Posted by Matt on 13 Mar 2011
I get asked a lot about how to get the variety into the diet of young children and i've written many times about how, in my opinion, giving your child a choice at an early age helps massively as they progress through life.
However, I also think that it is down to what is being said at feeding time and your overall attitude to food.
For me 'the first bite is with the eye' and regardless as to whether I'm cooking for adults or young babies I always try to make it look good, and I think this is part of the reason Luca (our first child) eats so well. Now I'm not saying you need to become a Michelin star chef, but by cooking from scratch and adding colour to either the puree or to the plate with a sprig of parsley, basil leaves or even tarragon, you'll be setting the scene for time to come.
Luca now, without question, eats his greens and many parents as how I get him to do this. Well. first it is not me, it is Luca, and from day one he has seen colour on his plate and so he's accepting of it. Second, I try never to speak in negatives to him. What I mean by this is that I don't make comments like 'You won't like this' or 'He/She doesn't like peas' or even 'If you eat those carrots. you can have dessert'. By doing this these little people pick up on the negatives and may start to see food as a negotiation.
As a parent, your overall desire to provide quality and natural taste along with value may be strong. And so, like me, cooking from scratch and knowing 100% what you're putting into your child's mouth should provide you with confidence, and allow you to explore and try new things, while always putting a positive approach to the new foods they will be trying. So simple, easy food with lots of natural colour and postives should at least put you in the right direction to getting the greener things in life inside your little one.
This article also featured in ABC , which is the local information magazine for parents in Kent, in their Spring issue. www.abcmag.co.uk Spring Issue #16