Family Food
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Feeding Children

I’ve changed my little blog a bit to accommodate a new section I want to put in on family cooking.  My children are not naturally big eaters, certainly as babies they have not been the type to eat whatever is put in front of them.  This has forced me to work very hard on feeding them.  And what they have discovered is their mother is no push over on this matter.

I was brought up on the ‘you cannot leave the table until you have cleared your plate’ regime.  And whilst I now feel that there are some down sides to how my parents ruled the dinner table, like eating beyond my hunger, I generally am in awe of what they did.  The result is that my brother and I will eat anything.  OK so I think eggs are of the devil but I would eat them if someone gave me them for dinner (please no one test me on this!).

Here are the highlights from our upbringing that I wish to teach the future generation:

– be thankful for the food you are given

– enjoy the healthy as much as the treats

– do not question or refuse what the chef has made for you

– put food in your mouth, only

– always have the evening meal as a family (unless you’re under five and daddy works late)

The things I would like to change or adapt are:

– you are allowed to leave things but only after you have tried it

– you don’t have to eat all your main, but if you leave some then you are obviously not hungry enough for any other course so that is the end of the meal

– sweet things are not a reward.  That said, within a meal, they will only come after the savoury course has been eaten.

These guidelines appear so simple and really quite easy to follow but at five o’clock with two small children who have small appetites and tired minds it can be the biggest challenge of the day to not just hand over the chocolate and be done with it.

In my determination to follow the above I put a lot of effort into giving my children a varied, home cooked and pleasant menu of food to eat throughout the week.  Sometimes there are successes and a meal is consumed without tears or tantrums but currently that may only happen once a week.  A lot of the time I take an hour at lunch time to cook an evening meal that is forced down my two and a half year old and scattered across the floor by my one year old – fulfilling it is not.

Over the few years I have been cooking for children, I have spent literally hours searching for, preparing and serving meals that I hope will score highly with my children and be of nutritional value.  As I go along I am gathering a repertoire which is invaluable to me.  So I am going to start chronicling the successful ones on this blog, for my own reference but also to give anyone in the same position ideas and suggestions to test out.

Likewise please do send me your tips and recipes – I will try anything and so (by gum) will my children.

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