Talk

Advanced search

Share your tips for getting your children eating healthily with Little Yeos - £300 voucher to be won

(349 Posts)
EllieMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 01-Apr-19 10:32:19

Trying to get your children to eat healthily is a battle that many parents will inevitably face; from weaning onto solid foods, to dinner times through to pack lunches and beyond. There is a lot of information and recipes out there on what the best methods/techniques are to get your child to start eating healthily and how to incorporate nutritious food into their meals. With that being said Little Yeos would love to know any recommendations, recipes, techniques or experiences of getting your child to eat healthily.

Here’s what Little Yeos have to say: We’d love to hear your top tips for children’s healthy eating. Here are some examples to get you started:

Weaning:
What are your tips for weaning your child onto healthy food?
Do you find that your child prefers sweeter foods or more varied flavours?

Doing the weekly food shop:
Do you find it easy to find healthy snacks for your child?
Do you find nutrients labels on foods in supermarkets are clear?

Meal times:
Do you have any favourite healthy tips or recipes that work for your family?
What are your favourite healthy swaps?

Whatever your recommendations, thoughts or experiences when it comes to getting your child to eat healthily, share them on the thread below and you’ll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 voucher of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!
MNHQ

Standard Insight T&Cs Apply

BristolMum96 Mon 01-Apr-19 15:15:14

Don't offer crap food? My daughter is allowed a small pudding after her dinner but only if she's made a big enough effort for her proper meal. No effort no junk. Take it or leave it I don't give in.

LiliesAndChocolate Mon 01-Apr-19 19:45:31

The very best way to encourage healthy eating is to limit industrial food and be aware of tactics used by the industry, especially cracking, using concentrated fruit juice instead of sugar, but it is still sugar only with a healthy sound, and so on.

If your child get used to flavours that do not exist in nature or to food that only a highly engineered manufacturer can create, they will reject most vegetables and classic food such as the humble chicken breast unless modified to a fried form with crumbs, or covered in sauce.

Bottom line, avoid industrial food as much as you can, even "healthy" industrial food, such as rice cakes or even sorry sponsored OP, fromage frais with maize starch (cracking), milk protein and concentrate fruit juice (pure sugar) .

In nature what is fat is not sweet. So you have nuts, olives, avocado, ... on one side and sweet food such as fruit, honey, .... on the other. Combine the two, and you go crazy . We all love ice-cream, cakes, and so on. A fromage frais with fruits combines the same principle, a cheese (fat) with fruit (sugar).

Rediscover single ingredients meal and fresh produce, avoiding all packaged food. This will give you the best chances of your child eating healthy.

MrsFrTedCrilly Tue 02-Apr-19 00:48:09

Vegetable led weaning and also not making a huge deal out of food. Let them learn how to eat intuitively and have a healthy happy relationship with food.
I tend to limit exposure to junk food at home and not use food as a reward. Teaching children about what makes them strong and healthy is really important and I think by understanding they learn to make better choices.

voyager50 Wed 03-Apr-19 09:57:03

I remember mashing up all sorts of vegetables into mashed potatoes and making frozen smoothie lollies instead of buying ice cream.

We now make pizzas together where I buy a plain cheese and tomato base and he puts the topping on - he always chooses healthy options and enjoys making faces or pictures with pointed peppers, tomatoes etc.

SilverLinings2014 Wed 03-Apr-19 13:31:24

Normalise all food so unhealthy foods been seen as something to really covert.

We talk a lot about the importance of eating a variety of foods, and that eating a 'rainbow' of food every day will help ensure variety.

Blazedout Wed 03-Apr-19 13:37:16

It is all about balance. What is the point in putting a blanket ban on all food at home when it is readily available elsewhere I.e youth club, school, shops etc. My children don't have sugary snack in their pack ups but are allowed dessert. They eat lots of fruit but also go through phases of not eating much but the option is always there. One of the biggest changes we have introduced is swapping to natural yoghurt and fruit and making our own ice cream/lollies.

MrsRobert Wed 03-Apr-19 13:39:15

My toddler eats everything he's given at nursery but is a bit fussier at home. He would eat biscuits all day if he could. We make smoothie icepops which I give to him instead of treats. I'm not a fan of vegetables myself so I hide loads in spag bol, chilli con carne, cottage pie and soups. It seems to work for him too!

TheBrilloPad Wed 03-Apr-19 14:15:32

Shopping in Tesco is great because they have that "free fruit" thing, so the kids are eating healthily while you shop.

I like to only give healthy choices - "what shall we have with chicken this evening? Broccoli or green beans?" That way they feel like they have control over what they are eating.

For weaning, I try to start with veg only for the first week.

In general, try and limit junk in the house. My kids (all under 5) know they can have cakes/sweets etc at parties and grandparents house, but at home there isn't any there, so they eat well because they have no other options!

Ribeebie Wed 03-Apr-19 14:56:56

Lead weaning with veggies and avoid soft drinks/squash - offer water with food. I think weaning helps the whole family eat better as if you're all eating the same thing you won't add extra salt etc as it's not suitable for babies so the adults will eat better too.

HolidaysorBust Wed 03-Apr-19 15:39:47

Get them involved in the cooking - even just stirring something - so they have a stake in what they're eating. And eat with them whenever you possibly can.

m0jit0 Wed 03-Apr-19 16:02:16

Try not to make too big a deal out of food. Our toddler eats whatever we eat (for now, hoping she won't develop fussy habits as she gets old). I little bit of everything in moderation is the key in my opinion.

JanuarySun Wed 03-Apr-19 17:31:10

My baby just gets whatever we're eating, less salt/spice if necessary. There's no need for special baby food.

