It would appear I now have a bit of a fussy eater. (Child – not other half.) The little girl who once would eat anything, including lipsticks and soap, now pushes away my lovingly prepared home made meals without even trying them.
“Nope” we get with a firm shake of the head, and the plate is carefully picked up and placed to one side. (This is actually quite good though, as I hear a lot of toddlers prefer the throwing-it-straight-on-the-floor method of refusal.) I nonchalantly push the plate back, y’know, playing it cool.
Plate is replaced – again very carefully – to one side. I play aeroplanes. This is met with a delighted smile until the spoon actually reaches her lips, where upon smile turns to frown in a nano-second.
I try a bit of reverse psychology. “Oh well, Mummy will eat it then if Grace doesn’t want it . . . MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmm! OOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooh! DELICIOUS! Woooow! Grace, try a bit more? . . .)
Another bowl of food in the dog’s bowl. It’s no wonder we have a greyhound with a flatulence problem is it? Now this has gone on for a few weeks now, and along the way, I have cultivated a few top tips that work for me, and a few recipes that can sometimes, just sometimes, make life a little easier. They don’t always work, but sometimes they do, so I thought I may as well share them. (Any tips in return are more than welcome!)
- I no longer offer alternatives/favourites I know she’ll eat when she refuses her food. This is tough love, but I feel it’s now necessary. (Although we will cave and give the ol’ fail safe of a banana/rusk/yoghurt ONLY if it’s her last meal of the day. This is a bit of self-preservation in force as she’s more likely to sleep through the night.) After continually relenting at first, we now find she will eat a bit better if she’s hungry enough. A “no-brainer” I hear you cry, but it is so tempting to fall back on the favourites when you know they’re hungry.
- Most research suggests that toddlers are fairly self-regulating. If they have a day not eating much, it’s ok. The intake over the space of a few days is what counts. I try to remember this on a bad day.
- Keep trying. I have been, and will keep on offering Grace the meals I would like her to eat, even when I’m pretty sure she’s going to “Nope” it and when she does “Nope” it, I try to shrug it off. We all know the more of a big deal you make it, the bigger an issue it’s going to become. One day, she might surprise me and just try it.
- Give them time. I got carried away on the phone one lunch time, leaving Grace happily in her high chair with her pudding. Pud finished, and long after she’d pushed her cauliflower cheese away, she started shoveling it in! I couldn’t believe it! If the phone hadn’t rung, I’d have cleared it up way before.
- Not for everyone this, but personally I don’t ban the pudding if the main wasn’t eaten. I don’t want sweets to be a big deal, a huge treat, or used as a punishment. (This one may be subject to change though when she’s older and wants chocolate and ice-cream over home-made apple crumble or fruit salad!)
- Talk to other Mums. Even your own. My brother was the fussiest eater on the planet by all accounts and guess what? HE’S TURNED OUT OK! (ish) also, there’s the Fussy eaters support club over at the marvelous Bodfortea‘s blog (or click the badge on the left)
- Watch Fast food baby. A BBC 3 documentary that will make you feel like mother of the year! Might be on iplayer? (I kid you not – a 19 month old on 5 cans of coke a day and KFC’s!)
Also, here are just a few very quick and easy ideas for getting a bit more fruit and veg in the diet:
Fruity Cheese on Toast:
When you make them cheese on toast, grate the cheese and also grate some apple or pear in with it before grilling. I don’t even bother peeling!
Chocolate spread and sliced banana butties.:
As they sound really. I use biscuit cutters to make them more fun shapes 🙂
These sarnies have the added bonus of getting to laugh at their messy face afterwards!
If they won’t eat any veg as finger food, try giving it a coating of honey mixed with a bit of oil before bunging in the oven for 5-10mins. I do this after I’ve boiled/steamed/microwaved them, and sometimes finish with sesame seeds. It’s a bit hit and miss with Grace, but definitely ups the likelihood of her eating a few.
Whizzed up mango mixed with some fresh orange juice makes AWESOME ice pops! Little un loves these and the coldness is good for teething. I put them into any little food pots that are available and freeze them with lolly pop sticks in. Have to hide them from the husband though.
Any veg that needs using up, I cook, blend with some tomatoes and freeze in tiny pots/ice-cube trays. Not to give as a puree but to mix in with things she’ll usually eat without too much fuss, ie – spaghetti hoops, beans etc.
Make you’re own flap jack – most recipes will do, but I put in raisins/dried apricots instead of sugar. There’s usually some syrup or honey in most recipes to make it a bit of a treat for them too.
That’s all for now. Apologies to my non-Mummy subscribers as this one was probably a bit boring, but hope it gives fellow parents of fussy eaters a few ideas?
P.s Honest to God, as if he sensed my musings needed hard evidence, the dog has just dropped a stinker! I am writing this with my jumper pulled up over my nose.