Wednesday, 21 March 2018
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Autumn 2017

Keep Calm and Carry on Cooking

Rebecca Reid, local author and mum-of-four wonders what all the fuss is about when it comes to kids and faddy foods…

Is it just me or are we raising a generation of picky eaters? Children who won’t taste new things, who shy away from classic meals and have a two-stop menu that they stick to. 

I see it all too often. Mummies who are quite literally chained to the cooker, making three separate lunches, then four separate dinners. Who spend their waking moments worrying about how they’ll get their kid eating carrots or why they won’t eat dairy. If this is you, believe me, you are not alone. Far from it in fact and this is what’s worrying. 

My house has a one meal policy and a no qualms, don’t like it, don’t eat it. Yep, there is no pandering in my house. Does this make me harsh? I hope not. They eat what I eat (within reason) and if they don’t like it, it’s crackers and nothing more. But they aren’t allowed to just look at it and turn up their noses. Nor touch it to their mouth and yuckkkkk (with the appropriate face pulling of course). They must TRY it, PROPERLY. That means, at least two forkfuls before they push it aside. And they absolutely know what’s coming – cracker time – not hot, buttered toast (come on guys, that’s really nice) Nope, plain crackers. No pudding. No supper. Just bedtime and the dream of a lovely breakfast.

I don’t see this as unfair, or stingy on my part, but a way of guaranteeing that my kids give things a real chance. That they don’t just look at it and decide that it’s too green, or too squishy or quite simply not plain enough. That’s very easily done and if they get away with it, they will grow up with dull, unvaried palates. This way they try it and they’ll try it again next time too and keep on trying it a few more times until, usually after try six, they are beginning to like it or it’s a flat NO, in which case they don’t have to eat it next time and will get hot buttered toast instead (but this doesn’t really happen).

The world over, children eat what their parents eat. They eat the dishes of their country. Does this not prove that our children are a product of the foods around them? Of the eating habits they are exposed to? If my kids are brought up on hummus and crunchy pepper dippers from babies, then they won’t turn their noses up at them as teenagers and the same can be said for sweet potato soup or halloumi cheese. But if I give them pizza while we eat ricotta pasta then of course they’ll go on to potentially reject it. You see, I don’t believe in ‘adult foods’ or ‘adult flavours’. All I see is exciting new meals that can make dinner time a thing of fun and exploration… and why shouldn’t it be? Let’s try to turn things around for children, one meal at a time. 

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