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How do you improve children's diets, just realised mine are appalling...

(35 Posts)
fiestabelle1 Sun 15-Jun-14 12:32:32

just did a quick review of dc's diets and realised they are pretty poor, far too many sweets,crisps, treats. On the back of some recent threads I realise I probably have quite a skewed perception of what nutritious food is? DH eat well, I homecook a lot, butDS is very fussy and I've fallen into the trap of serving rubbish, is chicken nuggets etc, dd is a bit more willing to try new things. I think I need to approach it in a step by step way, any good strategies or advice? Heading out so will check back in a bit...

Itsjustmeagain Sun 15-Jun-14 12:35:29

I would try making homemade versions of the things he likes - homemade chicken nuggets would be nice. My kids love carrot chips - carrots sticks in the oven covered in a little ghee to roast are really nice .

Itsjustmeagain Sun 15-Jun-14 12:36:56

oh also you could make something like avocado chocolate mousse my children wouldnt eat them until they tasted this and once the realised they were not the food of the devil they started being willing to try them in other less treaty ways!

OorWullie Sun 15-Jun-14 12:38:07

Can i mark my place on your thread? DS has an ok diet and eats loads of veg, but wont eat proper meat. Chicken nuggets and sausages are pretty much the limit.

I have tried getting him to make his own to no avail.

LadySybilLikesCake Sun 15-Jun-14 12:38:56

You can make your own chicken nuggets, they are easy and at least you know what's in them. Diced chicken breast (raw), dip in flour and then in batter. Fry until golden and freeze them. If you need them, you can pop them in the oven.

Step by step is the way to go, it's less of a shock for them this way. Put a little cucumber/tomato/carrot on their plate the next time they have some food. It's OK to taste but not like it but do remind them that the same food can taste different depending on how it's cooked (roast carrots are different to boiled ones as they are sweeter).

GrendelsMinim Sun 15-Jun-14 12:39:15

Are you sure the children's diets are that bad? Because you do read some slightly odd ideas about nutrition on here sometimes!

Trollsworth Sun 15-Jun-14 12:40:47

Give us a list of the meals they ate last week, we can tweak it

LadySybilLikesCake Sun 15-Jun-14 12:41:06

You can try chicken nuggets without the breadcrumbs (not fried though but you don't have to tell them this). Diced chicken thighs fried in a little butter with some lemon juice is wonderful and it just looks like chicken nuggets without the coating grin

weatherall Sun 15-Jun-14 12:41:36

What exactly do they eat now?

Instead of ready made chips, thick cut potatoes, leave skins on, a splash of olive oil and put in the oven for 40 mins.

White fish cooked in milk is very plain and most DCs will eat this.

LadySybilLikesCake Sun 15-Jun-14 12:47:53

I bake fish in the oven with a little butter and some pepper corns (put in some greaseproof paper to make a bag). It's lurvely!

You can make fish fingers, it's the same way as making chicken nuggets smile

fiestabelle1 Sun 15-Jun-14 12:48:26

This for replies! Breakfasts usually cereal, cheerios,porridge crunchy nut cornflakes. lunch will be a sandwich, cheese, ham,peanut butter, nutella, yoghurt. Dinner is probably the one I'm most concerned about. Dinners,
Pasta\pesto garlic bread
Meatballs/pasta
Chicken nuggets/chips
Pretty much above or variation on rotation.
I do chop up veg too, so they do get a bit of God stuff.

Just not sure where to start?

LadySybilLikesCake Sun 15-Jun-14 12:50:56

No fruit or veg? You're also missing oily fish/fish.

LadySybilLikesCake Sun 15-Jun-14 12:55:21

There's a lot of carbs there too. Would they eat an Omelette? Protein is good. I'd mix some fruit in with the porridge and maybe cut out the crunchy nut corn flakes as they are packed with sugar. They need more fruit, so a serving (orange/banana etc) for lunch and to snack on after school. I make a large bowl of fruit salad and keep it in the fridge.

Trollsworth Sun 15-Jun-14 12:56:31

Put peas and green beans in with pasta, carrot sticks and cucumber with anything with oven chips, and once a week, instead of using peso with spaghetti, mash a tin of sardines in tomato sauce and mix it in to the hot pasta.

GrendelsMinim Sun 15-Jun-14 12:58:04

It doesnt sound that awful, tbh! I thought you were going to say much worse. It's the fruit and veg you're missing, isn't it?

Can you start by upping the fruit content? E.g. Grapes, frozen berries, apples to snack on, bananas, etc. We do a lot of fruit cut up and mixed with cereals for breakfast. Frozen fruit and porridge is great, for example.

Apparently kids are much more likely to eat veg if its presented as batons with a dip. Can't swear to that myself.

We've always had kedgeree as a staple for eating oily fish, but I can imagine that that's a bit of an acquired taste.

Trazzletoes Sun 15-Jun-14 13:06:43

I struggle as well. DS is 4 and has only just started eating solids after about 18 months so we have had to pander to his whims but now trying to get some nutrition in him!

I try salmon fillets in foil baked in the oven at 180 degrees for 20 mins with a knob of butter, served with rice and frozen peas.

I also do fried rice with various veg and chicken.

