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"the food our children eat"

(38 Posts)
miggy Thu 13-Mar-03 21:29:12

Am currently reading this book and it is all too horribly familiar. I can see exactly what she is saying and agree with most of her comments. My childrens poor diet is my major regret. DH and I love food and I love cooking, we will eat anything, but my children eat total rubbish only. What I would love to know is has anyone tried the techniques suggested in this book and did it work for you?

pupuce Thu 13-Mar-03 22:15:42

Miggy

What does she suggest?

What I can suggest to you is twofold maybe you these already)
1. Cook WITH your children, involve them, get them to taste the ingredients, to put chopped vegetables in the pan, poor the (cold) olive oil in the pan, put flour, eggs, sugar,... in a bowl to make a pudding or pancakes, get them to decorate cakes or muffins and roll pastry together... you can start at 12 months old!

2. Eat with them 1 meal for everyone... and make it as relax. You don't say how old your kids are but if you all sit down for the meal and you and your DH share the dish and give it to the kids... and then you say... well there is nothing else to eat... see their reaction.

What sort of awful stuff do they eat anyway???

miggy Thu 13-Mar-03 22:51:58

thanks- do cook with them lots and no probs re eating sweet type foods but nothing with vegetables in . Basically chicken nuggets- always buy good quality but even these are not good- would not personally eat them, fish fingers etc not proper food, even when we do eat together eg roast dinner, will eat pristine white chicken meat, no veg (dd will eat peas),2 will eat 1/2 potato, 1 won't. Main problem is DS1 has such extreme food preferences that tend to cook nuggets etc for him and of course other 2 would rather have that than real food. I can see that if I worked really hard, I might win with them but would DS1 starve in the process?

WideWebWitch Thu 13-Mar-03 23:37:30

Miggy, don't give it to them if you wouldn't eat it yourself! Sorry, not meant to sound judgemental, but if you don't buy it they can't have it and they probably (ok, almost certainly) *won't* starve themselves. Constructive suggestions instead then! What about roasting vegetables? It makes them sweeter mostly and is easy. Or you could try honey on them while they're cooking (I know, not ideal re sugar but better than no veg) Other ideas - baked potatoes? baked beans, egg fried rice (they don't notice the egg mostly if you'd like them to have some and they're picky), pasta with a sauce made of whizzed up veg (I know mine wouldn't touch any such sauce though!), baby sweetcorn, raw carrots with something to dip them in? Anyway, I haven't read the book but is it good? I have a real thing about food manufacturers trying to persuade parents to buy unhealthy sugar laden, artifically flavoured, crap food which is cheap for them to produce and therefore profitable for them but bad for our children - i.e Sunny Delight and other disgusting type stuff. OK I'll get off my soapbox now Will post more if I think of anything - i have a picky vegetarian child so I may well do!

clucks Thu 13-Mar-03 23:38:10

DH bought this book months ago and has been trying to make me read it. I haven't had the time but I also know that my faddy eater should be eating better. I have always had an excellent diet both as a veggie and meat-eater and know how to eat well. Sadly, something I don't seem to be able to get DS to do. If you think there are good tips in this book (must admit seemed like the usual alternative scarey opinionated stuff he brings home) I'll take heed. Otherwise, I have to hope that he grows out of it like everyone keeps telling me he will.

Tinker Thu 13-Mar-03 23:40:09

Will they eat mashed potato? You can always hide carrot or parsnip in there as well, which they might not notice. Just say it was an orange potato!

clucks Thu 13-Mar-03 23:48:15

My kid refuses potato in any form, mash, even chips (unless starving and home-made). He eats rice, pure white with no veg or sauce to contaminate it (My mum hides chicken stock that she makes in it because it's colourless). He will eat spaghetti (picks out onions from bolognese sauce!) and virtually everything else is yucky.

I don't offer him loads of alternative meals as have been advised not to pay too much attention to this faddiness and only offer one meal. Trouble is he is happy to starve for hours and is a skinny sort.

I had been thinking of doing a search for toddler recipes on here, but the title of this thread grabbed me as I've been ignoring this book. I think mainly because I think I know it all, but not getting anywhere anyway.