Elllicam Wed 03-Apr-19 18:03:27

We offer vegetables first at meal time. So at the point where they are most hungry they get the veg then go onto the protein and carbs afterwards.

ifigoup Wed 03-Apr-19 18:24:36

I weaned onto real foods with real flavours, but limited salt and sugar. My DC never had the opportunity to refuse plain yoghurt in favour of sweetened stuff, because they never had an opportunity to learn that the sweetened stuff existed.

At mealtimes I also ensured that the stuff I most wanted them to eat appeared first, when they were most hungry. In this way they learned not to fill up on bland carbs, and also learned that food tastes better when you’re hungry.

I found the book “First Bite” really excellent on this stuff.

Kapoww Wed 03-Apr-19 18:38:09

It’s about balance and it’s about variety.

About a year ago I found my DD (6) had become very fussy and would exist on bread if you let her. So to tackle it we made a list of meals to try (15 or so) and then she got to pick her top 5 for regular rotation. We try to add some kind of vege to every meal and I find the steam bags a godsend.

We only drink water which goes a long way toward limiting sugar intake. We also don’t have biscuits or sweets in the house. We will bake sometimes and that’s a good way to learn about food as well as know what’s in it.

For snacks we have bread, I keep the fruit bowl full and we also have cheese and mini cheddars (which aren’t that healthy but you can’t win them all.)

Both of my kids love yoghurt and I always buy Greek and top it with honey. I make sure it has live cultures in it for their gut health.

foxessocks Wed 03-Apr-19 18:40:09

Everything in moderation. They just get served up what we are having, but I never make them eat it all, they just have to try everything. We have regular treats but they tend to be home made stuff . I don't have biscuits or crisps in the house very often at all.

friendlyfish Wed 03-Apr-19 19:03:19

i really believe food should be a pleasure throughout life and that there should be no pressure on children to eat certain foods or specific amounts. The more attention given to the healthiness or otherwise of food and how much of each thing should be eaten, the more it can lead to small children using food as a way of exerting control, which is not ideal.

I have never called a food either good or bad, healthy or unhealthy but just offer simple, balanced and well cooked foods low in salt and sugar. Treats are fine I think as the more they are seen as very restricted, the more importance and desirability they can assume.

Helping to prepare food is a great way of getting children involved in meals but no amount of weighing, mixing and decorating will persuade a child to wolf something down if they’ve come up against a taste they just don’t like.

I do worry that the pleasure of sitting down and enjoying good food is sometimes taken away from young children by a big deal being made of what they need to eat, what they’re not eating enough of, what they can and can’t have etc. Mealtimes shouldn’t be lessons in nutrition just a nice part of the day.

OrdinarySnowflake Wed 03-Apr-19 19:37:22

If you eat a crap diet, so will your kids. Eat as a family as much as possible, and everyone eats a sensible balanced diet.

Pudding is fine, but for people who have eaten their dinner and are still hungry.

Popcornandbuttons Wed 03-Apr-19 19:39:41

I think it's hard work getting the balance right but we are trying! We have lots of healthy snacks and aim for the 100 calorie snacks or less. We eat lots of fruit as a family and try and have a variety of meals which are balanced.
Having said all of that, my 2yo old would have 5 yoghurts a day if I let her!

Susanna30 Wed 03-Apr-19 19:52:19

Veg stick starter!
Some slices of red pepper, carrot and cucumber as a little starter before the main. Even if I'm serving fish fingers, chips and beans I'm happy that they've had something healthy to start.

PickAChew Wed 03-Apr-19 20:07:41

Mine are both autistic along with all the food aversions that can involve. DS1 weaned onto lots of veg, which he enjoyed but now, as a teen he eats the same 2 or 3 meals (all sandwiches) each day plus apple juice, some pre-prepared fruit (he won't touch whole fruit, even when he chooses something like a melon, in the shop, he can't bring himself to eat it). He'd happily eat his weight in doughnuts, but i don't deliberately facilitate that!

DS2 was difficult to wean. He wouldn't touch anything until 8-9 months hated the taste and texture of many foods, right from the start. He wouldn't even touch food. I ended up putting a piece of biscuit on his tray and walking away, while he whined at me. I had to start pressing it into the palm of his hand to get him over that hump.

We push at the boundaries of his diet all the time and he pushes back, just like his brother.

So yeah, while only offering good food is sensible, there are kids for whom it's a lot more complicated than that.

Milkn0sugar Wed 03-Apr-19 20:09:49

We stick to healthier versions of staple foods: natural Greek yoghurt; heavily diluted fresh fruit juice if not water or milk; always wholemeal bread; pureed fresh fruit and veg rather than pre-prepared weaning pouches; home made yoghurt ice lollies etc.

SageYourResoluteOracle Wed 03-Apr-19 21:19:13

The majority of what we eat is cooked from scratch and veg goes into everything.

We're huge fans of Jamie Oliver's 7 veg sauce recipe - makes a vat.

A favourite in our house is DH's egg fried rice - prawns, onion, sweet corn, sometimes pepper and egg with some sesame oil and soya sauce ... the 'rice'? Cauliflower. Our DD doesn't know. She thinks she dislikes veg... I know we need to get to the stage where she'll try more veg but she still gets plenty and eats a lot of fruit too.

Oh and treat-wise, Quorn nuggets are good too- way better than chicken ones!

Breakfasts: only on school holidays is DD allowed something like Cheerios or one of those mini box multi packs. At all other times (unless we're away on holiday in which case, anything's fair game) then it's pretty much porridge with fruit. Fortunately DD loves porridge.

IWouldBeSuperb Wed 03-Apr-19 21:22:13

Vegetable-led weaning, onĺy water or milk to drink (not squash etc.), plain yoghurt rather than processed fruit yogurts, and avoiding keeping snacky/junk food in the house.

I don't see the point in giving kids a sweet tooth too early- they don't miss what they haven't had!

