How to Cater for Fussy Eaters at Christmasby Jenny Lord
Have you got a kid that only eats beige food? Well, you’re not alone. Nuggets and chips are always in my freezer, pasta and cheese is a go to and one of my youngest’s first word was ‘chips.’ Now I’ve had three children, I can safely say they do get less fussy naturally as they get older. Keep eating together and offering new foods, but don’t force it. That never works. If they don’t like one vegetable, leave it and try a different one. Veg that works for our kids are:
- Tinned sweetcorn
- Fresh and frozen green beans
- Sugar snap peas
- Peas (2/3 kids)
- Carrots, both raw and cooked
- Baby corn
- Corn on the cob
- Cauliflower (cheese)
- Savoy cabbage
I know I’ve listed sweetcorn three different ways, but it’s so versatile and I think most kids like it. If they are really anti veg try serving a salad with meals like cucumber, peppers, raw carrots. Hummus with carrots increases the veg count I find (I sound very middle class saying that, but hummus is great). If all else fails remember fruit and veg share a lot of the same vitamins, so if they really won’t eat any veg give them some fruit for pudding. Experiment with different fruits to see what they like. Cutting up fruit ready to eat somehow makes it more palatable.
But what about Christmas dinner?
OK, so we’ve established some basics that they like. What about Christmas dinner? Now, this all depends on who’s cooking and what’s expected. If you’re at home and it’s just you and the kids – give them what they like! It’s their Christmas day too. For ages, my youngest just wanted meat, gravy and potatoes for his roast (plus a Yorkshire pudding if it was going) and maybe the odd carrot. Fine by me. He eats a balanced diet overall, and he’ll expand it when he’s ready. A child’s diet should be looked at over a few days or even a week, if they are getting a balance over the week, the odd day without veg won’t hurt.
Depending on their age, don’t force them to sit for ages at the table either. It’s up to you whether you have the TV on or not, it’s your house your rules.
If you’re going to the in-laws or somewhere else that makes you nervous, here are some tips to get through it.
The cracker will play an important part. Think about the contents of the cracker – make sure it contains something that might entertain them for a minute or two to buy you time. Play some games at the table or tell jokes. Involve the children in the conversation and affection. When they’ve really had enough maybe it’s nap time, playtime, TV time or tablet time. Let them go and if you must, take turns in entertaining them.
With the food:
- Try and get them to serve themselves, they are more likely to eat what they dish out
- If they can’t serve themselves, make them up a small plate of food you think they’ll like, they can always have seconds. A small plate will be more achievable and if they finish that your relatives will be impressed
- Don’t force them to eat what they don’t like
- Let them eat off your plate instead of making them a plate
- Nod and smile
- Don’t resort to snacks or food you’ve brought from home. Leave it until later
How to make brussels sprouts more appetising
I love brussels sprouts and one of my children loves them too. The other one tolerates them and the youngest doesn’t like them. You could parboil them and then fry them with bacon or pancetta, it makes a difference, especially if you slice them rather than leaving them as little balls. There are all sorts of recipes you can find to jazz up your sprouts, but I think just make them how you like them or if no one likes them just leave them out! We always do them with chestnuts and they’re lovely.
As you can tell, I’m pretty relaxed around Christmas eating. For me, it’s all about family and being together, plus the food. The leftovers are the best part after all. Have a lovely Christmas!