As a parent (first time at that) there are many rewards and many challenges I face on a daily basis! Biggest reward is creating this amazing being and seeing her grow and develop so quickly! And the challenges – so many to list- but one I think I share with many of you is “Am I creating healthy eating habits and providing a variety of enjoyable, nutritional food for my child?” I feel that my love of food, cooking and baking has helped me with this one and in turn, Freya has developed a love of all foods. As a-stay-home mum, I’m able to dedicate time to providing her with a variety of meals, keeping in mind nutritional value. Its gratifying to see Freya eat and enjoy her food.
Following are some tips that I have found work with food and mealtimes for little Freya :-
* Cook one meal for the whole family! Eating meals together is special time to share with your family (turning off the TV helps) and in my experience, our little tot copies everything her Pappa and I do, so whatever meal is on our plate, is on her plate. As a result, Freya (now 22 months) eats prawns, fennel, olives, vegetables, paella and pesto sauce in pasta to mention but a few.
* Don’t make a fuss if they don’t eat a meal you have prepared for them. And I don’t recommend you then cook something you know they will like (I believe this creates fussing eating!). By the time the next meal comes around they will be hungry enough to eat whatever is in front of them!
* When veggies are being pushed aside on the plate – try and cook them in another way! For example, grate zucchini and carrots and add them to fritters or burger patties, and add spinach with feta to make filo pastry triangles.
* I use terms everyday food and sometimes food. ‘Everyday food’ is fruits, veggies, meats, breads, nuts, muesli, etc. ‘Sometimes food’ is chocolate, ice cream, chips, etc. I often leave the ‘sometimes food’ for a family fun day out, or when I bake something on a Sunday, or when we go out for coffee, or for a special occasion – birthday party etc.
* Plan ahead – I like to plan a week’s menu, the weekend beforehand. This helps out with grocery shopping and planning when you would be able to cook or bake – helpful when time is limited!
To help with this final tip, I have provided you with a Kids Menu Plan for Spring! I like to keep in mind seasonal ingredients when planning meals. See here for Seasonal Ingredient Checklists.
The menu plan provided below covers breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner with optional dessert. The meals underlined indicate that a recipe has been provided. It is merely a suggestion guide and one that you can use as you like – and if anything, to give you a meal idea for a night when you’re stuck!!!! And don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have time to prepare all the meals suggested. Again, I have provided this to give you some ideas! Hope it does that! (Please note that this menu has not catered for intolerance’s to gluten, diary, nuts, eggs).
I will add Menu Plans for Summer in the weeks ahead so stay tuned!