Love the veg stick starter idea upthread - I'll be stealing that!

ItsHardToExplain Wed 03-Apr-19 21:53:10

Great ideas on this thread. I have picked up some tips for my family. I think the only one I could add is that we try to reduce sugar by not allowing fizzy drinks at all and only having sugary treats at Easter and birthdays etc. A healthy yogurt or fruit is a better ‘treat’ for everyday.

cannotmakemymindup Wed 03-Apr-19 22:39:43

My Dd does love fruit and vegetables but also chocolate so although probably easier than some to eat healthy we still have to make sure it is balanced.
I have tried to not concentrate on unhealthy/healthy food labels so much as this is the food we eat. Some is a treat we just have occasionally and the rest we can eat all the time, freely. She is aware due to nursery about unhealthy foods but I never want to set foods as bad. Follow the old mantra of everything in moderation.

Snacks tend to be dried fruit and nuts, sometimes a little chocolate with the raisins to. Drinking water at the same time or very watered down fruit juice is encouraged. I just try to never have crisps as the go to option for her. She has her own snack box with things she knows she's allowed to have.

We enjoy having vegetables in meals that sometimes people forget or think it has to be meat free not just less. So most currys we eat will include some peppers, broccoli and cauliflower in addition to chicken.
I make sure we make stock from all the peelings, and bits that arnt 109% anymore, then use in gravies, sauces and curries in place of the water.
We bake foods that maybe could be fried like bacon, breaded chicken strips etc. Also easier to just set timer and leave whilst cooking instead of watching frying.

Mummymummums Wed 03-Apr-19 22:42:23

I don't find healthy snacks easy to find as I find the sugar content too high in most snack/cereal bars. We tend to go with fruit (I know there's natural sugars) and recently have found some oat biscuits which are lower sugar and the DC love them.
DS10 is a very difficult eater. I've tried many many meals that he should like but doesn't. Yesterday I bought diced chicken breast and whizzed up wholemeal bread, garlic and Parmesan and dipped the chicken in. Home made nuggets. It went down really well. I am ridiculously pleased.

Halmo Wed 03-Apr-19 22:51:29

I think it’s important to wean onto real food and get them to try a wide variety of flavours. For older ones we’ve found that getting them involved in cooking and baking has helped them learn about healthy eating and got them interested in trying new recipes.

Valkarie Wed 03-Apr-19 22:54:51

After great success with weaning, ds1 ate practically anything, ate very little sugar and loved green vegetables. Then within 2 months it all went wrong and he was down to eating only around 10 foods. I went with giving him things I knew he would eat, while offering and encouraging other things. He ate a lot of beans, cheese and fruit!

Took 3 years, but out the other side now and he eats a wide variety again. Of course left to his own devices he would eat nothing but sugar and processed meat!

PickledChicory Wed 03-Apr-19 23:08:13

Offer variety. Processed food and snacks are a treat but I dont make things off limits. Shop with your kids, cook/prepare food with your kids and eat with your kids. I always put out veg (cooked or raw) with food and my kids always try and have at least a few veg and are getting better at eating more and trying new veg.

kateandme Wed 03-Apr-19 23:10:35

let them share whatever you have in most cases.let them feel and grab for little bit of your veggies or bread or scrambled eggs.this way they start off having proper unfussy all varied food choices.
lots of veggies mixed in with mash,ice or pasta.

get them excited about food.one struggled so we had the vegggis raindbow chart where they would see how many colours they could get onto their plates each day and ticked off the chart.she loved doing it.

get them helping at the supermarket.ask them to choose the green veg or between broccoli or cabbage tday.make them feel important in choices.

let them help cooking.even just stirring or counting out with them how many spoonfuls.
get them to taste the food protending you need their advice.
making their own pizzas is great fun.
coating fruit with yoghurt and freezing in large ice cubs trays.
making smoothie ice creams.
salmon with brown rice and mushrooms and spring onions in one pan is a lovely loved dish
roasted veggies.
potato veggie burgers.

don't give up trying.sometimes their mood decides what they will be willing to try.so at a meal time they might refuse just because its tantrum time and they don't actually not like something.give it time then tyr that food again

treat foods are good up to a point but its not we don't allow or not its more they can have their favourite and sometimes cant.

be very aware of how you are behaving around food and weight etc.
help them learn about the goodness in food and how they make them strong and energised.but this includes fat and carbs too!
don't ever make them feel guilty over food.
keep weight stigma out of the house.

MarshaBradyo Thu 04-Apr-19 03:35:18

Wean on bitter taste, broccoli is good, tomatoes, fish and avoid (sweetened) yoghurt

15 months eats everything, single food no processed, water or milk and pretty much no sugar

Cheese is a good snack or grated carrot

The healthiest of the three dc, maybe because the others weaned on yoghurt

Calixtine Thu 04-Apr-19 07:25:05

I have three children and the eldest (3.5) is a very fussy eater.

My top tip for encouraging a fussy eater to eat: let them help cook/prepare the food with you. Make it a fun activity to do together, you’ll find they try (and like) things they would otherwise have rejected without tasting. Even better, try growing a few simple things (radishes, carrots, tomatoes in a growbag with your child, they love it!

Also, I found weaning so much calmer and easier second time round, when we skipped the purées and went straight to giving DS little bits of whatever we were having. It got him used to all different flavours from the start, it was no extra effort or expense to prepare, and therefore I was less upset when most of it ended up on his face/the floor.

shaddai88 Thu 04-Apr-19 09:52:47

I buy a variety of vegetable and fruits and cook different colourful meals. I do use a steamer a lot. I would mashed sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnip together and add sesame seeds and cut up chives (cooked at the bottom of the steamer) with it with a serving of either a fish/chicken steamed with goji berries,pepper and finely chopped ginger ( cook on the steamer).I offer the water from the cooked vegetable in small cups as a drink after he meal. Hence the whole meal is cooked in the steamer which makes life very easy. I add a bit of sesame oil on the meat just before I serve it.

