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Fussy eatersCreated by Charlotte in Feeding & Sleeping, Recipes
What’s the fuss?
Anyone with children will know that when it comes to eating, for sale fuss is often high on the menu. It’s not surprising, click then that we can lose heart when our children turn their noses up at anything with green bits in, order or when they will allow only plain pasta with grated cheese to pass their lips! But rest assured you’re not alone. In fact, 90 percent of children go through at least one lengthy stage of being fussy. And in a 2007 survey nearly 50 percent of parents said food is their children’s worst area of fussiness, coming well ahead of clothes, toys and even their hairstyles!
Children’s eating habits have changed dramatically in recent years. More than 25 percent of children in England are overweight and one in six 10 year olds is classed as obese. According to a 2007 report, 4 million people in the UK now suffer from malnutrition, as a direct result of eating more junk food. It doesn’t have to be like this for your children!
Try to make mealtimes a really positive experience. One of the most important things is to hide your frustration. Praise your child excessively when he or she eats well or tries something new. You may need to ignore some bad eating behaviour to refocus attention on good behaviour. This may make mealtimes less stressful for you, too.
Variety is the spice of life
Do not just stick to favourite meals offer a variety of healthy dishes and keep trying new recipes. Offering only the foods that your grandchild will eat can encourage extreme fussiness and may lead to a restricted and unbalanced diet.
A fear of new foods is known as neophobia. It generally develops at around 18 months and babies who would happily accept many foods suddenly become suspicious and reject anything unfamiliar.
If your grandchild has a very restricted diet, it is best to give new foods when she is really hungry. Try to encourage her to eat just a small amount and give lots of attention and praise if she is willing to try it. If she still refuses to eat it, maybe mix it together with something your child likes. For example, if your grandchild likes pasta but won’t eat vegetables, try making a lasagne with spinach.
Favourite Fussy Eaters Recipes
Mini Muffin Pizza from ‘New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner’
Its easy to make your own ‘Healthy Fast Food’ like this mini pizza which uses split toasted muffins for the pizza base. Let your grandchild choose his own favourite toppings and he may like to decorate it with a face.
- Half a small red onion, chopped (25 g)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tsp sundried tomato paste
- 1 tbsp later
- 2 English muffins
- 2 tbsp Sweetcorn
- 2 slices of ham
- 25g Mozzarella or grated Cheddar
- Suggested Toppings (enough for 2 pizzas)
- mushrooms, sliced and sautéed in 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 ring pineapple, diced
- stoned black olives, thinly sliced
- baby courgette, thinly sluiced and sautéed in 1 tsp olive oil
- sunblush tomatoes, diced
- 1 rasher cooked bacon, crumbled
- Strips of sweet pepper
- Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the tomato puree, sun dried tomato paste and water and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Split the muffins and toast. Preheat the grill to high and spread the tomato sauce over the muffins. Sprinkle over the ham and sweetcorn and cover with the grated cheese.
- Preheat the grill to high. Cook the pizzas for 4 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and golden. Decorate with your favourite toppings. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Makes 2 mini pizzas
Krispie Fish Fingers from ‘Fussy Eaters Recipe Book’
Rice Krispies make a tasty coating for fish, and I like to make these finger-sized goujons as they cook quickly and can be easily cooked from frozen. Another good coating to try is crushed cornflakes. Simply cut the fish into strips, coat in seasoned flour, lightly beaten egg and then crushed cornflakes and sauté until golden and cooked through.
- Half pound skinless sole or flounder fillets
- One and a half cups Rice Krispies
- 3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/4 (quarter) tsp paprika
- 1 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2–3 tbsp canola oil, for frying
- salt and pepper, to season
- Lemon mayo dip
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- A pinch of salt to season
- Cut the fish into little finger-sized pieces. Cover and set aside in the fridge. Put the Rice Krispies, Parmesan and paprika in a food processor, and whiz to fine crumbs. Transfer to a plate and stir in salt and pepper to taste and the sesame seeds (if using). Beat the egg in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Spread the flour out on a separate plate.
- Toss three or four of the fish pieces in the flour then dunk in the egg and roll in the Krispie crumbs until well coated. Sit on a clean plate and continue with remaining fish. Cook immediately or freeze according to the instructions below.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the fish fingers. Fry for 1 1/2 –2 minutes each side, until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper and cool slightly before serving.
- To make the dip, mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. If you like you can season the dip to taste with a pinch of salt.
- To freeze, lay the uncooked fish fingers on a baking sheet lined with cling film. Cover with cling film and freeze around 2 hours, until firm. Transfer to re-sealable plastic bags and cook as above, direct from frozen (the cooking time is the same). Not suitable for reheating.
- Dips are a good way to encourage healthy eating. Serve with sticks of carritm pepper, celery as well as toasted pitta slices.
Prep time 20 minutes
Cooking 3 to 4 minutes
Makes 6 to 8 portions