Monday 29 April 2019

Fun Ways with Food for Fussy Eaters

You may already know that my children are picky eaters. It never used to be this way! They were both weaned on homecooked meals, but at the age of about 3 (for both of them) things changed! Cooking family meals became a fruitless, frustrating task and so much food was wasted! Fishfingers became my best friend, and the saviour of my sanity! Would my fussy eaters ever try new foods again?

My son, now almost 6, has been a bit better since having hot meals at school but if he gets a choice he'll pick the sandwich option or jacket, beans and cheese! My daughter has just started being picky, which came as a surprise because she's always been a good eater. She would eat sausage and mash every night if she could!

So mealtimes have become a new kind of adventure in my house! I'm not really sure why... maybe I've let them get their own way too often, or been too quick to just cook what I know they would eat. Sometimes this can end up being two different meals, or dinners with different accompaniments!

Anyway, I reached breaking point this week - almost 2 weeks into the school holidays, trying to placate two kids with different tastes, three meals a day, without losing the will to live (or cook...)! So, I had a rethink and pulled out a Gruffalo themed cook book I bought on a whim last year! The children were instantly excited as they love the Gruffalo stories so they picked a couple of recipes they liked the look of. Good start!

We planned to make the Swirly Snails together, a kind of bready pinwheel with different fillings - We used green pesto/tomato puree with cheese.

The kids liked rubbing the butter into the flour.
The children loved pouring in and mixing the ingredients, helping to make and roll out the dough then add their fillings. Their favourite bit was rolling up the snails and adding their eyes!

Spreading and sprinkling was fun!
We popped them in the oven and they hovered around in anticipation and excitement! Finally, the snails were ready to eat!

We rolled up the dough and sliced it into snails.
I tried my luck with a spinach and cucumber salad as the grass, and a sweetcorn (baked beans for my 3 year old!) sunshine. They certainly appreciated the fun presentation!

Swirly snails ready to eat!
The verdict: My daughter waded straight in, ate one of each flavoured snail, dipping them in her beans and having fun pulling their eyes off and eating them up! She point blank refused to try the cucumber but did dip spinach leaves in ketchup - yuck - and ate a couple!

We have a ketchup fan... not sure about this combo though!
My son was really proud of his efforts but he eats like a mouse so he'd barely eaten anything by the time my daughter had finished! This is one of the things that grates on my nerves - everything is stone cold by the time he gets through his food! Anyway, he liked the pesto ones but wouldn't even try the tomato ones - because he didn't make them!! Argh! He loves cheese and tomato pizza which I explained was practically the same but to no avail this time! He had a good go at the spinach (he didn't like it), but he did eat all the sweetcorn and cucumber. Yay for little victories!

So, a pretty good result in my opinion! They were both excited and proud to be eating something they cooked themselves, and they ate enough to fill them up! To me this is a successful mealtime and now we're planning what they can make next!

What tips and tricks do you have up your (apron) sleeves to get your fussy eaters to try new foods? I'd love to know in the comments below! It might give me some ideas! If you enjoyed our post, why not follow us on:

Finding joy in the little things: I like to end my posts (where it fits) with something that made me smile. I think it's so important to find happiness in the small moments, to appreciate the little things in life. It reminds us to be grateful, even if things didn't go our way or achieve the desired outcome.

Quite simply,  I was really happy that both my children threw themselves into cooking their own tea. They listened really well, tried very hard and enjoyed making their snails. My son even said he was proud of himself and he couldn't believe how good they looked! Okay, so they didn't eat everything but they tried most of it and ate enough to fill them up. To me, that is a step in the right direction!

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