I cooked chopped up beetroot in small chunks, carrots in a different shape, celery in half inch and cook it in a steamer. I add sweet corn or runner beans so there a variety of colours.All the water from cooking the vegetables are offered a drink in fun size cups.

Another day, I would cook rice, pasta and fried noodles.

For fried noodles and often with pasta if you are using dried noodles or past need to cook them first before frying the sliced seasoned meat.. I shallow fry the fried onions of garlic with the seasons sliced lean pork, chicken breast and chicken liver with kale, finely cut carrots, spring cabbage or white cabbage or Chinese cabbage and bean sprouts. For the dried noodles and pasta you need to cook the it first if they are the dried ones, Serve it with a chopped up spring onions.

With pasta I often make lasagna, or spaghetti bolognise. Another easy meal I like is shepherds pie using lean meat with lots of finely chopped carrots, onions, parsnip, celery, spinach and tomatoes.

If I am cooking rice or couscous, I either steam or stir fry the vegetables, carrots, broccoli, celery, kale, colourful peppers, beans or any vegetables that is in season.

With meat I either grill, shallow pan fry, steam or roast the meat and use very low heat so the meat is very tender. Occasionally during holidays I would cook chips and fish.

When I am shopping and the children I get them to pick their favourite vegetables and we try new ones like celeriac which I use a lot for casserole and for steaming. I introduce new vegetable to them like aubegines which I often add to the shepherds pie or stir fry vegetables or steam it whole and serve it with some sesame oil.

Offering the children raspberry, blue berries bananas, apple, clementines or yogurt or cut up finger size celeray as snacks and deserts.

JC4PMPLZ Thu 04-Apr-19 10:12:24

Just have lots of attractively cut carrots, radishes, tomato and so on available - nice homemade dips too. Eat them as well. Stupid to present things as separate adult and child food. Get them involved in cooking as soon as you can.

Sugarhouse Thu 04-Apr-19 10:45:24

I think starting off on healthy and homemade where possible is a good start. Eventually the odd treat doesn’t hurt though everything in moderation. Completely banning unhealthy stuff will make them want it more

starlight36 Thu 04-Apr-19 12:08:42

Getting them to like the taste of healthier food is a big win. Another big help is if you / they have friends who also serve up healthy snacks and food. It helps to normalise eating healthy fresh food.

scarfattack Thu 04-Apr-19 12:55:51

Firstly I am not going on about food, talking about eating it or not eating or being good or treats etc. Kids don't have free access to junk but they are allowed it without a, 'oooh, you can have a treat' approach. If it's being offered somewhere then whatever or at home if we have it but I don't buy it regularly. At dinner times over the years I've just made the food without overly catering to specific likes and dislikes. Almost every meal there's salad of some form and the 6 and 4 year old just eat it now. The little one still flings it about but hopefully will just start eating it too because we all do. There's no wheedling to them to eat their greens or eat healthy food. There is reminders to concentrate and get on with eating though!
I'm sure I'm not doing it perfectly but I am encouraged by my 6 year old and that she was a very picky eater as a toddler and now eats most of what's given to her. I just tried to create no drama at meal times and for her I think is worked.

sharond101 Thu 04-Apr-19 13:09:14

We don't differentiate with healthy or unhealthy and offer a selection of fruit and vegetables for snacks and with all meals.

queenoftheschoolrun Thu 04-Apr-19 14:16:54

We don't buy sweets or biscuits and we only occasionally eat dessert. DD didn't even like sweets until she went to school and the teachers started dishing them out as rewards!
Lots of fresh fruit available as snacks or after meal times.

SillyMoomin Thu 04-Apr-19 14:49:11

Well it's quite simple really - don't buy junk food! Kids don't miss what they haven't had!

Same as I don't keep chocolate in the house as I can't trust my willpower!

GooodMythicalMorning Thu 04-Apr-19 16:59:15

Kids tend to copy so healthy eating yourself helps but it doesnt work with all kids, my ds who has aspergers will not eat healthily so I have to limit his junk food intake otherwise he'd eat it all day. I encourage him but not force him as there isnt much point as I know he will try it when he is ready and would just upset everyone to constantly battle about it.

whatthefoxsaid Thu 04-Apr-19 18:01:40

My DD is only young (18m) so I'm fairly new to this but I think my best advice is not to get too hung up on it at this age.
For weaning, keep trying new things but at the side of something you're confident they like.
We don't really do snacks as a rule but I try to offer vegetables or a banana. Rice cakes or a homemade oaty bar in a pinch.
I think it's important to lead by example and always try to eat with her and we share lunch more often than not. When she sees me eating something, she's more likely to try it.
At mealtimes, I offer a balance of carbs/protein and veg or fruit.
We don't really have puddings and at the moment she doesn't have a sweet tooth for biscuits etc. Allergic to dairy so no battles with chocolate!

Fleabagging Thu 04-Apr-19 18:39:17

Proper home cooked food with processed food at a minimum where possible and involve children in cooking. My kids are older now and did go through fussy/unhealthy phases but now love experimenting with cooking from scratch themselves.

Cotswoldmama Thu 04-Apr-19 18:51:09

My sons are awful sometimes they’ll eat something and live it and I’ll think yes at last. Then a week later they’ll hate it! I find cottage pie is a good thing to sneak veg into. I get canned carrots which are so soft you can just mash them with a fork and mix them with the mince and very finely chopped mushrooms can also be added as well as tomato purée ( one table spoon counts as one of your 5 a day) I also add mashed parsnips to the mash!