Tinker Thu 13-Mar-03 23:56:03

Actually, that reminds me of my brother , who was a skinny faddy kid. My mum took him to the doctor because all he would eat was spaghetti bolognaise (also picked the onions out). Doctor's advice: well just give him spaghetti bolognaise then. I think if you can find a few 'healthy' things, best to stick to them and not stress too much. Also agree with only making one meal - but might be hard if they're very faddy, just makes the whole occasion stressful. Sorry, rambling now, making pointess points.

GeorginaA Fri 14-Mar-03 07:52:20

I'm a big fan of multivitamins for kids - it takes the worry off if they're a faddy eater or if they just have an off day. However, saying that, veg and fruit isn't a problem with my ds - he loves the stuff - he just won't eat the meat unless it's a porky sausage in beans!

I don't mind giving him the more unhealthy stuff from time to time (but again, wouldn't give him anything that I wasn't prepared to eat myself because we almost always eat together now dh works away) but he doesn't get alternative foods if he decides he doesn't want to eat what's in front of him which has made a difference to my sanity if not his eating habits.

nerdgirl Fri 14-Mar-03 08:11:01

Have you tried the book "I will not ever never eat a tomato"? It's a really cute story about a fussy little girl who is tricked by her big brother into eating all sorts of food that she wouldn't touch.

I tried it with my picky little nephew when he was staying with us and had some success. At least he eats carrots and peas now.

Or what about vegetable juice? Carrot and apple actually taste really nice when mixed.

The rule at our table is you have to try something. You don't have to like it or stick with it but you have to try it. This goes for the grown-ups too!

Zoe Fri 14-Mar-03 09:42:48

I remember reading a similar thread on mumsnet once that recommended a layer of pureed carrot under the cheese on a pizza, that might be one way.

I make ds chicken nuggests, it's really quick, just chunks of chicken dipped in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs and gently cooked with a teensy bit of extra virgin olive oil in the frying pan, then I know what he's having in them, don't know if that would work or not. Fishfingers aren't the end of the world if you buy good quality ones. I really feel for you miggy it must be difficult, food can be such a battleground. I would be interested to hear if you have any success with the book techniques, am going to look it up on Amazon...

Moomin Fri 14-Mar-03 10:59:18

I would highly recommend this book. Bought it when dd was just starting solids and it hardened my resolve to try my very best with her food. It actually made me very angry about manufactured and over-processed food and what an uphill battle it will be trying to deviate from the food advertised on the TV and what other kids may be eating. I used to think that as soon as dd went to school I'd have to shrug my shoulders and accept her choices in crappy food as an inevitability. This book has helped persuade me that this needn't be the case.

Like www says: if you don't buy it, they can't eat it. If you persist in offering good food with no alternatives, your kids will have to relent in the end. The book offers loads of tips - not how to disguise healthy food but to get your kids to PREFER certain foods. If nothing else, take pride in the fact you're not letting the supermarkets and fast food chains have their evil way with your children! Be a stubborn bugger!!

miggy Fri 14-Mar-03 13:20:43

Will persevere. My big problem is DS1, he will eat willingly-chicken nuggets, fishfingers, plain ham, yoghurts, most kinds of fruit, bread, marmite,s&v crisps,biscuits-thats it, under duress plain chicken meat, 5 peas and few chips if not too potatoey (!). He comes home from school hungry having had a slice of bread and apple for lunch 9/10 days as doesnt eat whats on offer (not allowed packed lunch). You tell people he's fussy and they dont really understand how fussy. I told both his prev schools and after a few weeks his teachers have said they are worried because he doesnt eat any lunch-well I tried to tell you! If we try and force him to even try things its a nightmare, usu. followed by rush to toilet to be sick The other 2 will eat eggs/pizza/pasta etc and would be much more willingly to generally try things but seeing their older brother with something more obv. attractive makes things harder. I want to change things but not be unkind to DS. Am going to try eating together 2 weeknights (do at w/e) so they can perhaps be more influenced by dh and I than by their brother.

