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My children won't eat anything I cook! Any advice please

(12 Posts)
Jemster Thu 23-Jul-15 18:35:26

My dc are 7 & 3 and are getting fussier about what they will eat.
I have never been a great or adventurous cook but I have got myself a nice easy cookbook to make an effort to improve the whole family's eating habits. I would also like is to start eating together every day with the aim of just cooking one decent meal instead of various different things at different times.

It's not going well so far as they are both fussy & don't like trying new things. What one likes the other doesn't & I don't know what to do. I'm sick of making different food for everyone but I also don't like it if they don't eat anything.

I could really do with some advice from other people who've had this problem - what did you/do you do?

Biscetti Thu 23-Jul-15 18:41:21

Ok, what do they like. As in what meats, poultry, fish etc, plus veg. If you can put down a list of what you know they are likely to eat then I can suggest some things for you.

ByTheWishingWell Thu 23-Jul-15 18:50:09

A friend of mine with two fussy eaters found 'help yourself' type meals to be quite successful. That way there is plenty of choice, and it's not a big deal if people want different things. Examples:

- quiche with garlic bread, salad, dips, and cold meats
- Mexican theme- chilli, rice, wraps, spicy chicken, guacamole
- a roast with all the sides and veg in dishes so people can self-serve
- baked potatoes for everyone, with a choice of sides and toppings

Jemster Thu 23-Jul-15 18:52:52

Thanks Biscetti. They both like:
Pasta
Chicken
Lamb/beef although dd 3 finds it tough to chew
Spag bol/chilli
Sweetcorn
Beans
Potatoes - dd not keen on jackets but likes mash but ds is other way round!
Both love salad
Eggs - ds will eat omelette but dd hates it!

Dd likes but ds doesn't:
Peas
Pesto with pasta
Mash
Cheese sauce/macaroni cheese
White fish - but we never have it as ds is allergic to salmon and its made him scared of eating any fish. I give dd fishfingers but would really like to make a fish pie for us all but ds wouldn't eat it!

Ds likes but dd doesn't:
Sausages
Jacket pots
Pizza

Both like carrots but hate brocccoli, lack of green veg worries me.

Hope this gives a bit of an idea. Thank you

HarrietSchulenberg Thu 23-Jul-15 18:53:46

Mine are 14, 12 and 8 and I have the same problem. TBH I can't be bothered faffing with different meals for each child: I cook one meal and if anyone doesn't like it then tough, they don't get anything else.
They know this and will eat but with much grumbling.
The only meal they all like is baked potatoes with cheese and beans. Sunday dinners used to be winners until ds1 decided he didn't like them anymote earlier this year.
No advice to offer, I'm afraid, but can send a truck of sympathy.

defineme Thu 23-Jul-15 19:00:23

You will probably get posters suggesting letting them go hungry, but I was never comfortable doing that...felt like i was getting into battles over it, when I wanted them to feel relaxed about food.
I read toddler taming years ago and it suggested trying a ready made version of a new dish first, so you're not emotionally invested if they don't like it. I also find help yourself buffet type meals are great for taking the pressure off.
My 3 (all of whom have been fussy at some point) have come to like new foods from take aways, school dinners, ayce buffet restaurants, choosing and helping cook a 2 course meal at home, pick your own fruit farms.

they love wraps...i put chicken, raw veg, sauce etc on the table and they
make their own wrap up. Same with pizzas..i do the base and they put their own toppings on.

Eating around the table together is great, but talk about anything but the food.
i never withdraw pudding as punishment..yoghurt and fruit is good for them and i have dc prone to anxiety wwhich won't be helped by that.

it also helped me to appreciate that this is not a new phenomena caused by shit modern parenting...my auntie is 69 and ate nothing but crackers and cheese age 8-10. My dh is 52 and his dm used to ask just for a slice of bread for him when they went out for dinner because he was so fussy. They both got over it in the end.

defineme Thu 23-Jul-15 19:07:17

Green veg, or indeed white cauliflower etc can be made into tempura. Frozen spinach seems to dissolve into chilli, bolognaise or curry. Cauliflower puree with lots if butter and/or combined with potato mash. Sweet potatoes are great as chips, along with parsnips. Or my friends seem to be having great success with nutibullet type drinks including green veg etc.

Biscetti Thu 23-Jul-15 19:20:21

Ok, can do loads from that.

Chicken:

Put some chicken thighs, potatoes cut into wedges, whole, unpeeled cloves of garlic (I do 2 per thigh as a rule) into a shallow dish/roasting tray. Season, drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of thyme or oregano. 190c for about 40 mins. Serve with a salad in summer or french beans or something in the cooler months. It's sort of self saucing, and nice with some crusty bead to mop up juices.