Tuesday2ndApril Thu 04-Apr-19 19:06:35

Yoghurt is a good example of junk food marketed to parents/kids as healthy, when it plainly isn't.

gemmie797 Thu 04-Apr-19 19:07:50

I only offer sweet treats if my boys finish their meals. They love rice based foods, including pudding rices, which I don't add sugar too, just berries

CallmeBadJanet Thu 04-Apr-19 19:12:30

Keep offering a variety of fruit and veg and encourage and praise them for trying it, even if they dont eat it all. Eventually after many tries new foods become normal for them.

CMOTDibbler Thu 04-Apr-19 19:49:53

Honestly, we just shared our food with ds from day1 - he sat on our laps and ate bits off our plates some of the time, and in a high chair at the table being given bits the rest. No routine puddings (we don't have them). Snacks were (and still are) fruit or veg.

CopperPan Thu 04-Apr-19 20:11:30

We've tended to wean using veggies at first, but introducing meat, fish and poultry quite soon. I've tended to hold back on the fruit and any sweet flavours until later. DCs have all been happy with savoury food, and don't have much of a sweet tooth.

We use fruit/veg as snacks a lot, which is generally quite healthy.
We've swapped out meat for tofu/veggies/quorn a couple of times a week, which is good from a financial point of view as well as being healthy. We eat very little red meat these days, but still lots of chicken and fish.

Leeds2 Thu 04-Apr-19 21:03:59

Everything in moderation.

Lead by example, so don't expect your DC not to crave sweet snacks if you yourself constantly have biscuits, sweets, chocolate in your hand!

Limit the amount of unhealthy snacks you have in the house.

Avoid making "children's meals" - the DC can usually eat what the adults are eating, and don't need to have nuggets, fish fingers etc as meal replacements.

CuckooSings Thu 04-Apr-19 22:06:45

Get them involved in cooking! My 9 year old can cook pretty much anything with supervision and eats a wide variety.

My eldest is autistic and hates trying new things. So once a month we have a game where we put out different foods and everyone has to try. The kids love making the adults try "yucky" food and often find they like something.

Anj123 Thu 04-Apr-19 22:15:41

We have started eating less meat and soya mince has been a success in our house. We cook from scratch, always eat sitting round the table and my daughter is generally a good healthy eater but does love her puddings. As long as she eats a varied and balanced diet, I think that’s ok.

chibsortig Fri 05-Apr-19 08:12:30

Nothing is banned as i believe everything is fine in moderation. We all eat together regularly, my children were weaned at the table whilst everyone else ate rather than eating separately. They are allowed their likes and dislikes but i dont make separate meals i adapt what meal we have to suit each child. Such as pasta in sauce for one is plain pasta with dipping sauce for another.
Allowing them to be involved in deciding whats for tea and letting them pick on certain days is always good.
Vegetables are just put on plates and they can decide to try them no pressure - they all now have their favourite vegetables.
My mealtime motto seems to be leave what you dont like. I only plate small amounts for the littler ones so not we dont have too much waste they can always have more if they want.
Pudding is not a reward and is not withheld if they dont eat their main.
Mostly mealtimes are a battle i choose not to fight as they can become far too stressful if you start trying to force children to eat. Mealtimes are not always perfect but they are less stressful.

Asuwere Fri 05-Apr-19 08:15:57

Set a good example so eat as a family and involve the children in the cooking. Don't buy junk food so there isn't that option available.

JellySlice Fri 05-Apr-19 10:07:59

I don't buy fruit yogurts. There is a huge variety of flavours in just plain yogurt. If you want 'fruit yogurt', add fruit. Or compote. Or even jam.

Absolutely no need for all the crap added to fruit yogurt.

Sorry Yeo grin (though your plain yogurts are lovely).

JellySlice Fri 05-Apr-19 10:09:37

And there's absolutely no need for 'weaning' yogurts or 'baby' yogurts.

Yogurt is yogurt - until manufacturers start adulterating it with unnecessary crap.

lemonjam Fri 05-Apr-19 10:18:11

My fussy boy likes it when I make a face out of salad/vegetables/whatever- he gets a lot of pleasure out of eating it bit by bit!

Laurajjj561 Fri 05-Apr-19 15:16:21

My little boy 18 months and from he was 6 months and started getting spook feeds I always made sure he was giving healthy food I never give him baby jars always make meat potatoes veg or fish and rice he gets fruit carrot sticks and the Yeo valley yogurt or cheese sticks

BrilliantYou Fri 05-Apr-19 16:30:19

It's all about balance. No one food is 'bad' or 'healthy'. Eat a balanced diet, create food habits such as eating together at the table.

I cook from scratch, make sure we are eating at least 5 portions of fruit and veg per day and try to use the traffic light system system when choosing packaged foods such as cereal. It's really hard as a parent as so many companies are jumping on the 'healthy' band wagon to advertise/sell their products when ultimately they aren't healthy at all.

fishnships Fri 05-Apr-19 18:15:05

Try to avoid anything processed.
Suggestions: Instead of bought chips just cut potatoes into wedges.
Start a habit of only drinking water - goes for cafes and restaurants too (will save quite a bit over the years)
Try to make rather than buy pizzas. Get hold of a stand mixer if you can, then just add water to a dough mix, make the sauce easily by pureeing a tin of tomatoes with chopped onion(try frozen) and basil. Control what's in them easily and quick to make once you've done it a few times. Most kids love pizza!

CharityConundrum Fri 05-Apr-19 21:08:39

I think being relaxed about food really helps - I was a 'fussy' eater as a child but it was mostly a textural thing with me, so when my oldest looked like he was going to be the same, I asked my mum if any of the techniques she had EVER tried to cajole me into eating things had worked and when she admitted they hadn't, I decided not to bother.

