When I was heavily pregnant with Miss O and hastily Googling everything I’d neglected to read up on over the past few months (that last-minute cramming for an exam you have absolutely no hope of passing), it genuinely never occurred to me that mealtimes would be a big issue. I think I just presumed that I would make something, my tiny human would eat it, and we’d all move on with our lives.
What an absolute eejit.
So, if you too are enthusiastically cheerleading from the highchair sidelines every evening, willing your child to have JUST ONE MORE mouthful of something that hasn’t been dipped in E Numbers and fried in sugar, here are my top tips:
1 – Always bear in mind this proven scientific fact – the longer you spend lovingly crafting veggie packed, toddler-friendly culinary delights, the sooner you will be scraping it all into the bin whilst your toddler dry-heaves dramatically in the next room, incensed that you dared present them with such slop. Please note, it’s totally acceptable to mutter obscenities into said bin at this point.
2 – A fail-safe recipe if you have a bit of time on your hands; place food items on floor, preferably under the rug, apply liberal coatings of dust/hair/unidentifiable ick, and leave to rest (about a week should do it). Kids really can’t get enough of that stuff. Bonus points for successful foraging sessions during Health Visitor checks.
3 – Put their food on your own plate. Much like ex-boyfriends, food becomes infinitely more appealing when someone else wants it. To take this tip to the next level, give it to another child. Your little angel may not want your poxy carrot sticks, but they will go batshit crazy if you let someone else gnaw on them.
4 – Make sure the entire household is on board with the healthy eating malarkey. The chances of your little one finishing their dinner are significantly reduced if one of you (naming no names, but he’s getting feck all for Father’s Day) waltzes in mid-meal with a marshmallow kebab covered in rainbow sprinkles. Dinner in the bin, sprinkles on everything, Daddy in the doghouse. Nobody wins.
5 – Relocate all meals to nursery. As part of their lifelong mission to make you look like a complete bullshitter in front of other people, your child will happily wolf down lamb and apricot tagine with couscous, spanish style mackerel, mixed bean cassoulet, basically anything those magical nursery pixies whip up for them. FML.
6 – It’s now time to bring out the big guns, aka “here comes the choo choo train / aeroplane / monster truck!”. If your child is a fan of Postman Pat, try using one of his many vehicles here instead…as the man never arrives on time and always takes the most convoluted route (see my previous post), you may lull your child into a false sense of security and get a few spoonfuls in whilst you still have the element of surprise.
7 – If all else fails, admit defeat and pick from the following pre-approved food groups:
– Anything shaped like a dinosaur/smiley face/woodland creature
– Anything battered and/or beige
– Anything produced by Cadbury
Hope this helps!
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