The second in the Nourishing With Food series – this week coming to you from Jacinta from Retro Mumma. Jacinta writes about Toddler Tapas. Brilliant way to feed a toddler. I concur.
My two year old son Charlie is a bit funny when it comes to food.
He will eat carrot, meat, mashed potatoes and cheese separately but not if they are mixed together in a meal like Shepard’s pie.
He will eat a whole carrot in one sitting if I cut it into little strips and give him two bits at a time but he won’t eat it if I cut it into strips and put it all on his plate.
Charlie is a a lot like me – headstrong and stubborn. I can get him to do anything or eat anything, as long as he thinks it is his idea.
If I try to get Charlie to try a new food by putting it on his plate or saying to him: “Look Charlie, this is an egg. It’s yummy. You try it,” he will just shake his head and push his plate away.
The more I try to push it, the harder he will stick his feet in.
I think, with kids, you have got to choose your battles, and I refuse to battle it out every night at the dinner table.
So, to get him to try something new, I do “Toddler Tapas” for dinner.
I’ll put out a little bit of this and a little bit of that and he can choose what he wants to put on his plate and eat.
He feels like he is in control and is choosing to try a new food because he wants to, not because Mum wants him to.
I make sure his options are healthy or healthy, and I don’t put a plate of fruit out, because otherwise he would probably just eat the fruit, and nothing else.
Charlie’s favourite vegetables are carrot and cucumber so I’ll cut up a plate of each, and then put out something he usually doesn’t like to eat, like tomato.
Then, I’ll toast some bread, and while it’s still warm, place cheese on top, which I then cut up into little pieces. I’ll serve it on a plate with a little bit of dried sultana and apricot.
I change the combinations, but essentially what I aim for is at least one serve from each food group.
It’s a very relaxed and fun way to eat dinner and it takes me hardly any time at all to put together, because the meat I use is leftovers from the night before.
To get Charlie to eat something he doesn’t usually eat, like tomato, I’ll make mini sandwiches with what’s on the table. I’ll get a bit of the toast, cheese, corned beef and then the tomato and eat it in front of him. Usually, whatever I’m eating he wants to eat. It’s interactive, and playful.
If he doesn’t like it, that’s fine – at least he has tried it.
For dessert, we have fruit salad frozen yoghurt. Just natural yoghurt mixed with fruit, like raspberries and blueberries, frozen in moulds.
I’m addicted to baking and trying out new recipes.
I try and live my life by Princess Diana’s saying “Carry out random acts of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”
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