I was lucky that my oldest liked a fairly healthy, albeit limited, range of foods, and the hardest thing was not trying to change it up just because I thought he must be bored! He didn't care, so I served variations of the same few meals over and over again until he was ready to try new things and when he was he was much less inclined to do the thing where they have a face like they're eating poo before it's even come near them then they either taste a single molecule or declare they don't like it just from being in the same room as something new.

My youngest has food intolerances, so we have to do a lot of work to find things he can eat, but he is lucky that he was diagnosed early, s doesn't really remember being able to eat 'normally' and is fairly stoic for a 3 year old when he can't have something...for now! grin

ButterflyOfFreedom Fri 05-Apr-19 22:36:13

We don't usually have junk food (crisps, biscuits etc) in the house, my DC know they are a treat.
They know fruit & veg is healthy and they should have at least 5 a day.
They only drink water or milk.
No sugar cereal for breakfast.
Etc etc...
It's all about education and teaching them.young what is healthy v unhealthy and why nutrition is important.

torthecatlady Fri 05-Apr-19 23:47:06

Starting them on homemade, nutritious and varied food as early as possible, because once they develop a taste for the processed stuff it's hard to get away from it!

Also try to keep treats for evenings or weekends.

One meal for everyone, no cooking separate dishes.

I find offering a choice of 2 heathy(ish) options good, because if they choose what they want to eat, they're more likely to eat it!

It works for us right now, but that's not to say it'll work for everyone. Always open to suggestions.

rachaelsit Sat 06-Apr-19 06:30:57

I don’t have things that are off limits really (within reason) if they want ice cream for pudding I give them it I don’t call it a treat. The portion size is reasonable and they don’t get it endlessly. I explain to them what is in the food (sugar, etc) good or bad and what effect it has on the body. In simple terms. This is for my 4yo and 2.5 yo so I keep it simple. I want them to understand about food and not just think things aren’t allowed or the sugary fatty things are treats to get excited about but treats because we don’t have them often because of how they impact on our bodies. It works for us.
This didn’t apply up to 18 months or so when I just limited sugar and processed food entirely.

misskatamari Sat 06-Apr-19 08:29:03

We're very lucky that dd and ds are pretty good at eating vegetables and love fruit. However now they're older we do find more unhealthy snacks and treat foods sneaking in, which we really need to cut down on. Overall I think cooking as much as you can from scratch and eating as a family are some of the biggest things you can do to help kids eat well. If we're eating something a little different that we're not sure the kids will like we might break it down into components for them and then give them a bit of the main things as well (we do this a lot for things like stir fry and fajitas as well, as they are a bit reluctant to eat the meal all together but will happily eat chicken, some wrap/noddles, some peppers etc.

I do struggle with snacks, as most ones you can buy are very high sugar, even if it's natural sugar. We usually reach for fruit/veggies or cubes of cheese, but I'm always looking for new ideas.

misskatamari Sat 06-Apr-19 08:29:55

Another things we're finding great is getting the kids involved in growing our own fruit and vegetables. They're so excited by it, and love eating what we grow

MakeTeaNotWar Sat 06-Apr-19 11:18:00

Mine would eat crap all day if they could and sometimes it's easier to just say yes. But they also like to snack on cucumber and sugar snap peas. I just don't buy sweets and biscuits so if it's not there, they can't pester for it!

Good0mens Sat 06-Apr-19 15:50:54

Smoothies for breakfast are a great way to sneak in vitamins and supplements such as flaxseed. You can also put green veg in there with some sweeter fruits and it still tastes good.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Sat 06-Apr-19 15:52:13

What’s wrong with plain yoghurt? I love the plain stuff - flavoured usually has sugar in it.

Cupcakeicecream Sat 06-Apr-19 19:16:27

Best tips I used we let the kids eat the same things as you dont feed them separate food. They like to feel included and copy us.they will learn to eat if everyone has the same. Dont mash up all food to a mush hard to distinguish. Have an array of colour and different texture food that kids can sample smell taste hold look at sensory discovery develops and helps their curiosity with food. Keep giving food they dont like taste changes as they develop, or if they get teeth they'll happily munch now that they can. Dont give a drink eith food it will fill them up and theh wont eat. Dont feed when tired they will be grouchy and refuse food.

Shocksandboooos Sat 06-Apr-19 19:23:57

Toddler ds’s favourite ‘threat’ at the moment is ‘biscuits’ made from a mashed banana mixed with oats and bakes until golden.

When weaning I was careful to offer a variety of foods and to keep giving something even when he didn’t seem to like it.
He eats a huge variety now but I do think that a big part of it is luck. He also loves to get involved with the cooking.

janekirk Sat 06-Apr-19 21:39:10

Always lead by example by eating an extensive range of fruit and vegetables, and never make a fuss when they turn their noses up at something.

cornflakes5 Sat 06-Apr-19 22:12:10

Hiding vegetables in pasta sauces works - sometimes!

tobypercy Sat 06-Apr-19 23:20:52

as my DS gets older and more picky, I find it helps to involve him in the menu planning and the cooking. If he helped cook it, he's much more likely to eat it.

Theimpossiblegirl Sat 06-Apr-19 23:31:05

My top to is to not follow every meal with something sweet. It is not necessary and sets up bad habits.

lillypopdaisyduke Sun 07-Apr-19 09:00:14

my tip for weaning would be to don't rush, stay calm, it's a learning curve for you and baby, the introduction of new textures and tastes is a big step for little palettes. I used pureed sweet potato, mashed banana with formula, and very small amounts until baby starts to enjoy food and stops to wonder what this strange substance is in their mouth.

Montydoo Sun 07-Apr-19 09:19:17

Weaning tips I would give to mums of toddlers would be to try new foods, avoid strong flavours (citrus, and parsnips) and do not use stock cubes to make foods more 'liquid' the salt levels are too high. I offered toast with butter, slices of yellow pepper and I ate the same and showed the chewing motion helping my DS to copy the technique, we had a couple of gags but they soon learned, and went on to carrot sticks, and apple which was cut up. Its an intimate process, and observation and patience is needed.