I make chicken nuggets with Panko breadcrumbs - super easy and then bake in the oven rather than fry.

We have just had homemade chicken fajitas for lunch. Both DCs basically started with a creme fraiche sandwich! A sticker chart encouraged DS to try the chicken, then because he liked it, DD (2) tried it too. Neither would countenance peppers but maybe another day!!!

diggerdigsdogs Sun 15-Jun-14 13:07:07

Mine absolutely eat more veg cut up into batons with dip. It doesn't even matter what the dip is - they always try it.

I'd actually just stop doing separate meals and only offer something ultra dull as an alternative.

Protein and veg/fruit only as offered snacks.

Spag bol instead of meatballs? Then you can add heaps of blitzed veg at least. Then make it steadily chunkier.

I find it easier to plan in advance and only plan for pasta once or twice a week. It's much easier, IMO, to be balanced when you can see the week as a whole.

Add some diced chicken, broccoli and peas to the pasta and pesto it increases the veg count and chicken or turkey for protein.

With the meatballs you can grate carrot courgettes and onion into the sauce before you add the tomatoes. Just dry fry until soft then add rest of ingredients if they are ok eating veggies add peppers mushrooms etc to the sauce.

Oven bake the chicken nuggets I buy the ones made of chicken breast pieces and not chopped and shaped ones. Serve with oven chips homemade or wedges and side of whatever veg they will eat. Here it's usually peas carrots and broccoli. I quite like using those steam bag you can buy frozen of veg or just frozen mixed veg.

Yogurts for desert add fruit to plain yogurt. Fruit salad even ice cream with sliced bananas and blueberries is yum.

Also portion sizes. I was giving the dc far too much so we've brought smaller plates and I don't fill the plate anymore.

Trazzletoes Sun 15-Jun-14 13:10:48

To clarify, with the sticker chart, he gets a sticker for trying food, ie putting it in his mouth. I don't care if he spits it out, he still gets the sticker, but we have had problems with him refusing to eat anything not soft/completely plain. He'd have been eating weetabix and yoghurt for the rest of his life otherwise!

Sirzy Sun 15-Jun-14 13:11:18

Can you try things like beans on toast/eggs for breakfast maybe?

Can you try to cook a new meal once a week (and involve them in cooking it if old enough)? Even if its just something slightly different from what they are used to, or with just one new ingredient just to get them used to things?

LadySybilLikesCake Sun 15-Jun-14 13:24:27

We do things like bacon sandwiches/salmon and cream cheese bagels/pancakes and fruit/crumpets and fruit for breakfast. I try to alternate them so ds doesn't get bored. If I'm cooking sausages the evening before I'll stick a couple in the fridge and nuke them to make sausage sandwiches.

BellaVida Sun 15-Jun-14 13:52:08

I would definitely up the fruit and veg. What about yogurts and smoothies?
Mine love:
Omelette (with diced cheese, ham) with tomato salad (drizzle olive oil and touch of salt)
Vegetable risotto (with finely chopped broccoli, sweetcorn, peppers, peas, tomato, onion) with bit of basil for flavour.
Creamy courgette soup with crusty bread (add Dairylea triangles to make it really nice!)
Soya burgers/sausages and DIY wraps with shredded lettuce and carrot.
Shallow fried lightly battered or crumbed thin white boneless fish fillets with rice and corn on the cob
Vegetable crudités with garlic mayo or hummus dips
Stir fry and noodles with sweet and sour
Chicken Caesar salad
Fruit kebabs

TheFantasticMrsFox Sun 15-Jun-14 14:12:17

Frozen berries blitzed (add a little sugar initially to get them eating it then gradually cut down)
This wondrous concoction can then be added to yoghurt, porridge, ice cream, pancakes etc.
Homemade muffins or flapjacks as treats instead of processed stuff.
Cheese cubes, veg sticks, bread sticks, cooked chicken in lunches.

melonribena Sun 15-Jun-14 14:23:42

My ds is quite fussy. Here are some ideas that he enjoys

Roasted sweet potato chips, 30 mins in oven. They are delicious!

Frozen mini corn on the cobs. Chuck them in boiling water on the hob for 5 mins. Sweet and lovely!

Homemade chicken nuggets. Chop up chicken into chunks, dip in beaten egg then whizzed up breadcrumbs. Cook in oven for 30 mins.

Red pepper hummus - near the dips in the supermarket, with anything to dip in!

Their diet doesn't sound too bad at all. A few new ideas might make a small positive change. Good luck

I think I'd prioritise cutting back the sweets and crisps you mentioned. The meals don't sound terrible, just need more veg snuck in there. But lots of sweets and crisps will undo whatever good you do at meals.

I was going to mention soups too -- maybe not now but when it's cooler -- creamy veg soup (like broccoli) that they can add croutons or toast or grated cheese to. Homemade pizza. Anything they can help make or put together.

In the summer we often do picnic-style dinners -- no cooking -- we put out some cold meats (chicken or salami), cheese, bread, veg (salad or chopped veg), then everybody just helps themselves.

Don't put too much pressure on yourself either -- not every dinner has to be hot, or meat-carb-veg. Not everything has to be made from scratch. Think about what they do like and build around that, plus cutting back on junk.

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