Besides breakfasts, dinners are of our favourite meals of our family. We talk, chatter and simply try to rest as we wind down. I would say we endeavour to eat as a family 3-4 times a week, with the rest hubby feeding him while I’m at the gym. Those nights are also appreciated though, as that means hubby and I usually have dinner together later while Asher eats earlier.
Seeing our little man eat is a joy to me. As such, I empathise with my friends whose children are currently struggling with food. Food is such a big part of our culture that when a child does not eat, the judgement can come fast and hard to the parents. How awful! It really ins’t helpful to say statements such as “why do other kids eat and yours don’t?”, “you have to discipline the child”, “why are you letting him eat just crackers and nothing else”.
The good news is that it could be a phase, and perhaps later on the child will discover it. Our role as parents is to be consistent and never give up.
On the other hand, friends ask how did we “train” Asher to be a good eater? I will be the first to say he has his good and bad days. The other week, he had gastro and all he wanted was crackers! He was also off meat for a little while, but would attack his vegetables with gusto. Right now, he refuses plain yogurt and cheese. However, he seems fine if we mix yogurt with avocado and pear to make a smoothie bowl for him, or have melted cheese over his stuffed sweet potato or in his scrambled eggs. Red meat is not his favourite but he will take fish and eggs anyday. Having said that, he would love my bacon meat loaf one night and refuse to have it on another.
As such, I do not think it is a matter of training, but a combination of factors that worked to our favour. I know that he will soon have his preferences (he has master the word “NO” very clearly), and might have his turn of being picky soon. I’m bracing myself for that.
Looking back, these are some things I did from the beginning that may or may not have contributed
– Having a wide variety of food/eating as clean as I can while I was pregnant
– Same as above while I was breastfeeding
– even when he was a baby, I ate and cooked clean snacks in front of him or with him in a carrier.
– His first solids was avocado with breastmilk. We stayed away from oatmeal. Avocado has a lot of good fat that is beneficial for little ones.
– I ate a lot of vege sticks in front of him. As such, one of his current favourite snacks is cucumber and capsicum sticks! We have photos of him grabbing it out of my hands when he was 9 months young.
– I do not have any other snack foods in the house. I do have some plain crackers.
– I limit pouch food (Only for travelling overseas) and packaged snacks for him.
– As early as we can, Asher has the same meals as we do.
– While occasionally he has a bite of cake or even some chocolate in a cookie, we have decided to delay letting him have a piece of chocolate or lollies. He is not even 2. I’m sure there are plenty of times that will happen in the future.
– No soft drinks or juices. I do give him a smoothie at times- but that’s because I wanted him to drink kefir. Otherwise, it’s plain milk and water.
– I try to bake or make his snacks as much as possible but lately, he has been rejecting my baking! All he prefers are fruits, crackers and vegetable sticks….. oh and my home made custard.
– Hubby involve him in the garden. Asher would help water our herb garden patch. He would also bring in some herbs for me to use.
We like to make zucchini noodles at home. I wish I have more time to make pesto. When I do though, It’s such a lovely addition to any meal. This pesto is special because not only did Asher and hubby planted the basil plant, Asher also helped me pluck the leaves and place them into the food processor. I remembered that as a bub, he was afraid of the food processor but now, he would happily watch it whirl away. The green is such a vibrant colour too. I made this batch with cashew nuts , lemon zest, juice, garlic and a small handful of parmesan cheese. Good quality olive oil is the key.