vehicle she uses to shares her passion for all things childhood, including quality early education, the role of play in children’s learning and the importance of family. Lucky for me she agreed to be co-author of my first e-book Family Food – The Dinner Edition. The book includes a range of Christie’s hints and tips to help parents deal with meal time challenges, including strategies for dealing with reluctant eaters.
Reading through Christie’s tips really set me thinking about my own children’s eating and our family meal time. I am not sure if my children are “Supertasters” (You will need to grab a copy of the book to find out more about this!) or if they have simply inherited my love of food. Maybe it is the food I have fed them since they were babies, or the involvement they have in helping me in the garden to grow our own vegetables, and in the kitchen to prepare their food?
OR maybe I am just plain lucky?
My gut feel is that it is a combination of these things. My boys are not perfect, they sometime refuse to eat their dinner but it happens infrequently. Dinner time is usually welcomed and enjoyed.
The key things that work for my family are:
Growing as much of our own food in our garden as possible and involving the children in all that that entails
We talk about the produce as it grows, when we pick it and ideas for cooking with it.
My children enjoy food related play and we actively encourage that. While they play I hear them exploring ideas of food combinations, techniques, measurements and sharing special things with the people they care about.
I involve the boys in food preparation and food choices (to a degree) – Not everyday as this is not feasible. Their favourite meals are always the ones that they help to prepare.
Yesterday my almost two year old help me make nigiri for dinner and he ate the entire plate, as did his brother who was very impressed with what his little brother did while he was at kinder. I missed capturing the salmon that was on top of the nigiri as he gobbled it down before I grabbed my camera!
As a mum, I fully appreciate that what works for my family and my children may not work for your family.
Christie’s tips in Family Food-The Dinner Edition offer a range of things to try that could work for you, including some of the ones that work for us, as listed here. The book includes a selection of recipes that can be made with involvement from the kid in the Family Fun section. If you have the time it can be very fun to do this type of activity with the kids, and their friends…
(Lego)”Man” joined in the nigiri fun yesterday and had his own allocation of black sesame seeds to eat 🙂
Our book is available at a discounted launch price for the remainder of this week only.
If you need some recipe inspiration or meals that work for the whole family and some great practical tips on making family meal time a happy, memorable time for your family this book could be what you are after.
Do you have reluctant eaters? What is the strategy that works best for you?
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