By Andrea Pavee
Many, many moons ago, when my children were young rompers, feeding times were epic challenges of their minds over my matter, since all of them were finicky and fussy eaters.
The silver lining to this was their love of milk, which they guzzled to satisfaction. At least they were getting the nutrition they needed, after our battle of wills.
Once they bypassed toddler-hood, they were eating us out of house and home. (Yes Mums, there is still hope!)
One day, many years later, I chanced upon an article replete with advice on feeding little tykes, the French way. Intrigued, I read on to discover that French parents do not prepare, special or separate meals for their children. Rather, everyone eats the same food.
If the child was too young, the food would either be pureed or cut into smaller, more manageable pieces. And, as much as possible, young ones were expected to feed themselves at table together with their parents.
That was a good teaching moment for me.
In our own neck of the woods, it may not always be possible to expect children to eat what we do, (I am thinking of fiery hot curries, and spicy soups). However, there are still a few things we could incorporate at mealtimes.
Firstly, a family that eats together, stays together.
Secondly, all meals should be had at table. It is easier to distract children with toys or the telly at mealtimes, but they lose out on quality bonding time, and the chance to talk to each other, together.
Thirdly, get creative. When food is presented well, it whets the appetite, and entices taste buds. Carrots cut into stars, broccoli florets masquerading as bushes, or fried eggs and sausages made into smiley faces, are some ideas which you can add into your repertoire.
Finally, toddlers are not big eaters so pepper their day with healthy snacks. Julienned carrot sticks are sweet and yummy. Alternate it with baby carrots, seedless grapes or baby zucchini, for a nice crunchy snack.
If you have some time on hand, steam and bag broccoli florets, baby corn, or corn on the cob. Alternate them with rusks, plain biscuits or animal crackers for variety.
For special occasions or during playdates, consider serving Ants on a Log. They are easy to make and delicious, for everyone at home.
Ants on a Log
1 celery stick
1 bottle of peanut butter, preferably one with no added sugar and salt
1 tub of raisins
Cut the celery into 3-inch “logs”. Daube with peanut butter and decorate with raisins.
If your toddler finds celery overpowering and unpalatable, feel free to switch to carrots, baby zucchini or even apple slices.
For those with nut allergies, substitute nut butter with cream cheese, honey, or jam.
Choose jams with no added sugar like St Dalfour’s which is a personal favourite. Since it comes in many varieties, there is so much more to choose from, with something for even the fussiest of toddlers.
Posted by Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 19 March 2021