Fussy eating can create much stress in the kitchen for parents in fear their fussy eater is not receiving enough of the good stuff. In addition to this, we know that preference for food begins in infancy and carries through childhood into adulthood. This means helping your child develop healthy habits when it comes to food early on in life is all the more important!
Understanding your child’s eating habits, taste preferences and behaviours around food is critical to helping your child be comfortable with enjoying a wide variety of foods. Keep a food diary and understand your child’s appetite to avoid unrealistic expectations at meal times. Play games with food to allow your child to experience food and develop their own taste preferences. Have conversations with your child around their likes and dislikes of different food and encourage children to get creative with food and form their own food combinations. All of these ideas help with the sensory processing of food, which is believed to be a large contributor to food preferences.
If at a loss with your fussy eater and seeking some healthy inspiration, here are some easy ways to start introducing more healthy foods into your child’s diet:
Stir ground up flaxseeds in porridge and muesli.
Blitz vegetables in a food processor and use as a base for risotto.
Make ice-blocks blending yoghurt with fruit.
Opt for vegetable based dips – roasted beetroot, roast pumpkin or mashed avocado.
Try a zucchini slice or frittata adding grated zucchini and carrot.
Spread sandwiches with hummus, avocado or cannellini bean dip.
Serve pasta with a nutrient dense puree such as pumpkin and lentil.
Smoothies using milk, yoghurt, chia seeds, oats and fresh fruit.
Here are two of my go-to recipes when looking for simple, fun, healthy and sure to please any fusser eater ideas. For more recipe ideas, go to www.zoebingleypullin.com
Vegetable Haloumi Pancakes
1 cup of steamed vegetables, mashed
¾ cup of spelt flour (can also use wholemeal)
½ cup of full cream milk
½ cup haloumi, grated
¼ cup mixed fresh herbs
2 tbsp. coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
Mix all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, apart from the oil.
Heat a frying pan and melt a little of the coconut or extra virgin olive oil. Spoon 2-3 tbsp. of the mixture into the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side and flip.
Chicken and Vegetable Risotto
Tip: replace chicken with feta cheese for a vegetarian version.
Serves: 4-6. Prep: 5 minutes. Cooking: 20-30 minutes. Gluten Free – Dairy Free
500g chicken breast
3 cups arborio rice
2 cups mushrooms, flat, button and/or brown
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 zucchinis, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, skin removed
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock salt reduced
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
4 tbsp. EV olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees, toss chicken breast with olive oil and bake on a lined baking tray for 15-20 minutes until cooked, shred with a fork.
Rice: in a food processor add the mushrooms, carrot, zucchini, celery, garlic, onion and olive oil and blend until coarsely chopped.
In a saucepan, sauté the mixture until soft, approximately 5 minutes.
Add the rice and 1 ladle of hot stock and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
Keep slowly adding all of the stock until desired consistency is reached.
Once cooked add parsley and season to taste.
Spoon rice into serving bowls and top with shredded chicken.
Holding image: Grace Alyssa Kyo