My children are what I like to call “instinctive eaters”. They eat when they are hungry, stop when they are full and enjoy all foods both healthy and not so healthy. My role is to mess with their feeding instincts as little as possible, so the opposite of how I was raised.
I still remember not feeling hungry and being made to sit at the table until I had cleaned my plate. In my parent’s defence, food was scarce when they were little and they learned to eat whenever food was available, to never waste even a bite of it because they never knew when they would get more. Particularly my dad who grew up during World War II and at one stage had to steal potatoes in order to survive.
Now food is everywhere and if we push our kids to eat what we think they should eat, when we think they should eat it and in the amount we think they should eat it then it takes away from their enjoyment of food. It’s easier to give them that space to choose what they want to eat during meal times at home but I’ve managed to translate it to our dinner treat night too.
Jo's daughter Caterina treating herself to a cupcake. Image: supplied.
Wednesdays are by far my most difficult day of the week. I've been at work all day and then shortly after the kids get off the school bus in the afternoon, we head straight to Giovanni’s weekly OT appointment and then a little later we have Philip’s soccer training. There’s no point even going home just to have to turn back around and leave again.
If I were to cook we'd have to eat either at 4pm or 8pm. So I’ve moved our weekly treat meal to Wednesday nights.
After OT and before soccer training, my kids and have a glorious 45-minute window during which we grab a bite to eat. The kids’ favourite place to go is KFC. They have so much variety for us to choose from which is great because by then we are STARVING!
If my husband is with us we get a Variety Feast, which is full of chicken pieces, tenders, nuggets, popcorn chicken and corn wheels. For some reason, my children are happier to eat these thick slices of corn rather than a full corn on the cob. My guess is because they’re covered with butter and the Colonel’s delicious salt.
"My children are what I like to call 'instinctive eaters'." Image: supplied.
If my husband isn't there we choose different things. For me it's always original chicken tenders and a regular coleslaw. The kids get popcorn chicken, chips, nuggets to share and corn wheels. Then when we get home, all we have to do is get changed, brush our teeth and snuggle into bed.
It's tempting to go more often but keeping it as a weekly treat ensures we look forward to it. My kids pretty much choose the same things each week, but they do sample the different sides on offer.
It's always such a delight to feast on delicious food you haven't cooked yourself, which also lets you spend your time with the people that you love most.
How do you keep your kids happy and fed come dinner time?