Parents: You got this.
The one thing I still can’t get over, not even four years into my life as a mother, is that dinner is a thing that happens absolutely every single night, always.
There’s no schlepping it with chocolate-based breakfast cereals or half a tub of ice-cream any more. The small people need real food and that’s not just according to, you know, Those People. Smalls need real food.
I’m a keen cook. I enjoy the challenge of a new recipe. I like to perfect an old favourite. Baking is my happy place.
But when food becomes a chore, the kitchen becomes a bit of a gaol. What’s worse is when food becomes a battle.
I have it on good authority that all children go through a fussy stage. I thought mine would be different, but no. My eldest had a white food phase, quickly followed by a dairy-only phase. There was at least a week when he had a carbohydrate-only phase, in which he even refused milk on his breakfast cereal.
Google the phrase “advice for parents of fussy eaters” and you’ll find some truly unhelpful information. Don’t threaten or nag, your child will never voluntarily starve themselves, don’t use sweets as bribes and my personal favourite, make mealtimes enjoyable so children will want to repeat the event.
Google clearly never sat at the dinner table while Mr 3 stubbornly refused to eat one single pea over a three hour period… And so, I became a nutrition ninja. I hid nourishment everywhere I could. I snuck it in left, right and centre and my kid ate it all up. He was happy. He got to indulge his fussy pants and I was happy because he was healthy.
So here are my favourite six ways for convincing your kids to eat nourishing food.
1. Use cheese sauce to your advantage.
Let me explain the value of having a good cheese sauce in your arsenal. Firstly, it’s white, so if you find yourself in the midst of the white food phase, this one is a big help.