Lets talk food…

Modern-day family. (staged of course)

The boy is eating pasta people!! Yep, you heard me right PASTA. In fact, Teddie has been asking for it almost every night. Last week we had all-day breakfast for dinner, sausage, hash browns, toast, and penne, he can not get enough of it. We are not complaining, of course, because it’s taken us years to get to this point.

I’d like to say that we all sit at the kitchen table and eat the same food, but we don’t. Is it annoying? Yes, of course, it is, but ask yourself if you would eat something you do not like. I’d love not to make a million different dinners each night and have the mindset that my children will eat what they are given but the fact is they won’t! I think there’s a real misconception about the ‘perfect family. Modern technologies like social media allow us to see each other’s family dynamics, to know what’s for dinner next door or how far Joe Blogs has run this weekend. What they don’t show you is them eating a frozen pizza from Tesco on their lap in front of the TV or the kids eating a bag of sweets for breakfast. My point is we do all things like this, not everyone is lucky enough to sit at a table and eat together. Some families choose to feed the children first and then cook for themselves and their partners later – there is no right or wrong here, do what works for you.

As a child growing up in the 80s, we ate what was put in front of us, whether we liked it or not, or we went hungry, but times were very different then. My sisters and I were lucky that our parents always prepared big, healthy meals, especially in autumn and winter, but in summer we subsisted on Twizzlers, Chicken Drummers and Chicken Kievs, mainly because they were cheap and easy to make. In the 80s, money was the main problem for many households, so wasting food was not an option, but I know my parents never prepared anything for us if we did not like it. Money is still an issue in many households, especially recently. We save money by cooking what we all individually like.

I do not believe for a second that all the ‘perfect parents’ out there claim their children will eat anything put in front of them. As children grow up, their taste buds are constantly changing. I have a 17-year-old, a 13-year-old and a 7-year-old son and I can tell you that as the boys grew up, the foods they ate as babies change and they started to decide for themselves what they like and do not like.
Gareth and I have always encouraged the boys to think for themselves and make their voices heard. Even as young children we treated them with the same value as we treat each other, so why should food be any different.

For us, mealtimes are particularly complex as we have two children with sensory issues. Alfie has been extremely sensitive to certain foods for 2 years. He has problems with the consistency of pasta, Lasagne is always off the menu for him as the lasagne sheets are too much for him. Teddie would not eat lasagne as he can not tolerate any of the ingredients in it, I do not eat mince so I would not eat it either. Both Gareth and Harvey love lasagne so I like to make them one as they are the main eaters in our house. We very rarely all eat the same dish. To accommodate everyone’s likes and dislikes, I prepare a million different dishes to suit everyone’s changing taste buds.

As a baby and toddler, Teddie ate everything that was put in front of him. It was not until he was about 3 years old that his sensory issues started. Teddie is an extremely good eater, but he only eats the foods he likes;

Breaded chicken
Breaded Turkey
Sweet and sour chicken balls (minus the sauce)
Square potatoes
waffles (sweet & savoury)
Hash browns
Bread (by the loaf)

Fruit has never been an issue for Teddie whereas vegetables are another story but we still put a tiny portion on his plate with the hope he will eat it.

Many years ago I read an article about picky eaters. An American doctor pointed out the importance of putting a tiny amount of food on the child’s plate, even if you know they will not eat it because they might try it one day and find they like it. We have been doing this for a while now and it’s finally paid off. Teddie is much more open to trying new foods and the school meals have certainly helped with that

Teddie has a packed lunch majority of the week, although the school menu contains lots of foods he eats there are normally lots of sauces or gravy involved so he’s better just having lunch from home. Is his packed lunch the healthiest? Probably not, but I know he’ll eat everything in it, we wouldn’t want our boy going hungry.

Try to take the pressure of mealtimes by giving your loved ones the foods they like and not the foods you force upon them as their anxieties around foods will only grow stronger. Instead, sit together as a family and enjoy one another even if that means you all eating something different while watching the T.V.

We love our Bear and wouldn’t have him any other way.

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