NeverTwerkNaked Sun 07-Apr-19 16:10:49

Weaning: get them eating the same foods we do, it encouraged all of us to eat really healthily

Food shop: we shop online, this stops any temptation to impulse buy junk.

Family meal times: we have one child with ASD (and associated sensory issues with food)and one with severe allergies that have caused severe food phobias. My approach is to have a spread of healthy food always available. The two children that eat anything will tuck into it all, and the other two are slowly becoming more adventurous. I make sure the basic meal is healthy and something they can all eat, and then there are extra veg etc that they can select if they want it.

Yoozanaim Sun 07-Apr-19 17:02:05

We are vegan - it's really that simple. Dairy is horrifically bad for you. Cut that and meat out, limit other junk, and you are good. We are not purists - my children are allowed treats like vegan cakes and vegan ice cream occasionally - but they were weaned on vegetables and fruit, and continue to eat vegetables and fruit.

munchbunch12 Sun 07-Apr-19 17:18:02

I've been quite lucky with mine, fortunately they liked most things, just not more bitter veg such as kale. We'd still get them to eat a bit, but just to have it on the same spoon/fork as something they like, eg carrot or mash.

Ren1974 Sun 07-Apr-19 20:13:33

My children are now 11 and 7 and have very different eating habits.

When they were babies it was easy to get them to eat healthily as they had good appetites and would eat whatever I gave them, but when they were toddlers they started to "go off" fruit and vegetables so I had to be more sneaky!

One of the tricks was mashing broccoli and carrots into their sweet potato (my 7 year old daughter still has this now on her roast dinners).

My son stayed fussy for a while until he started to have school dinners where he tried food he would never try for me at home.

As he got older he became very sporty and aware that he has to eat healthily to be competitive. Yes he loves fast food and pizzas but he knows these are a treat and most of his meals consist of lean meat, veg and rice or a jacket potato.

My daughter is a bit more difficult to feed nutritiously as she is a very fussy eater. She would live on chicken nuggets, hot dog sausages, pasta and rice.

She is becoming sporty too and aware that she should be eating healthy so she will eat a plain meal of chicken breast, rice and veg (although her dramatic performance when eating the broccoli is worthy of a Oscar!).

Letting her cook with me helps too, if she has chopped the carrots she is more likely to eat them.

Another thing she has started doing (her idea) is writing a menu for her dinner. She picks one protein item, one carb and 3 vegetables.

They have a sweet treat after dinner which can be a yoghurt or small chocolate bar like a Kinder. They also have a Macdonalds or Burger King, 2 or three times a month and I let them have sweets etc at parties or on days out as denying them completely could effect their relationship with food.

Even though they are aware of what is good/bad for you, they do ask for treats such as crisps and chocolate, especially when we are sat watching TV together in the evenings. They declare "I'm hungry ", but when I suggest they have some fruit they make excuses. (I get it to be honest, I often need that Kit Kat instead of an apple so why wouldn't they!)

I have therefore started making sugar free jelly with raspberries, mandarins or grapes for these occasions or if we are out of jelly, they will have a handful of sultanas.

We talk openly about food and nutrition and the children are aware of what each food group does for your body. I have always put the focus on what healthy/unhealthy foods do for the inside of our bodies rather than making an issue of the outside signs of unhealthy eating such an weight problems.

ThenBellaDidSomethingVeryKind Sun 07-Apr-19 20:18:10

I offer berries instead of fruit. Seems to work!

RomaineCalm Sun 07-Apr-19 20:24:15

I would suggest starting as you mean to go on. For DC that meant that we specifically asked that they didn't have puddings at nursery and were offered fruit or yogurt instead. Milk or water to drink. Snacks were veg, fruit, breadsticks, cheese cubes etc. We didn't really do things like nuggets, smiley faces, cheap sausages etc. that all seem to feature on children's menus.

It's harder now that DC are older but fizzy drinks, sweets, biscuits, crisps are all allowed but not unlimited. DC will ask for 'treats' (and are rarely refused) but know that these are as part of a generally healthy diet. They will often have pudding as part of school dinners but are just as likely to choose the fruit/yogurt option.

We're not perfect but hope that by discussing different food choices now and not banning anything we are helping DC to be able to make healthier choices as they get older.

Pushpull Sun 07-Apr-19 21:25:49

We try to model good eating at home with no foods being labelled good or bad. Its more about trying to eat a variety.

With the older DC when shopping I try to encourage them to try new things, particularly fruit and veg. We also browse cook books to try new meals and are positive about giving things a go.

GrumpySprout Sun 07-Apr-19 22:54:07

When it comes to weaning, if a child is breastfed- substituting normal milk for breast milk can help with the transition whilst also introducing new healthy foods, for example using BM in porridge or blending BM with bananas to make purée.

