I overheard two women talking outside the gates of my daughter’s school some time ago. They were discussing their children’s eating habits; one said her son had refused anything but two-minute-noodles or pizza for over a year, the other said ‘mine wouldn’t dare, he’d find himself going to bed hungry and that’s that!’ I went away and felt too sad for words. Do these women know that they are forming the relationships that their kids will have with food as adults?
Even though my child is a relatively adventurous eater, there are times when the dish I have prepared is not suitable for her; a too-hot curry perhaps, a wine-heavy coc au vin, or crayfish (which she finds terrifying because of their tentacles and ‘horns’). There are other days when I’m expecting guests for a late supper and she has come in ravenous from a grueling ballet rehearsal and needs to be fed right then.
We must never forget that, until a certain age, children eat with their eyes and, contrary to the way we mush up baby food, they reach an age when they may want their food clearly separated on the plate. It doesn’t have to be the old fall-back-on fishfingers and frozen fries either.
Minced chicken balls with tomato sauce, sweetcorn and potato mash, baked beans.
Other hit meals she enjoys:
Pumpkin flap jacks with grilled bacon
Flaked tuna on a buttered, baked potato
Chicken strips stir fried with pineapple & rice
I really don’t understand how a child can be permitted to grow up without being guided towards understanding and enjoying food.