miggy Fri 14-Mar-03 13:22:30

Will persevere. My big problem is DS1, he will eat willingly-chicken nuggets, fishfingers, plain ham, yoghurts, most kinds of fruit, bread, marmite,s&v crisps,biscuits-thats it, under duress plain chicken meat, 5 peas and few chips if not too potatoey (!). He comes home from school hungry having had a slice of bread and apple for lunch 9/10 days as doesnt eat whats on offer (not allowed packed lunch). You tell people he's fussy and they dont really understand how fussy. I told both his prev schools and after a few weeks his teachers have said they are worried because he doesnt eat any lunch-well I tried to tell you! If we try and force him to even try things its a nightmare, usu. followed by rush to toilet to be sick The other 2 will eat eggs/pizza/pasta etc and would be much more willingly to generally try things but seeing their older brother with something more obv. attractive makes things harder. I want to change things but not be unkind to DS. Am going to try eating together 2 weeknights (do at w/e) so they can perhaps be more influenced by dh and I than by their brother.

berries Fri 14-Mar-03 13:46:24

My youngest dd is very 'faddy' and will often just look at a food to say 'yuk'. Have found that she really doesn't like food mixed. So, we all have spaghetti bolognaise, she has plain pasta, with a few little bowls of things to add, like cheese, salami (won't eat ham) sweetcorn etc. If we have sandwiches, she has brown bread, and can pick a few things to add to it. She hates most veg except broccoli & carrots, but will eat a lot more if we just leave it raw & have dips. It seems to be a control thing as well. If we say, eat your food, it's a big fight. If we just put it out then she can pick and choose what she wants and over the course of a few days, she does eat a fairly healthy diet. We are lucky, in that she does love fruit, but in our house, if you are hungry when its not a mealtime, you help yourself to something from the fruit bowl. Crisps are not an option unless they are part of the meal. We tend to have one pack of biscuits per week, and dh eats most of them.
I would be interested in reading this book as I'm always looking for new ideas. What other suggestions did they make?

Moomin Fri 14-Mar-03 16:47:19

The author (Joanna Blythman) maintains it's more to do with attitude than anything else. Most food that supermarkets and maunfacturers label as "kids' food" is actually very poor quality, over-processed and additive-laden. She doesn't actually outlaw any particular food, but says that as long as it's good quality (the best you can afford) or even better, home-made, then you can avoid the crap.

The main points in getting your kids to eat well are:1) Feed them the same as you eat; 2) Eat with them as much as you can: 3) Try a wide range of food and vary it as often as poss; 4) Keep offering food, even when they don't like it the 1st time; 5) Use the freshest, best-quality food you can.

With vegetables, for instance, she says why should kids want to eat them if they're over-cooked, mushy and monotonous? She's a big fan of raw veg and dips, lots of colours on a plate so that it looks more yummy, mashed root veg, veg with garlic butter, stir-fries, etc.

There are lots of tips at the back of the book, but it's the arguments that run throughout the book that really convinced me. We really do have a strange and unhealthy attitude to what we see as kids' food in this country!

judetheobscure Fri 14-Mar-03 20:06:06

Couldn't agree more about unhealthy attitudes to kids' food in this country. I'm personally appalled at the awful food on offer at most "kids menus".

First off - if you start as you mean to go on that helps - so no chicken nuggets etc. in the house! Fishfingers I think are OK (not brilliant but nowhere near as bad as nuggets/chips etc.)

Miggy - seems like your ds1 has a few things on the willing list that are healthy. So stick to those and maybe introduce 1 new thing or 1 thing he doesn't yet like per meal. So on his plate he has 2 things he likes and 1 thing he doesn't. And nothing unhealthy. Don't be tempted to "fill him up" with junk - if he's hungry he should eat more fruit or ham or whatever. Give all your children basically the same meal. And try every vegetable under the sun until (hopefully) you find one he will eat. The influence of your two younger ones might also encourage him; if he sees the positive side of them happily eating pasta every time, he might be persuaded to try some eventually. Whereas maybe what he sees at the moment is the negative side of them complaining that they can't have chicken nuggets.

