Credit crunch and fussy eaters

(19 Posts)
oakmouse Sun 25-Aug-13 10:46:16

Help! I am flat broke and struggling with feeding my kids healthy food. Before kids food bills never fazed me as I am quite adept at looking at what's in the cupboard/fridge/on special and making up meals. I even thought I was quite a good cook, really...

But my children have destroyed my confidence as they appear to be actually, morbidly afraid of my cooking. Vegetable soup? A conspiracy of carrots. Spaghetti bolognaise? A tomato horror. Creamy chicken korma? I must be trying to kill them with my strange occult substances.

I have tried tough love but am sick of having hungry children going crazy at night. DS (6) has ASD so I suppose I must cut him some slack but DD (5) is actually worse than he is. What's more she doesn't eat what she doesn't like even when hungry, just becomes more and more hyper and out of control.

So, wise credit-crunchers, any tips? I can't feed them on fish-fingers, expensive fruit and plain pasta forever. What is worse, they have very different tastes, so much so that DS sometimes panics if he sees he is given the same as his sister sad

Passthecake30 Sun 25-Aug-13 14:44:35

Rice with chicken peas carrot and sweetcorn
Spaghetti with meatballs ( on the side)
wraps with chicken, cheese and whatever veg they eat- assembled themselves
Roast dinner
Sausage mash and peas

My kids are 3 and 5 and I often cook them the same ingredients that we eat- but not mixed together. It often looka very bland (eg plain pasta as a side)...but they enjoy it

oakmouse Sun 25-Aug-13 16:19:03

Thank you so much for responding to me! That sounds like a good idea passthecake - cooking using the same ingredients but assembling them in different ways. I suppose I could make up a big batch of tomato sauce with puréed veg and then cook chopped veg and pasta on the side - dd could have veg with pasta and no sauce, ds could have pasta and sauce with no veg (that he knows about), I could add seasonings and garlic for us, and everyone has grated cheese (ds on the side). Meatballs on the side works for ds, dd won't touch them but she can have cheese.

I should buy roasts more often as I tend to think of them as expensive, yet I could make them stretch. DD could have fish fingers with the roast potatoes with carrot sticks before I cook the carrots, ds could have the cold meat as a snack then have his beloved porridge after, and I could chop the veg really small and mix them up with his baked beans. I could make soup for dh and myself. Leftover veg and meat could go with rice, which dd would eat, and I could make it into curry for dh and me. We will all get the same nutrition across the week. It will just take more planning instead of my natural...er...easy-going approach to domestic affairs.

I think you really have to be organised if you are poor and have a family, esp. if you have a child with SN - in that respect I do think having kids is turning out to be the making of me!

Passthecake30 Sun 25-Aug-13 21:32:12

Excellent, you sound more positive smile

My kids love a roast.. I tend to get a large chicken (2kg) so roast the first night (kids have a thigh), cold the next (kids have a drumstick), and fahitas/chicken fried rice the 3rd. I know when they are bigger it might not stretch for so many days, but for now, it works!

Do they like eggs? Mine eat a plain omelette ok

I feel like I spend most of my shopping budget on yogurt, ham, cheese and apples...if anyone has tips to reduce this I'd be grateful?!!

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 26-Aug-13 08:52:54

Well for ham it's cheaper in the long run to buy an electric deli slicer Like this and cook bacon joints or gammon joints then slice when cold.

If you have freezer space Christmas is an excellent time for bacon/gammon joints, they sell them half price. I used to buy mine marked down at 3pm onwards in our local small supermarket as pork products tend to be marked down frequently.

Right now tesco finest unsmoked Wiltshire joint is £4.99 kg, their value brand pre-cooked ham is also £4.99 kg. Which would you rather eat though? You pay an awful lot of money for the pleasure of eating pre-cooked re-formed ham V slow cooking/oven baking a joint.

oakmouse Mon 26-Aug-13 16:09:28

Yes, I do feel more positive, passthecake, am starting to see a way through now, have just managed to feed all of us on leftovers and frozen veg by a little juggling and "personalising" of ingredients. It helps that I am doing a fast day so drank the vegetable water grin Fluffycloudland, that deli slicer is genius, I also spend a fortune on ham and hate buying cheap meat. Our freezer keeps going on the blink so can't freeze stuff for long but I reckon it would still pay for itself.

My children will eat plain yoghurt with a bit of jam added, you could decant it into washed out yoghurt pots...I always get apples on multi buy but still expensive. Mine like their apples peeled and chopped up so I am going to go hunting for windfalls and cut the bruised bits out. I could try drying them in the oven after the roast!

I've realised that my kids actually don't need or want Annabel Karmel, Jamie Oliver etc. type fabulous meals - plain somewhat repetitive budget meals are quite reassuring for them! I'm also learning to give them only a small bit of something to see if they like it rather than wasting food reheating and so on. One of my major forms of waste is anxiety over use within times and dented cans - where do people stand on those?

Passthecake30 Tue 27-Aug-13 08:13:37

That meat slicer looks like a fab idea, that is definitely going on the list when I get my kitchen extension (and more storage). I was ranting at the price of decent ham yesterday (8 slices for 2 days) and dp seems ok with idea....also planning on cooking a chicken for sandwhiches as price wise it would be same/cheaper- but also healthier (the processed meat and cancer link scares me)

I don't think the kids would eat yogurt and jam...well one might, the other wouldn't. I usually buy 12 value fromage frais and 12 frubes/choobs for the week. Painful.

Oakmouse I use things after bbe but not use by. Dented cans I wouldn't have an issue with but I never have bought any in my shopping.

Today is day 3 of a chicken....jambayala for adults, chicken fried rice for the kids. And lots of hoovering as the rice gets on the floor as often as their mouths.

