Introducing babies and small children to new foods can be both rewarding and frustrating in equal measures. I was lucky that both of my boys were brilliant eaters from the very beginning, however that doesn’t mean we don’t have battles about what I give them for their meals.
Like a lot of children, they seemed to have got pickier about food the older they get and the more aware of how powerful refusing food can be. As a general rule of thumb, the more effort I go to to cook a meal, the less likely they are to eat it. They’re not big fans of foods being mixed together either. Very suspicious creatures, children.
They know what they like, and they like what they know, as the old saying goes. However it’s amazing what they’ll eat at school or at other people’s houses. Curry being the prime example.
However having fun with food has got to be the key. If you get your kids to help you prepare a meal they’re far more likely to eat it. If you present a plate of food in a cute way, then it’s going to seem more appealing. Distraction is a powerful parenting technique!
In a new survey from Organix, mums rated the top two things to encourage a positive attitude towards food as making mealtimes fun for your child (76%) and allowing your child to play with and experiment with their food (75%).
Dr Frankie Phillips, Nutrition Advisor to Organix , says, “The introduction of finger foods can help to develop a little one’s sense of independence.”
Frankie goes on to explain that as well as encouraging self-feeding, independence and autonomy, finger foods come with lots of other benefits for little ones, like developing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, and improving dexterity.
The variety of colours, shapes and sizes of finger foods also gives little ones a range of sensory experiences.
So while our generation were firmly chastised for playing with our food, it seems that getting your hands on your meal is the way to get our little ones on course for a healthy approach to eating.
Do you ever make fun plates out of food? I have to say i’m quite keen on making faces out of the boys’ food to make them smile rather than whine about what i’ve made for them. I also try and make their plates more fun by separating the different foods and putting them in bright little pots.
Meals where kids have to construct their own plates like wraps, or topping their own pizzas are perfect for this as they can get their hands on the ingredients themselves.
For more advice on finger foods and recipes you can check out www.organix.com. You’ll find inspiration for different finger foods in the Organix Little Book of Weaning – you can sign up to download your free copy at www.organix.com/littlebookofweaning.
Disclosure: I have been commissioned by Organix to write this blog post. All views are my own.