carrot chewing

this is how I picture my child

I know what kind of parent I’m going to be. I have it all planned out. I will be one of those idyllic mothers who sings in the kitchen, wears aprons even when she’s not baking, is never too busy to play with lego and reads stories like they do on cbeebies. And most of all i will feed my children healthy, nutritious food, full of multi coloured vegetables, homemade soups and steamed fish. Sigh. I have not let the fact that I am an incredibly busy self-employed woman who can’t sing for toffee and doesn’t even own an apron get in the way of this wondrous image I have created.

Until today.

Today I have spent the afternoon watching the tortured face of my friend try to feed lunch to her very gorgeous, very wilful 18month old girl. She starts with meat balls. These are picked up, smeared across the table and then dumped on the floor. One made it into the mouth and stayed there for about 20 mins. Then there are the peas which are flatly ignored. Then yogurt. The spoon is pushed away again and again until the little mouth gives in and some strawberry goo makes it in and sits with the half chewed meat ball. My friend looks at me and pleads ‘how do I get her to eat well?!’

This hadn’t occurred to me. I had planned so beautifully the mother I was going to be, I had completely forgotten to plan the child I needed to go with it! I look at my friend blankly and answer ‘I have no idea’. Me. The Nutritionist. The passionate, healthy one who has food advice for anyone who wants to listen. I don’t have an answer for this.

So I check out google.

Heres a nice suggestion – Create a food collage. Use broccoli florets for trees, carrots and celery for flowers, cauliflower for clouds, and a yellow squash for a sun. Then eat the masterpiece.

I wonder if that would actually work.

Try to focus on the sweeter ‘good for you’ foods, like strawberries, mandarin oranges, cherries, tomatoes, sweet peas, and corn.

Again a nice suggestion and one thats relatively easy to follow especially in the warmer months when fruit is that much tastier. As a nutritionist I would add the darker fruits are preferable, rich in betacarotene (Vitamin A) and not so high in sugar.

Apparently children who do not like cooked vegetables may prefer raw vegetables with a dip and like it if they are arranged into some weird smiley face. Or if they won’t eat, get them to drink and make a juice instead.

Its my turn to cook tonight. I may try these tricks on the 18month old, see what happens. If any of you mothers have other ideas up your sleeve please comment. I fear that if I can’t crack the all important issue of tempting my child with a vegetable I might have to give up the apron dream all together.

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