I am the chump who recently spent $2000 trying to “cure” my son of extreme fussy eating. Each week he and some fellow-fussy-eaters would sit down with two qualified occupational therapists and discuss foods – their tastes, their shapes, their textures.
It was 12 week course during which Giovanni, 8, tried one new food (and immediately rejected it) and at the end of the course his eating was just as narrow as before.
I ended up involving him in not only the shopping of the food but in the cooking as well. He was so excited to help me cook, and although he didn’t try anything new at first, he was eventually tempted to taste some of his own creations, and now he is eating a few new foods (which is an incredible relief).
Children, particularly fussy eaters, need to see how dishes are made and feel as though they are part of the process. They don’t just want food placed in front of them – well, sometimes they do – but they want to know what has gone into it.
Getting your children to eat proper foods doesn't have to be such a challenge. Image: Revolution Studios (Daddy Day Care).
I will always be grateful to be born Italian because pasta is my go-to for most meals, because it’s so affordable, versatile and healthy, and my kids love it.
Here are three go-to pasta recipes that my children and I cook together.
Jo’s Traditional Spaghetti Sauce.
You can use any meat to make spaghetti sauce and have a great base for a dish. I use mince, sausages, beef, chicken thighs, whatever I have on hand. I even throw leftover meat into this basic yet delicious sauce to create an amazing meal every time.
Any meat (see above) – about 750g
2 bottles plain “passata” (natural tomato sauce)
6 cups water
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
4 cloves garlic
4 fresh basil leaves
1 whole zucchini
- Grab a big pot and heat the olive oil. Place the meat you are using and fry it until lightly brown.
- Add both bottles of passata and then fill each passata bottle with water, shake them to get every little bit of passata, and pour into the pot making up approximately 6 cups of water.
- Grate the garlic into the sauce using a cheese grater or garlic mincer and then add the wine, salt and basil.
- Peel the zucchini and then grate it into the sauce. It’s a great way to add some vegies and the kids will never even know it is in there!
- Bring it to the boil and then simmer it with the lid on for 40 minutes minimum.
Normally I use spiral pasta to serve this sauce because the shape of this pasta holds the delicious, thick tomato sauce really well, and goes nicely with chicken thighs and beef. If I’ve used mince, meatballs or sausages I’ll use traditional spaghetti. Top this dish with some sharp, grated parmesan cheese.
Who doesn't love a thick, delicious tomato sauce? Image: iStock.
Jo’s Hearty Chicken Soup.
Pasta can be used for so many dishes, and in cooler weather we eat a lot of chicken soup. It’s incredibly hearty and with the addition of pasta makes for a filling meal. I let Giovanni shred the chicken in this recipe because that’s fun for kids to do. Also, there’s a bit of stirring to be done and he loves seeing all the different ingredients with their colours, textures and shapes swirling around in the soup.