Waitrose own brand teriyaki sauce is, IMO, the best. Marinade some wings, legs or thighs in some and then shove in oven or under grill for as long as needed. Serve with sticky rice and some stir fry pak choi/baby corn.

Lamb:

Lamb steaks, cut into bite size bits. Make a marinade with olive oil, crushed garlic, salt, splash of lemon juice and the grated rind, and chopped rosemary. Leave to marinade for a couple of hours, then skewer, alternating with (if they like) anything like mushrooms, courgettes, cherry toms etc. grill and serve with pita/in wraps with kebab style bits and bobs.

Make a yoghurt dip to go with it (this is also nice with the first chicken recipe above). Greek yog, grated clove of garlic, generous pinch of dried mint, small pinch of oregano and seasoning.

Beef:

Stroganoff sort of thing. Thinly slice some rump or sirloin. Chop one medium onion and sauté that in some olive oil. Add in the steak and when cooked, stir in a teaspoon of tom purée. Cook through for one min and then add a good dollop of creme frâiche. If they like mushrooms, then Finely sliced and flung in with steak. Rice to serve.

Salad: we have this quite a lot at the mo.

Roughly chop tomatoes and some cucumber. Pop into a decent sized bowl and then sprinkle fairly generously with Malden salt. Chop/tear up a romaine or cos lettuce and put on top of the toms/cucumber. Finely chop some spring onions and add in.

Leave to one side. Finely slice some chicken breast and put in a small bowl with a splash of olive oil. Sprinkle over some Schwartz season all (stay with me!) and make sure all the chicken is coated nicely. Heat a pan up and then fry off some lardons. When crispy chuck on top of the salad. Then cook the chicken in the same pan, tipping the lot into the salad when done.

Next a squeeze of lemon juice and splash of olive oil and then give the salad a good mix. Delicious and despite how much effort it looks, it's really really quick and easy.

GasLIghtShining Thu 23-Jul-15 20:54:56

Do they eat curry?

If your DD struggles with beef try using it in casseroles to soften it up.

I have one (20) who is vegetarian and another (16) who will not eat the veggie pulses and grains. I do have to cook for three and make do for the fourth one although the 20 year old isn't always here so don't always have to accommodate - it's not always easy.

Cook fish if you want and do a piece of chicken or an omelette for your DS instead. It's not going to a huge extra effort.

When they were younger the rule was you don't say you don't like it until you try it and if you wouldn't eat it then there was a sandwich.

Your DS is old enough to help you menu plan - it might help

Could you make a game out of trying food by blindfolding them and getting them to try things and guessing what it is . If you have some food that you know they will eat and some new things they will at least be able to name some food.

Not everything has to be cooked. I absolutely hate cooked carrots to the point that I would rather starve but love raw carrots. My DC are the same with peppers

Jemster Fri 24-Jul-15 08:46:21

Thank you all for your replies & suggestions, I will give them a try where my limited cooking ability permits!

Jenny1231990 Fri 24-Jul-15 09:13:13

My son now 6 used to be terrible he's getting better at trying new things, at one time I couldn't get any veg into him at all, only fruit.
It sounds silly but one day I called a roast a Christmas dinner and he ate the lot and has done ever since, even now he looks forward to his Christmas dinner on a Sunday hahaha. Always thinks he's having turkey when it would be chicken, lamb or beef.
He will eat mange tout, green beans until they come out of his ears because he thinks they will make him run faster than his friends.

What about making it fun so like others have suggested a buffet style table of food, have a Mexican night
Are they willing to help you in the kitchen? Might make them want to try new things, maybe they could pick something they like the look of in the cookbook. Could get a cookbook aimed at children, normally get ideas for funny shaped foods in there and they could help you. X

Cedar03 Fri 24-Jul-15 12:01:19

Definitely get them to help you in the kitchen and get them to choose what to eat some nights as a treat.

I tell my daughter (aged 8) that she can't tell me she doesn't like something if she hasn't tried it. She has to have a little taste first. Even if its only a tiny taste with her nose screwed up ready to dislike it!

I don't offer alternatives and I won't do an entire meal that has nothing in it that I know she'll eat.

Keep calm and don't take it personally when they won't eat it. Funny how sometimes she won't eat things at my house, but go to a friends and she'll at least try it. And likes and dislikes have changed as well. Particularly with vegetables.

Its the wrong time of year, but vegetable soup is a great way of getting them to eat all the vegetables they don't like. It's all hidden and provided the flavour is right they won't notice the broccoli or cabbage or whatever.

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