Just thought of another cheap one - jacket spuds?

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 27-Aug-13 08:29:05

Ham in sainsburys was over £20kg <faints>

Dented cans doesn't bother me, I often buy marked down meat etc but I know someone who throws food away if it gets near its use by date which I think is madness.

oakmouse Tue 27-Aug-13 09:00:29

Fluffycloudland I went off to Sainsburys to get ham yesterday too and nearly fainted! I love animals so want to get freedom food stuff but it's getting difficult. I try to go veggie as much as possible but the kids then will eat nothing but cheese (dd) and cheese and baked beans (ds), while dh walks around with the air of a man whose dreams have come to nothing.

Ds did eat the value pizza base I covered with cheese, the thinnest hint of tomato and chopped up chicken though. I thought it looked disgusting but he followed me around the kitchen while I was making it intoning wistfully "mummy I wish that was my dinner" confused Dd wouldn't touch hers but completely unexpectedly hoovered down the last-minute bargain green beans, carrots and cucumber sticks I had optimistically placed on the side and then announced that she was a herbivore and could she have some chicken now?

I swear I will never understand my kids smile

Passthecake30 Tue 27-Aug-13 12:46:24

Mine are currently demolishing on a fried egg on toast for lunch....apparently it is "the best thing ever".... Simple is best I recon.

I don't tend to use much meat per person....rather than do veggie meals I just stretch the meat so everyone else don't feel conned...eg spaghetti, hm pasta sauce, bacon (5rashers diced) and peas is a favourite

Nikeairyfairy Tue 27-Aug-13 13:34:38

I have found that mine have been less fussy the more hungry they are hmm. So yesterday I did slow cooked beef stew. Dd took one look at it and declared it disgusting. I pulled her up for her manners, explained there was nothing else and she could eat it or go without (not so easy with sn I know). It doesn't always work, but mine really do test me. It's like a game of who blinks first.

I cook uncomplicated plain food, and try to have variety. Bit soul destroying at ties though.

And yes the beef stew did get eaten. (And enjoyed)

Nikeairyfairy Tue 27-Aug-13 13:37:51

Oh and another thing I found helps is to completely remove pudding. It was becoming something weird in our house. 'Eat this and then you can have pudding' why? I am not making you eat maggots... Enjoy the meal for what it is. , I'm not rewarding you for eating....

trinitybleu Tue 27-Aug-13 16:22:22

My DD always prefers to put her dinner together herself I.e. fajitas, bowls of stuff on the table, a bnit of this nd a bit of that. Won't eat a jacket potato with beans and cheese if presented as a finished article, but will devour potato chunks (a jacket chopped up) if allowed to spoon some beans and cheese on herself .... hmm

Surreyyummymummy Tue 27-Aug-13 16:27:16

Mine never get pudding unless they have at least tried or eaten half of what was on their plate. I find the "if you can eat your broccoli you can have a frube" works well and is a lesson for life. Daddy has to work hard at his job before we can afford a holiday. It's teaching them to work for rewards.

Stanislas Tue 27-Aug-13 19:38:02

Pancakes as wraps work well. Depending on budget one egg to 250 Mls of milk and water or six eggs and divide up as a slice with just about anything hidden in it. Google pannekoeken for the last recipe. Also Chinese pancakes cost nothing to make and fillings don't have to be duck although tesco do sell duck legs very cheaply and grown ups can scoff them.

A favourite in this house is cheesy mess.

I cut up and cook a head of cauliflower and a head of broccoli (pat them dry after draining the water off) and put in a large pyrex serving dish.

While the veg is cooking I hard boil 6 or so eggs and cut up and cook a few rashers of bacon. Once the eggs are cooked they get sliced. The egg and bacon then get laid on top of the veg.

Then I make up a cheese sauce, if you use a strong cheddar you need less cheese and add a dollop of mustard you enhance the flavour.

Pour this over the veg, bacon and eggs and put in a medium oven for 20 minutes.

Absolutely yummy.

You could just put the components in bowls/jugs on the table and let people put it together themselves.

Surreyyummymummy Tue 27-Aug-13 21:34:38

Rice is cheap, quick and nutritious - and you don't have to peel it !

2 recipes I often make are:
Cook rice, add a handful of frozen peas and sweetcorn 5 mins before it's cooked. Rinse with cold water, stir in a tin of tuna mashed in its own olive oil, a chopped hard boiled egg and 2 chopped tomatoes or halve a few cherry ones. This is delicious on a warm summer's eve. I make enough for the whole family and just freshly grind black pepper over ours and add a few olives or grown up things for my husband and I.

Alternatively add some chopped ham to the cooked rice/peas/sweetcorn and while it's still warm stir through a couple of spoons of own brand basics philadelphia cheese. It melts giving a lovely creamy cheesey sauce. Yummy - my children like this in little bowls with a teaspoon - they are teenagers now but this has been a favourite for years !!!

Yes, yes, yes to the philly trick, but I usually do mine with pasta. Goes down a treat with my gannets.

oakmouse Tue 03-Sep-13 18:05:52

Some great tips here folks - I think I had just got the imagination ground out of me with repeated refusals. They are being absolutely foul at the moment and I wonder if it is anxiety putting them off their food and then being hungry driving the bad behaviour further. We were down to our last three eggs today and I had promised to make a cake earlier. I made scrambled eggs and dd ate two teaspoons and tipped hers accidentally (?) on the floor. I made cake in a mug with the remaining egg and ds started going on about how he wouldn't eat it because it was in a mug. I can't wait for school dinners and packed lunches to start - dd is just as fussy at school but I won't see it and ds has the same thing every day so I can do it on autopilot!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now