Part 1 of a 3 part series on Paleo and Kids
I think it is safe to say I do obsess a bit over food, I think about what the family is going to eat a fair bit of the time, I menu plan (blog post to follow soon on how I do this), I research recipes, I research places to source food and because we are on a budget I check the latest specials and all of that before even cooking the food!
So I do spend a fair bit of time thinking about what to feed my 2 year old son (I am sure I am not the only one). Is it ok to feed him ‘typical” children’s food like vegemite sandwiches that I ate everyday as a child? If this food caused me issues later in life why should I subject him to eating non paleo foods and running the risk of future health issues? My philosophy on meal time is that I have always refused to cook a different meal for my son and a different meal for us. At times I have struggled with this but long term it has been better for the family eating the same foods together at the same time. This is our family ritual.
But like a typical 2 year old he is fussy and it’s hard to get him to eat at the best of times especially when he has discovered his sweet tooth and asks for party cake and lollies!
So apart from the approach of us all eating together I got him involved in cooking with me. We have Mondays at home together and we often make some lunch box snacks for the week. This has worked well with him trying different things as we are cooking (licking the bowl, eating what we have baked while it is still warm). We have the cookbook “Eat like a Dinosaur” which has great ideas for kids Paleo meals with easy instructions and how kids can help you in the kitchen – as an extra bonus my son just loves Dinosaurs! I find some of the recipes are a little unusual to our tastes and I sometimes modify them to suit us but the ideas are absolutely fantastic.
After all this I still had a problem with dinner time and in particular vegetables!
Enter a couple of interesting articles I read from the whole 9 a few weeks back (just in the nick of time):
The first article was interesting in that it gives 5 tips (based on scientific research) such as making the food visually appealing with lots of colour, how kids like to imitate (so making sure you are eating what’s on your plate) and repeated exposure to foods to name a few. This made sense but the second article they referenced really sounded like fun and we thought why not give it a go!
It talks about renaming normal food with catchy names that kids will like. I read it, I got excited I was about to serve dinner and oh no I needed a catchy name quick so salad became “Lion Salad” and chicken kebabs became “chicken on a stick”. I know great first effort Mum – not!! But guess what – to my surprise he thought Lion salad was so cool he ate it and roared like a lion after every bite. This was the first time I had seen him eat salad willingly! And well we all know kids love anything on stick so the chicken was eaten too.
Wow relief, an easy dinner.
I am not one to be lulled into a false sense of security so the next meal was carrots, cauliflower with cream and some marinated chicken. I had a little more time and we called this one “Cars Kapow Carrots and Cool Creamy Cauliflower + chicken on a stick”, It was colourful, it was repetitive (this time I cut up the chicken and put toothpicks in each piece) and it had a cool name. Again it worked! The next night we had been watching the movie “The Gruffalo” and steak and sweet potato bake became “Gruffalo Steak and scrambled snake potato bake”
“Cars Kapow Carrots and Cool Creamy Cauliflower + chicken on a stick”
Again it worked – was it really this easy all along? Since then meal time has been a lot easier with him trying the foods with the funny names. We do have the occasional set back – after all he is only 2 but on the whole a few simple tweaks at dinner and we are all enjoying meal time a lot more.
What successful strategies have you used in the past to get your kids to eat food? I would love to hear them.
Stay tuned: In my next blog post I will discuss my son’s absolute love of apple juice and how we used Kombucha to ease this sugar addiction before it got too out of control.