Once upon a time, well, a couple of years ago, I would have said my then 8 year old was a fussy eater. She would only eat things in breadcrumbs or other plain and boring, beige food. She would eat spaghetti bolognese every so often but it would be pot luck if she ate either the pasta or the bolognese as she never seemed to like both parts at any one time.
It was a complete nightmare and I used to have to base my meals around what she would eat, which usually meant it would be something not very healthy. I blame myself (and her Dad) for this as I was a lazy cook! My idea of cooking from fresh was opening a jar of Dolmio and maybe adding some chopped onion to the mince before adding the jar of sauce, it was poor. I never really got taught how to cook and when I left home I couldn’t even crack an egg properly so that tells you everything about my previous cooking skills. Over the years I slowly taught myself a few recipes but I never really enjoyed cooking, it was just another chore but since starting Slimming World in January 2016 I found a new love for it and cooking from fresh now means just that! I have seen my love for food slowly rub off on my daughter too though.
She started off just by helping stir sauces and that slowly led to her frying off onions and chicken while I added other things to the pan. In the last couple of weeks, these little skills that she has learnt have led to her cooking dinners for the family by herself (supervised by myself of course).
It’s amazing how something as simple as letting her help me cook has changed her attitude to food completely. She has tried so many different foods now and will eat pretty much anything that is put in front of her. I would never have thought I would be eating a curry with my little family, that used to be something reserved for Mr and I on a Friday night because “Little Miss wouldn’t eat that” but now it’s a weekly meal as it is a family favourite.
It’s a totally different story for my Mini Man though, he’s been eating Slimming World meals since he could eat whole food but he is a different kind of fussy eater. I can put a curry, chilli or bolognese in front of him and he will demolish the lot; veg, meat and carbs, if I was to put a roast dinner in front of him, it’s a different story. He won’t eat plain meat or veg for some reason but, will eat raw veg straight off my chopping board. I have found that it really does seem to make a difference to what kids will eat if they are involved in making it. Tonight I got them to make their own pitta bread pizzas.
Mini Man is 19 months old and thoroughly enjoyed helping to make his pizza, he was eating the toppings as they went on but I’m not going to worry about him eating a bit of extra cheese and pepper. When I dished them up I explained to him that “this is what you made” and he honestly looked quite proud of himself as he tucked in. He ate the whole thing as well as a few homemade chips and it’s all healthy!
In future I am going to make a conscious effort to involve my kids more in the preparation of their meals. They both enjoy helping and the extra set or two of hands is always helpful to me (even if they are pinching the diced vegetables as you’re doing them). I want them to have a healthy relationship with food and what better way of teaching them through making it themselves