Having said that, I do give my children junk food sometimes. Never more than once a week though. And dd1 would rather not have it but dss 1-3 love it!

bayleaf Fri 14-Mar-03 20:12:59

I read it and did think it was very good - the only problem being that I'M addicted to complete cr*p - and, though I have triedn hard to improve my eating habits since dd, I kept getting nightmarish flashes whilst reading the book of dd finding me crouched in the garden shed furtively eating jelly tots - and her recoiling in horror with a exclamation of ''but Mummuy, you said they were horrible and poisonous!'...

gillymac Fri 14-Mar-03 21:50:44

miggy,
my son sounds very like your ds1. He only eats a few things and refuses even to touch anything else. For example, he has never even tried potatoes, pasta, rice, baked beans, chicken etc, etc. The list goes on. He's been like this since he stopped eating baby food and is 5 now and shows no signs of changing. Despite this he is v. healthy and active and because of this and because among the small list of things he does like, there are a number of healthy ones, e.g. cereals, bread, most fruits, mince, I've more or less given up trying to change him. Hopefully as he gets older, he'll decide himself to try new things.
I do also try to buy the best quality things that he will eat, e.g. organic mince, wholemeal bread etc and I give him multi-vitamins as well.
The only way I can get him to eat vegetables is by making home-made vegetable soup and then pureeing it down to a mush - sounds awful but tastes nice. I don't know whether it reminds him of babyfood or whether it's just easy to eat but he absolutely loves it. I don't know whether it'll work for you but it might be worth a shot!

Moomin Sat 15-Mar-03 15:30:59

That's the trouble, isn't it, bayleaf - "do as I say, not as I do"!!! I do make a concerted effort not to buy junky stuff so it's not in the house, otherwise I would guzzle it. You only have to see me at Christmas when there are all sorts of chocs and cream in the house. My problem with everyday food is the portions! I've got such a gutsy appetite I could just eat mountains of a main course. We do eat takeways but that's when dd is in bed! I like the idea of her being able to partake when she's old enough anyway. A little of what you fancy is fine, I think. It's just when it's served up as part of most meals.

Another part of the book that was very alarming was the bit on school dinners. I work in a secondary school and it's just terrible watching what sort of crap the kids eat during the course of a day. Of course, we can't stop them eating crisps and sweets at 8.30am, on the way to school but to serve them the disgusting pastry and pink offal that passes as sausage rolls in the canteen should be outlawed. In most school canteen, a piece of fruit costs only pennies less than a plate of chips. It's disgraceful!

EmmaTMG Sat 15-Mar-03 17:50:15

This all sounds very similar to me too and if anyone is interested I've got a recipe for home-made chicken nuggets and cheesy potato wedges.
If anyone wants it I'll post it on here........it's very long thats why I didn't do it now.

katierocket Sat 15-Mar-03 18:22:58

EmmaTMG I'd love those recipes please.
esp for chicken nuggets - my DS likes them but I'd prefer it if they were homemade.

EmmaTMG Sat 15-Mar-03 21:04:30

Right here goes then-
Herby chicken nuggets

500g/1lb 2oz Skinless boneless chicken.
1 Egg.
100g/4oz Fresh breadcrumbs.
1 tsp dried mixed herbs.
Pinch of salt.
5 tbsp sunflower oil.

For the sauce

1/2 bunch of fresh basil or 1 tsp of dried.
265g/9 1/2 oz jar tomato pasta sauce.
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1) Cut the chicken into 5cm/2in pieces. Beat the egg. Mix together the breadcrumbs, mixed herbs and salt in a large shallow dish
2)Dip the chicken pieces in the egg and then into the breadcrumb mixture making sure they are well coated. Place on a baking sheet and chill
for 10 minutes.
3)For the sauce, chop the basil, if using fresh. put basil in a pan with the pasta sauce and cheese. Heat gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour sauce into a bowl and keep warm.
4)Meanwhile, add the oil to a large frying pan. fry the chicken for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through.
Drain on kitchen paper.

Frying give the nuggets a really succulent texture and a good flavour. For an healthier option, bake the nuggets in medium oven for about 20 minutes ensuring that they a piping hot throughout.
Serve with the tomato sauce and salad to garnish!

I found the salad garnish quite amusing as I don't know a single child who eats salad and this recipe is taken from a children food idea book.
Hope they enjoy them, if I could show you all the picture that goes with the recipe you'd all by out in the kitchen now preparing a batch.........they look lovely and they're delicious!

katierocket Sat 15-Mar-03 21:17:47

thanks!

EmmaTMG Sat 15-Mar-03 21:35:51

Don't know where I got the 'very long' idea from, I think I was just being too lazy to type out. Oh dear!

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