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Helping your children to eat better

So far my posts have been all about recipes (and mostly cakes … I can’t help it, they’re so yummy!), so I have taken the opportunity to share a brilliant guest post from Heather.  She has 8 tips to help your children eat better which sound really helpful, so I think they will be of use to other mums and dads too.

Why is it once our kids hit the 2’s they never want to eat the things you offer them? Sure as they get older their habits improve and they are willing to try more, but generally why does the sight of healthy, nutritious meals or even meat send them running?

It’s a strange phenomenon, but if you’ve got a picky eater in the family then you’ll be all too familiar withwhat I’m talking about.

Yet feeding your child well doesn’t have to feel impossible. Try any of the following tips and you’ll notice an improvement in their eating habits:

1.  Make the same for everyone – don’t get into the habit of making them something different. Instead try to offer them the same foods you’re eating – family style – so they can pick and choose what they want. You’ll soon notice that your child is mimicking what you eat.
2.  Introduce new foods slowly – whilst you want to broaden their tastes, too much too soon will make them rebel. Start subtly by adding it to a recipe and once they are familiar with it, give it to them on their own. Similarly don’t try to give them too many new foods at once. Allow them to get used to a taste, and then introduce another.
3.  Use a little hero worship – you’ll be surprised what they’ll eat if you tell them their favourite star or character eats them.
4.  Hold your tongue – hard I know, but don’t pressurise them to eat their fruit or vegetables as all this will do is make them have negative associations with the food.
5.  Take advantage of dips – if they won’t eat vegetables on their own, offer them a dip to dip it in to improve the flavour.
6.  Be creative – the more creative the meal, the more excited your kids will be to eat it. Giving healthy foods silly names as well, will make meal times more interesting.
7.  Don’t be afraid to give treats – less healthy food shouldn’t be treated like a forbidden food otherwise your kids will want them more. Instead make them a treat to be looked forward to.
8.  Be a role model – most of us are on a diet these days but this doesn’t always set good habits for our kids. Instead of following the latest fad, offer you and your whole family healthy balanced meals so you’re sending your kids the right message about food. 

Whether your child is refusing to eat meat or refuses to eat anything healthy, it is possible to broaden your kid’s taste buds and help them to take a better approach to food.

Simply give the above tips a try, and remember to be patient.

Thank you for reading, My name is Heather and I write about Food and Kids and how to bring the two together. I also look to make life easier by getting my meat from an online butcher and buying just about everything else online!

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‘5 a day’ burger

If your children (or grown ups!) are not keen on vegetables  – or even if they are – this is a winner of a recipe.

The burgers taste a little like falafels, which A and my husband love – so you could even adapt the recipe and make them in ball shapes as well as burger shapes.  A very versatile set of ingredients!

To me, when I see  the vegetables cooking in the pan (see pic below), I feel a bit sad that they’re going to be blended up and lose their vegetable-good-looks, but their delicious flavours are all still there, just mixed with other yummy ingredients.

This is based on a recipe from BBC Good Food website, here are the ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil

2 leeks, sliced

200g mushrooms, sliced

2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

1 tbsp cajun spices (or any spices you particularly like)

1 tbsp soy sauce

300g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

200g (about 4 slices) granary bread, torn into pieces

burger buns, lettuce, tomato and other burger favourites

 

Instructions:

1) Heat 1 tbsp oil in shallow saucepan/large frying pan on medium heat.

2) Tip in all vegetables, seasoning and soy sauce.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 mins until soft.

3) Tip into food processor with the kidney beans and bread, season, and blend to a thick paste.

4) With wet hands (otherwise you get sooooo sticky!), mould the mixture into burgers approx. 1.5cm (half an inch) thick and 6cm (2 inches).  If  you’re not cooking them straight away or have too many (as I always do!), they will keep in the fridge for 2 days or in the freezer stacked between greaseproof paper for 2 months.

5) To cook, heat oil in a frying pan and fry for 2-3 mins on each side until crispy.

The photo really doesn’t do them justice, but as I’m not a photographer for any well known burger selling establishments, I think I can get away with it.

I currently have a stack of these sitting in the freezer waiting for a day where I haven’t had time to prepare a meal from scratch, or just a lazy day!

They go well with potato wedges and taste great with some sweet chilli sauce on the burger.  This is one of the few meals A will eat every last morsel of and then try to finish off ours too if we’re not quick enough!

 

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