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Monday, April 11, 2011

Turning Fussy Eater's Fantastic

It's no secret that my kids are at their most deceptive, creative and downright frustrating when it comes to food.  I've written a few ranty blog posts about it :

Plus many random rambling type mentions in totally unrelated posts.

I think it was with much sympathy that the lovely Glowless from Where's My Glow?  took me along to the UWA Extensions seminar Mealtime tips and tricks - turning fussy into fantastic!

I admit, part of my joy and excitement was to be free of the family for a couple of hours, and also the ridiculous number of times I told people I was attending a seminar at UWA....leading them to believe I may have been a bona fide Uni student type....

I also admit that I went in a tad cocky.  I am famous ** for my ability to hide 359 different vegetables in any one meal.

(** Disclaimer : famous in my own family...and it's not so much famous as routine piss-taking of my obsession)

All of my kids have been brilliant eaters....until the age of 2ish, at which point they become all fussy on me.  As if they've lulled me into a false sense of security up to that point, and now they're going to let me have it with the food refusal, random liking and disliking of different food items on any given day, and creative hiding places (both on and off their person) for the offending food items they've deemed unworthy of their consumption.

Now that the twins have hit that bastard 2ish mark and decided to knock back previously loved meals, it was the perfect time for me to attend this seminar.

Here's some of my fave tips :

  • Instead of offering a fruit-loathing toddler an apple and having them say "no", offer then two different types of fruit so they have a choice to make, and they will have to pick one instead of simply saying "no".  This is my simplified version of their advice.

  • Stop eating rice crackers. Anything that has to be puffed up with air has lost all goodness in the process of creating the air-filled final product.  There's lots of techy type reasoning behind this.  But you're better off Googling the CSIRO's research than having me bugger it up with my translation.

  • Stop drinking decaff coffee.  That one was for me, not the kids (they're all for the caffeinated version).  Here I was thinking I was tot's healthy on the decaff front, but as it turns out, the process required to remove the caffeine cancels out any perceived health benefit from drinking decaff.  BRING ON THE ESPRESSO PEOPLE!!

  • Create a routine around meal times, the same way you do around bedtime.  It helps toddler's associate certain actions (washing hands, helping set the table, putting toys away - whatever fits your chosen routine pre-meals) with sitting down to eat lunch, dinner etc.

  • Don't chase your toddler around, trying to get them to eat.  It doesn't work.  It makes one helluva mess.  It creates cranky-pants.  It also makes me spill my wine.  Define set eating areas for your kids.

Mine sit at a little kiddy table in the kitchen on the tiled floor.  As far away from carpet, fabric, blinds and anything remotely stain-able.  My kitchen is also perfect because I can position their little table so that they can't really be distracted by everything else going on in the house.  Unfortunately Miss2 gives me the toddler version of a middle finger and just ignores me to go stalking off to terrorise her toys whenever she feels like it.  I may need to install a seat belt on her chair.

  • Have you ever noticed how toddlers are insanely hungry around 10am - 11am, and late arvo?  I normally give them a snack since it's not quite lunch or dinner time.  Wrong.  Feed them a healthy lunch or dinner if that's when they're most hungry, not a snack - because that's when they're most likely to eat a nutritious meal, not when you deem it to be the appropriate meal time and they've only recently had a snack.  Logical, right? 
  • Wine is the only side-dish for Mum & Dad's meals.  Okay I made that one up, but it is totally true. 

And there was lots more.  But on to other important stuff....

I sat next to the lurvely Glowless.  That just rocked my day regardless of anything else.  She was spectacularly spectacular, as you'd expect, and funny enough to make me giggle like a naughty school girl in the back row of the class - until she makde me cry-by-association with my involuntary teary eyedness.  That's the technical term for it.  But she did Glow.  That was the important point I wanted to make about Glowless - she does glow.  Fancy that?

I suffered a slight case of parental envy thanks to Rachel from Because I said so (which, by the way, is the universal answer to every question), who can get her kids to eat ANYTHING as long as it's laid out on the plate like a face.  Love this system.  Going to try it with my kids...and will possibly shape my own as Vin Diesel.

As always, Feli from My Life in Mono cracked me up, with talk of how her Lil Tiger growls at her when it's tucker time.  Love this.  I now expect a personal performance.  Or at the very least a You Tube clip.  It will wipe out that irritating "It's Friday"  song on the most watched clips.  Viral, I tell you.  Mark my words Lil Tiger!

Anywho, it's with some degree of surprise, that I tell you I found this seminar totally useful.  Me, the ultra-experienced **  mother with a whopping great 5 years of experience spanning 3 children.

**Note: I didn't say I was good, just experienced.

A big thank you to Glowless for the chance to attend.  I'm actually psyched to put some of the tips into practice, not just the ones relating to caffeine and wine.

Tonight I'm putting together a monster-faced (or Vin Diesel, in my case) platter of healthy options and letting the kids loose with kiddy-tongs to select their dinner.  Have given #1 Hubby the heads up to wear his indoor cricket cup to cover his blokey bits.

Fingers crossed he keeps his own meat and 2 veg safe (that reference is for you G lady), and the kids select the appropriate alternative from the dinner platter with their mini tongs.

If not, I shall be back here ranting and raving about it.


  1. I hope the decaff thing doesn't apply to tea, too :(

  2. bahahahaha!!!! too funny! i did say it was sad that my success rate with food variety revolved around creating food faces for my kids.... might have to devote an entire post to pictures of the 'monster faces' - little emperor makes me take a photo if it is something new!
    i thought that seminar was very interesting and had good practical advice - now to put it into practice....fingers crossed all round!

  3. Yes but when you create the Vin Diesel face you won't want to share it with the kiddies will you??? Go for Jay L'gai off play school for a good compromise, I say.
    P.S. Sorry I made you cry, am just a tad emotional lately :'(

  4. Spoken like a responsible and practical parent (the Jay L'gai bit). No need to apologise (water works bit), since I have documented my ability to involuntarily cry a river over complete strangers, small fluffy animals, babies, and gameshows

  5. Well, I tried it. Miss2 ate it before she had a chance to take note of my artistic efforts. Mstr2 was happy he had a face to throw a tanty at, instead of the walls, and Miss5 told me how I could've done it better. My kids in a nutshell really.

  6. I'm going to say no, since I adore my decaff tea. The flavour is so much nicer.


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