Dinner time, the time when all families sit and the table and eat together. The conversations are wholesome, loving and at each meal the kids don’t complain and eat everything that is put in front of them. Well I’m thrilled for the people who live on that planet…well done to you. For most though, there’s winging, moaning, shouting and even throwing of food especially from a very young age. At least that’s what happened in my house…anyone else? Be honest.

Their tastes differ every blooming day, they want tomato sauce on every meal you have slaved over, sometimes they wont eat anything unless its yellow. No body tells you this stuff when you have a child, I recon its because its so annoying and traumatic that parents have blocked it out.

If you are struggling to get your children to eat fruit and veg or even to branch out from the ‘normal’ fruits and into something more adventurous. Then I have a few ideas that you can try to help your kids eat well and have fun doing it.

  • Don’t lie, tell them the truth

I have found that lying to your children about what is in their meal (especially if it a one pot) has worked great and they loved it. The smug look and feeling it gave me too was very satisfying. So if you have done this then I don’t judge it’s a great system. Until of course I realised that I’m not actually teaching them anything. They need to see, touch, smell and taste the food to really appreciate it’s value. I want my children to enjoy their meals and not feel tricked or cheated by me hiding it. I shouldn’t have to either, appreciate the freedom we have to actually choose what food we eat…flippin kids.

  • It takes time, be patient

We cannot change their world with one meal, it takes time, persistence and the right attitude. When trying to feed children please do not force them. Encourage them to try new flavours and over time it will come. As I said earlier their tastes vary throughout their growing years so keep going by putting fruit or veg with meals and they will start to understand.

  • Let them cook

If they are of the age were they can help in the kitchen then encourage that. Let them wash and peel a potato or some carrots. Let them grab some fruit of their choice to make a smoothie for the family. This can stimulate their little minds and really build their confidence and sense of ability.

  • Be a role model

Of course asking them to eat something that you don’t can be a starter of a one sided argument especially with teenagers. Practice what you preach and all that. I cannot stand mushrooms I think they’re weird, gloopy and look like trolls ears. I have tried not to pass that onto my children as they have the right to choose just as much as I have. I have been brief about my explanation of mushrooms but I choose another veg instead to consume. Have fruit and vegetables in the house so they aren’t alien to them and they can then explore.

  • Go to your local produce farm and let them choose

There is nothing more fun to a child than the excitement of a working animal and produce farm, especially if there’s a park area. Spend the afternoon playing, showing the children around the animals and allotment area and explain where all there wonderful food comes from. Maybe leave the eating animals thing till they’re a bit older, we don’t want to completely freak them out. Take them to pick fresh, depending on the time of year there is loads to choose from. Raspberries, strawberries, apples, pears, corn, pumpkins even eggs etc.

  • Books and TV

Your local library will have plenty of fact and fiction books about healthy living, healthy eating for you and your child. Recipe books are brilliant also a few of my favourites for children are

The TV can play a vital role also, cbeebies have a few healthy eating programmes

  • I can cook
  • Down on the farm
  • Mr Blooms nursery
  • Yummiloo is an app great for children to play

There are many choices nowadays with the internet available, have a look at some websites, interactive games and more apps. We cap our children’s internet and Ipad usage to 30 minutes otherwise they would be on it the whole night so bare that in mind.

  • Fun meal ideas

Pinterest is an absolute God send when it comes to being creative. Kids fun food ideas are wonderful ways to get them to love healthy food, it also makes them excited to see your next idea.

  • Grow your own

This is my favourite one of all time, get to the garden centre let your child choose what they would love to grow. Grab some compost and a few pots or dig a little section in your garden and grow away. There is so much satisfaction for an adult when they see something they have nurtured and loved grow, its the same as a child. Checking every morning on the seedling and then finally when they see that tomato or strawberry grow to completion. They can just pick it, wash it, eat it.

  • Portion sizes

Children need two to three servings of fruit per day, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. As a general guideline, include fruit with every meal and make half of their plate fruits and vegetables.

Toddlers (1-3 years old)
One serving equals:
¼ cup fruit: cooked, frozen or canned
½ piece fresh fruit
¼ – ½ cup of 100 percent juice (2-4 ounces)

Children 4-6 years old
One serving equals:
¼ cup fruit: cooked, frozen or canned
½ piece fresh fruit
1/3 cup of 100 percent juice

Children 7-10 years old
One serving equals:
1/3 cup fruit: cooked, frozen or canned
1 piece fresh fruit
½ cup of 100 percent juice

Peace out xxx