We have been blessed with a usually angelic child who just happens to turn into the son of the devil when meal time rolls around. Unless it’s made of potato, dripping in tomato sauce or contains the words “chicken” and “nugget” there’s No.Way.In.Hell it’s passing those lips.
I’ve had to come up with some very creative ways to dress up meals and have become a master at hiding fruit and vegetables. Through much trial and error we’ve come up with a few tried and tested tricks and that work with our fussy little eater:
- Slow Cook Meat. One of the biggest hurdles with our son was him not wanting/liking to chew chunks of meat (except for mince). The slow cooker has become my best friend and I slow cook many different cuts of meat until it’s melt in the mouth and he’s quite happy to devour it. Particular favourites have become beef or sausage casserole and corned beef.
- Hide the Vegetables. While he will eat potatoes until the cows come home, other vegetable varieties simply receive a turned up nose and a whiny, “But I don’t liiiiike it…” My favourite – and easiest - hide the vegetable trick is grating all manner of vegetables (carrot, zucchini etc) and adding to dishes like spaghetti bolognaise, taco mince, rissoles etc.
- Spruce up Fruit. Fruits cut into cubes and threaded onto kebab sticks, served with pots of yoghurt or custard for dipping are particular favourites in our household. Bananas and berries blended with milk to form smoothies is another.
- Make Them Own It. We found that our little fussy one was more likely to eat a dish if he was involved in the decision and preparation. Each night we give him two or three dinner options and let him choose and he will then help in the preparation (measuring ingredients, stirring, pouring sauces, setting the table etc).
- Eat Earlier. We recently brought dinner time forward by half an hour after finding that our fussy little eater was getting too tired and ratty which was just adding to the stress of meal time. The longer they have to wait for dinner, the bigger the chance that they’ll have lost their appetite by the time you’ve dished up – and when meal time is hard enough to cope with as it is, that’s the last thing you need!
From one parent of a fussy eater to another – hang in there, it gets better! Our little guy is becoming more adventurous with his eating and I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before he outgrows the fussy eating phase. Until then I’m employing the tricks above and would love to hear from you if you have any others that work in your home.