Bumblebeans Mon 08-Apr-19 05:56:18

Always put veg on her plate, no matter what the dinner.
Pudding isn't an everyday thing, usually only weekends.

claza93 Mon 08-Apr-19 06:51:46

I am currently in the middle of weaning baby number 5, it is so much easier this time round. I offer him everything and he will give it a go. He is a great eater so that really helps smile He seems to love finger food and will eat whatever the bigger ones eat - even spicy food!!!
We always try to have a lot of fruit in the house and encourage the children to eat a couple of pieces a day!
I also do not but sugared cereals - the kids aren't happy but tough haha!

lovemyflipflops Mon 08-Apr-19 09:07:06

Weaning:

What are your tips for weaning your child onto healthy food? - gentle flavours, small amounts, don't offer before 6 months

Do you find that your child prefers sweeter foods or more varied flavours? I offered carrot and sweet potato puree, then went on to mashed nectarine, banana and peach with a little fromage frais, which worked well

*Doing the weekly food shop*:
Do you find it easy to find healthy snacks for your child? Some supermarkets yet - but do not like the tempting chocolate which is stored at the checkout area

Do you find nutrients labels on foods in supermarkets are clear? No they are too small - there needs to be a better colour coding for children's palettes

*Meal times*:
Do you have any favourite healthy tips or recipes that work for your family?

sweet potato mash shepherds pie (fine mince boiled with a chopped red pepper, can of tomatoes, finely chopped onion(

What are your favourite healthy swaps?

beef mince for quorn mince - they cannot tell the difference, and it's easy to digest.

alwaysinleggings Mon 08-Apr-19 13:24:44

I have made many food swaps, we particularly love small bell peppers with soft cheese dips. But I WISH supermarkets would stop having sweets crisps and pop at the checkout. When I weaned my DS and DD it was different both times with DS taking to puree much quicker at 6 months, than DS who was 8 months before finally accepting a denser food.

toomanyflatwhites Mon 08-Apr-19 13:37:57

My daughter is almost 3 and we make sure we all sit at the table to eat together for every meal, and she eats the same as us. As a consequence of this she eats a really broad range of foods and some of her favourite things are probably considered quite odd for a toddler (olives, chorizo,walnuts, artichokes...!). Of course she also likes and asks for snacks and sweet things but we tend to not have too many unhealthy snacks in the house - and we certainly don't go down the "kids menu" route of fishfingers & chips every night. There's nothing wrong with that in moderation but I wouldn't feel good if I ate that every night so the same applies to her!
She eats well at nursery so sometimes she just wants yoghurt at dinner time and a few things off our plates and that's fine by me as I know she's had plenty of veg and fruit during the day. It's all about balance though!

danigrace Mon 08-Apr-19 15:04:56

Don't give up offering food if your LO refuses it a few times, it can take many many attempts before they will even try it. And some of the foods my toddler didn't want anywhere near his tray are now favourites!

itsabongthing Mon 08-Apr-19 15:57:39

- don’t offer things in the first place. I know that it can be really difficult having a fussy eater eg. A child who will only eat chicken nuggets & chips - but I also think if they hadn’t been given it in the first place it wouldn’t have got to that position.

- don’t make a big deal of it

- model eating a healthy and varied diet

- their tastes change all the time, don’t assume if they haven’t liked something once that’s it!

StickChildNumberTwo Mon 08-Apr-19 16:12:27

We all eat the same food and always have done - I realise I'm fortunate that my kids aren't horribly fussy, but I think it also helps that they know that if they don't eat what's in front of them there's no alternative (unless the curry turned out spicier than planned in which case they can fill up on toast!) Our diets could no doubt be healthier (we could always eat more veg although I try and make sure there's a good amount in every dinner), but they're not awful. The kids do get processed/junk food sometimes but usually if we're out or as a treat.

Realitea Mon 08-Apr-19 18:12:57

I have only quite recently become a sensible healthy eater myself and I think I made my daughter like the sugary foods and junk food by offering to her in the first place and having it in the house because that's what I lived on.
I feel really bad about it but it's never too late to change and that's what I've done.
I cook everything from scratch and by joining a slimming club, I've learned a lot about how to make healthier choices by simply swapping ingredients or cooking them differently. It's been a lot easier with my dc's than I thought. The older child prefers it and dd is eating it all. Success!
My daughter loves pasta and curries so I've added more vegetables in to the sauces and just sneaked stuff in more, mainly grin

Nameusernameuser Mon 08-Apr-19 21:16:26

With weaning I offered vegetables before the sweet fruit stuff, waited until my son loved those then introduced sweeter stuff. Mostly though, I don't buy rubbish food, and I don't offer it either. Snacks are tomatoes, pepper, hummus and pitta, and fruit. Meal times are fish and veg or meat and veg, don't give processed foods at all. He loves homemade curries, basically veg and tinned tomatoes with lots of different seasonings. Basically everything me and DP eat, I can't afford processed stuff so eat a lot of tinned tomatoes/chickpeas/curries etc.

Quietvoiceplease Tue 09-Apr-19 06:58:23

My approach has been to offer my DDs as much variety as possible of healthy food, eat as a family. Never allow someone to say they don't like something if they haven't tried it. The main one though is to cook from scratch: bulk cook family meals (I work 4 days a week, so am not blessed with lots of time, but it can be found): bulk cook meals and put in the freezer, your slow cooker will become your best friend. Also, allow treats, sometimes, after meals. Ban them and they become the forbidden fruit. Oh, and reduce the amount of snacks and chocolate in the house, because you your teenagers will always find it.

buckley1983 Tue 09-Apr-19 21:54:14

Speaking as a sugar addict (although working on this) - it's so important to be aware of how much sugar is added to processed foods - honestly, foods that you wouldn't even think have sugar in - like mayonnaise!
It pains me to say it - but, as others have said, the only way to be absolutely certain what you & your family are eating is to make all meals from scratch.
My son has a massive sweet tooth & I really worry about it. We have lots of healthy options at home - plenty of fruit & veg (which he loves, thank goodness!) but he will always be hunting for something sweet.
I'm loathe to try & ban it altogether as I think this will just make him want it more & then gorge on it when it is available.
We love shopping together & he loves picking the fruit & veg. I find it easy to know what to buy & what to avoid, but those sugary treats are always whispering my name!

Slippiepippie Tue 09-Apr-19 22:05:46

If they dont have sugar they dont crave it.

I bake low sugar treats like scones and sweet potato flapjacks.

I hide veg in their spaghetti sauces by whizzing it up first.

Join the discussion

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

Get started »