14 Aug How Our kids eat
Before we were parents, Jon and I had a lot of idiotic opinions about how to raise kids.
‘They’re just going to have to slot into our lives’
‘I grew up without a tv or lot’s of toys so we won’t have a tv and all our toys will be made of wood.’
‘They’ll have to eat vegetables because we won’t offer them the option not to.’
Ha fucking ha.
Five years later and we are the slaves to two small people with a voracious appetite for TV and Lego and little to no appetite for fruit and vegetables.
But Jon and I are clinging on to what we can. Our favourite way of spending time at home is to cook, set the table and spend a good two hours over a simple lunch or supper. So we compromise. We make a variety of food to ensure there is always something for everyone. Jon and I are mostly vegetarian (we eat fish once in a blue moon), we drink plant milk and try and limit our cheese, but we do eat eggs. We have offered the boys the option of meat but they have so far refused. We try and limit sugar, but they probably have it in some form each day, even if it’s just a ton of honey on corn cakes.
Last week we made a meal of:
- roasted courgettes
- smashed roast potatoes
- tomato, mozzarella and aubergine fritters
- plain steamed green beans
- fish fingers.
The boys ate: smashed roast potatoes, fish fingers and half a green bean each (I consider this a success).
We ate: everything else (all recipes will be on the blog tomorrow).
This means we can sit at the table and eat together, the boys get used to seeing food that isn’t permanently beige and maybe one day they might be tempted to try something other than a quorn nugget. We try and incorporate foods we know they like with each meal, such as avocado, boiled eggs, salmon, broccoli and green beans. They won’t eat a lot of it, but it’s an option to add to whichever carb we have.
We try and get the boys to help out by peeling carrots, grating cheese and we’ve just bought a pasta maker to try and get them involved in creative cooking (this one was around £25 and isn’t huge so fits in the cupboard easily).
To give some structure but also space for spontaneity (ie pasta pesto), we have assigned food to a few different days.
Monday nights are fish and chips: I want them to learn to celebrate the start of the week as well as the end of the week
Wednesdays will now be home made pasta: we can experiment with cooking as play and making different types of pesto
Fridays are pizza and film night: we blend a load of courgette and peppers into a tomato sauce which they are none the wiser about.
Sundays we have a quorn roast with vegetables followed by Sunday Wish Candles.
Each is a ritual in it’s own way, and each contains some kind of nutritious and emotional/creative benefit.
Most mealtimes involve a lot of bargaining, telling the boys to sit still otherwise they’ll tip their water over (this inevitably happens every bloody time), gritting our teeth and trying not to make a big deal out of what they refuse to eat.
I find comfort in knowing that my favourite food as a child was plain spaghetti and now I cannot get enough of vegetables, spices and strong flavours. As long as we continue to expose them to a wide variety of food, I feel confident that they will find their way to more adventurous eating.