My son is brilliant at eating fruit and veg, he loves his food as a rule but he is super fussy when it comes to texture! No sauce, no soft textures- on some days he won’t even eat a cooked carrot as they are too squishy!! Very annoying as we love our curries, risottos and sauces with food! Even more annoying that when he is in nursery he eats nearly everything they make for him! So here is how I am trying to sort it!
1. Shane the Chef! – if you haven’t seen it I actually really like it. It’s a cartoon of a chef (who looks like Gary Rhodes!) who lives by the sea and makes healthy food. There is a sceptical boy called Mario who tries everything despite him thinking he doesn’t like it. My son adores this programme and it has been such a good first step for him being a bit braver when he thinks he doesn’t like something. Particular favourites include the Coconut calypso chicken and the sweet potato chip episode!
2. Cooking – I always cooked with various people from my family as I grew up. I cooked family dinners from 11, not because I had to but because I loved it. My son bakes with his grandparents (I am not the best cake maker!) And he cooks alot with me. He cracks all the eggs, makes the pesto and generally joins in where he can. It does make a mess and take a little more time so sometimes I just can’t face it. However the more we do it the more efficient it becomes and it actually is really useful to have a little helper!
3.Daring dinners- my son has left his current private childcare as he starts reception and his fussiness of sauces seems to disappear when he is there! At the moment I find we end up cooking what we know the kids will eat. So now on Daring dinner days we cook what me and my husband enjoy and the kids have to be a bit daring to try it. I am not offering rewards as such just lots of build up and praise. It hasn’t been 100% successful so far but progress has been made and I am pleased we have started it now ahead of winter stews (which I love!)
4. Talking about food groups- This came from the healthy eating chats at school. They talked about treats and healthy food and suddenly my son wanted to count how much we had that was healthy and not. I have introduced the food groups to him to talk about the balance of our meals. He has a genuine interest in food which helps and he is fascinated to know what is protein or carbohydrates! As I write this I realise how ridiculous it sounds but it’s working so I stand by it!
5. Smell it, lick it, taste it- I can’t really remember how this came about but with our daring dinners this has become a little phrase we keep saying and it has been super successful! It just encourages them to take that first step!
I know my son is definitely not the fussiest eater out there so I am in no position to preach what to do! However these things have helped me so much to overcome the worry that my son will have such a limited profile of food. I have always exposed him to the foods he says he doesn’t like but actually I know he is at an age where we can talk more about it all and encourage. Second time round I definitely feel less stressed that my daughter won’t eat certain things a nd I am way more patient waiting for good food habits to sink in!