How do you cope with the mealtime struggles with your kids which can become a full blown battle at time? A little creativity can help.
As mothers, we often find ourselves struggling with the biggest task of our lives. Nah I am not talking about raising kids; that’s a task that never will end, and neither do I want it to end. Parenting is fun, one great experience, except when it comes to making them eat!
I have seen kids who eat almost anything. They get introduced to vegetables like broccoli and pumpkin for finger foods, and they seem to relish it all. Yes, they spill some of it and eat some of it. Then there are kids who relish roti and sabzi without a fuss, and seem to enjoy all varieties of rice preparations too! And then, there are kids who will pick between a few items only, and would not even eat them if they are repeated in the same day. Phew!
My kid apparently falls in the third category of kids. Yes, I did give him vegetable purees of all sorts and mashed vegetables with his khichdi until he discovered the independence of saying no, and choosing his food.
However, after many war scenes over food and hysterical meal times, I have learnt my lesson well. These are lessons I hope, will help you too.
Yes you heard it right. We often tend to run in and out of the kitchen just whipping up dishes in a quest to make sure our children are fed well. This however gives them extended liberty to throw tantrums over food.
Let them know what’s for breakfast/ lunch/ dinner and let them choose the accompaniments they want with it. Like, for example, if you have roti and sabzi, you can let them have a slice of cheese with it by turning it into a roll, or if you have plain rice and dal, you can ask them if they want ghee added to it, or maybe they want a little pickle or salad to go with it.
Once you get through this phase, you have already won quarter of the battle.
Yes, how you present food to your child matters. In the world where we have people styling food and almost everything is full of colors, it’s important how you serve your meals. The simplest of meals when served in colourful kitchenware, can be tempting.
Yes, I am among the few people who love cooking and watching food videos. My son happened to peep into one of the videos we were watching, and he demanded I make that for him. It was a vegetable he never ate, and I was quite happy to try it. He didn’t finish it, but I am glad he at least ate part of it.
So a little bit of food video watching will do no harm.
You can always get them to sort beans and pulses, get them to peel easy vegetables like peas, use baby knives to cut carrots and cucumber, and they will love eating the food they helped to prepare.
Children tend to get bored just as us adults if they have to eat the same food every day, so make sure you make easy variations to your food. Thanks to the internet we now have umpteen variations to the food we make daily. You can definitely try and implement that.
That’s my favorite trick. All veggies turned into a puree go into making a dough for the roti. I recently added sesame seeds, dry fruits, and dates to a chocolate cake I made at home. Also you can easily chop leafy vegetables and add them to rice or daal. Paneer goes into the cheese sandwiches we make. Similarly you can use your own ideas to add nourishment to their meals. Another favourite is making faces out of fruits, which get relished easily.
A little bit of creativity will take you a long way, and I hope these tips will make your life a tad easier.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: shutterstock
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