Thursday, 15 September 2011

Food Glorious Food

Today I took back yet another book to the library containing a plethora of recipes that would supposedly tempt my children. 

I'd gone out bought the ingredients and ever so carefully and with love slaved over a stove in a bid to woo my children into the pleasant world of food appreciation. 

Reader, I was 50% Successful. Olivia has developed a fine love of food and 9 times out of 10 more than happily open her mouth to something new and adventurous. Alas I cannot say the same thing for Beau. It seems that he has an aversion to anything that isn't made of bread, has the texture of a crisp or the sweetness of a biscuit. We're OK with pasta as long as it's covered in tomato sauce and we can just about do cottage pie if it's mush. 

Beau's favourite food
The mush

Fromage Frais - a winner

I don't think it occurred to me just how difficult it would be to feed a child, well I say that but what I mean is to give them what you want them to eat.

It all seemed so simple when I read through the many Annabel Karmel books that I have renewed about 5 times on my library card. 

We started with bread as a finger food and that was a winner (well how could it not be!!) But then came the fruit and veg and it was as though we had rainbows floating in the kitchen as food flew off their trays and up into the air. It felt like we would be forever on baby mush and puree. No matter how appealing and alluring I tried to make things look (funny faces included) they weren't interested.

I'd read some where that if babies didn't start chewing food around six-eight months then their jaw muscles would not develop properly, so on top of the fact that I though my children would be mal-nourished they would also mute too (not so bad I hear you say).

Like most things that come with parenthood you think things are never going to change, but slowly and surely they do and suddenly they surprise you and do the thing that you thought would never be conquered. It's as though another bulb has gone on in their brain and messages are finally being transferred. "Try the food, try the food, it might be nice." or "use your legs, use your legs, it's quicker."

For me this change normally comes about after I have insisted to others that they are no where near making this change e.g. Being at a friends BBQ and telling them that Beau will never try anything he's given. My friend then offers him a bit of beefburger which he quite eagerly eats, followed by a few more. 

The battle, however, remains far from over with Beau, he hates any food that is green and if it's wet on his fingers, no chance, this pretty much rules out nourishing foods. So we've had to go down the old disguise it under a load of sauce route. He is a big fan of ham and would probably sit and a whole chicken given the opportunity.

Olivia on the other hand is proving to be a lot less difficult and devours most things she is given. Amongst her favourites are Blueberries, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts and strawberries.

One thing I am adamant I won't do is go down the play it safe and easy route of chicken nuggets and smiley faces. Of course they would probably happily eat those kind of foods but I want to make sure my kids eat a healthy range of food. I even felt guilty today because I tried them on tinned spaghetti, I don't eat that because it taste like anaemic tomato sauce and has a slightly weird after taste, so why on earth did I give it to my kids?  

However, having battled with Anorexia for most of my adult life, the responsibility of making sure my children eat well and grow up with a healthy attitude to food can be  really stressful. I sometimes worry though that maybe my issues with food will be transferred to my kids. It can be hard to try and think for them rather than think through me,  by that I mean how they eat is a reflection of how I eat. I don't want them to fear food like I have done in the past. We have to be careful because our children are actually so tuned in to their environment, our behaviour and our actions, this is of course how they come to structure and form their world, so I need to ensure that when it comes to decisions on their well being, I make will be the most valuable and beneficial for them rather than for me.

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