It’s a situation that’s repeated on a daily basis in many a household. You’ve lovingly prepared your child a nice nutritious dinner and it goes down like a lead balloon. It’s even worse when it happens with foods that you know your child likes. If only you could just wave a magic wand and just get your fussy eaters to eat the food you provide? There may not be a magic wand, but writer and blogger Emily Leary DOES have a plan and she intends to use it to help change the mindset of our picky little pumpkins! She’s created a book called ‘Get Your Kids To Eat Anything’.
She’s a Mummy Too
Emily is a married working mum of two children. She launched her award-winning blog ‘A Mummy Too‘ in 2011 and is a place to come for daily recipes, tips and video guides for parents who want to get the most out of family life and parenting. Proving she’s one to trust, she has over 300,000 followers, consistently appears as a top blogger in UK blogging charts and has also worked with many top brands including M&S, Innocent and Onken. Wow! However, the fact that she is a parent as well really speaks volumes.
So, how do you get your child to eat anything?
Emily has written a book called ‘Get Your Kids To Eat Anything’. We received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I must admit when I first glanced at the title of the book, I might have let out a little cough. Our three year old daughter always used to be a good eater. However, recently has started getting fussier and fussier, sometimes resulting in tantrums at the dinner table!
Luckily she does eat fruit and vegetables in good amounts, but we sometimes struggle to get her to enjoy the main course too. We know that giving in isn’t always an option (she needs to eat) but can’t just stick with one or two bland foods (pasta is great but other nutrients are needed too). We also don’t want to turn mealtimes into a battlefield or utter those words going on inside your head (“just eat your blimming tea!).
The book’s unique five phase programme looks at the issue of ‘fussy eating’ in a holistic way that links imagination with food, and which situates parents alongside – not in opposition to – their children.
The five phases
The idea is that by following this five phase programme, you and your family will steer away from the fallback 4-6 meals served every week and add more nutrition and variety to mealtimes. That way trying new flavours and textures will become a breeze!
So, what are these five phases?
Phase 1: Put the unfamiliar into the familiar
Introduce elements of unfamiliar colour, flavour or texture into family favourites. Think spinach ‘meatballs’ or lentil bolognese.
Phase 2: Educate
Experiment with texture, taste and smell. Look into the science of taste, understand where food comes from and grow your own.
Phase 3: Discover the fun in food
Build a new level of enthusiasm for variety with creative, exciting dishes such as pancake plate art and bright red risotto.
Phase 4: Step into the unknown
Push food boundaries with surprising flavour combinations such as strawberries and cream pasta!
Phase 5: Cement variety
Now it’s time to make sure the habit sticks. Learn techniques to keep your family mealtimes varied long-term.
What did we think?
The book is jam-packed with information. It is full to the brim of suggestions on how you can improve you and your child’s experience of eating. Every phase is clearly outlined and influenced by real-life experience. The author definitely offers encouragement rather than preach at you! Personally, at our stage of the journey, I think we are somewhere on the first three phases. We keep trying. I think textures are our number one issue right now but we’re slowly getting there. It is great to have this book in the kitchen to try some different things and also for our daughter to understand where her food comes from and that trying different things can be fun!
Emily talks about experiences with her son and daughter and it is very familiar. At one point her child only liked to eat pasta with a creamy sauce. The ‘beige food conundrum’ is very common! No two children are the same, but there are aspects of the eating process that will be very familiar to all of us. The phases she suggests make sense and even though it may be a long journey, the journey is definitely worth the ride. ‘Get Your Kids To Eat Anything’ has got me talking with Little C about what we eat and where it comes from. It has also provided us with some delicious recipes such as Apple Pie Smoothie, Rainbow Pizza and Colourful Fruit and Veg Lollies. It celebrates food for being healthy, nutritious and fun (just like it should be).
Colourful Fruit and Veg Lollies – The Recipe
Thanks to Emily, we are happy to share the recipe for these delicious colourful fruit and veg lollies. It reminds us a little of smoothies, but creating lollies also make eating fruit and veg a doddle for little mouths! Who could resist an ice lolly, especially with a crunchy topping?
PREP TIME: 10 MINS • FREEZE TIME: OVERNIGHT
These delicious smoothie lollies contain only natural ingredients and can be whizzed up in minutes. Make sure the kids get involved in adding the spinach and watching the lolly mixture turn green. Remember, this isn’t about hiding veg, it’s about celebrating all the ways it can be used, and challenging our perceptions while enjoying our food.
4 tablespoons natural yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
small handful of baby spinach
granola, to serve
Pop the yogurt, bananas and vanilla into a blender and blitz until very smooth.
Pour one-third equally between 6 lolly moulds.
Pour half of the remaining mixture into a bowl. Add the spinach to what is left in the blender jug and blitz again until bright green. Divide the green mixture between the lolly moulds.
Finally, rinse the jug and return the reserved mixture to it. Add the strawberries and blitz until pink.
Pour into the moulds, push in lolly sticks and freeze overnight. Best eaten on a hot day, dipped into granola!
• Cucumber adds a light, fresh taste.
• Cauliflower can make chocolate lollies particularly creamy, as can avocado.
• Always taste the mixture before pouring into the moulds and add a dash of honey or more sweet fruit if it seems bitter.
• Try topping each mould with a spoonful of granola before pushing in the lolly sticks and freezing overnight.
Where can I find out more?
If you have been motivated by what you’ve read, Get Your Kids to Eat Anything: The 5-phase programme to change the way your family thinks about food by Emily Leary is published by Mitchell Beazley. It is released on 21 March 2019 and can be ordered here. Best wishes for mealtime success!
Is your child a fussy eater? How have you had success introducing them to new foods? Let us know using the comments box below or by joining the conversation on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages.
(Disclaimer: We were gifted a copy of this book in order for an honest review. All views and opinion are my own.)