Sometimes as a parent you can do everything ‘right’ – eat the right stuff in pregnancy, breastfeed your newborn, go through a dozen new carpets thanks to the joys of baby led weaning – and still, your four year old prefers pasta with cheese over the sashimi she guzzled down happily while weaning. It’s a challenge I’m sure even the best organic-food-feeding parents face sometimes, so here are a few ideas for introducing – or reintroducing – a variety of foods to our ever changing offspring!
My small one loves pasta – so Italian classics like lasagne are great to batch cook when you have a spare afternoon, then they can be frozen down in portions and cooked for a quick but healthy dinner on busy weekday evenings. This recipe by Mary Berry might seem like it has a lot of preparation, but honestly, the majority is just waiting time while the lasagne sets. Lasagne is a great way to incorporate some hidden vegetables into your child’s diet too, add chopped onions and peppers to the tomatoes and they’ll be getting a tasty and secretly nutritious meal that they’ll love.
Fajitas make a great family dinner because once the meat’s been cooked you can let everyone dive in and help themselves. These mild fajitas are perfect for all the family because they’re not too spicy, although you could always spice yours up a bit should you wish.
Being able to choose their own food makes meal time a little more interactive and makes them feel like they have a bit of control, which makes meal time a little more fun too, so they’ll love that. Fajitas are a great way to allow them to get their hands dirty and customise their own dish.
A weekend curry is a tradition in many British households but it’s probably one of the most difficult dishes to get kids to try. Spicy dishes are certainly something to steer clear of but this child-friendly Jamie Oliver curry is perfect for all the family. It even gives you advice on how to alter for babies or young toddlers. You could cook a few snacks like chicken satay or samosas on the side as kids love to pick at food and these are great nibbles.
If you don’t have a lot of spare time on your hands, then cooking something from scratch that your child ends up disliking can be incredibly disheartening – especially if it’s something they LOVED.JUST.YESTERDAY! When my kids were small, not offering a made-from-scratch meal made me feel so guilty. But, I’ve come to realise that that’s an expectation placed just on me, by me. There’s nothing wrong with a meal out, or a takeaway!
As I said before, kids love it when meal times are exciting and a takeaway will certainly tick this box. Get them involved in everything, even the ordering, and they’ll have a sense of ownership over their food which will hopefully help them eat more! Not only can they browse an app and select their own dish from the menu, the excitement will build as they wait for the food to arrive too. Takeaway apps have many different cuisines so if you’re stuck for choice then these dishes are great for kids.
From the Indian, try something mild and creamy like a korma and add in a flavoured naan to introduce them to some amazing seasonings. From the Chinese, again think mild with a chow mein or lemon chicken and add in something like a vegetable spring roll for a fun, handheld food they can nibble on.
Sushi is also a great option if you’re looking for something healthy – you don’t need to go for raw fish, instead opt for vegetable or tuna options. Again these are fun to pick up and dip as well as getting some sneaky vegetables in. Whatever your preference, you can find your local takeaway restaurants here if you’re on the mainland (it’s a bit more difficult for us!) and you’re sure to find something you and the kids will love.