It Started With A Pea!

You might remember my post a few weeks ago ‘Taking It One Nibble At A Time‘ about Bruiser trying new foods, even if it was the smallest nibble imaginable. Those tiny nibbles have progressed to bigger nibbles and in some cases spoon full. Spoon full of vegetables no less!

It’s not that Bruiser disliked vegetables, quite the opposite. He was weaned onto them all and loved eating them all. That was until his sensory difficulties took over and eating became problematic. Since then he hasn’t touched anything other than banana and occasionally a small slice of apple.

It all started a few weeks after the nibble of those cheese on toast stars. I did the unimaginable and put peas on his plate along with the cheesy mashed potato balls. I was pushing my luck here, normally he would reject the whole meal when something unfamiliar was put on his plate and more so because the colour wasnt in keeping with his beige/yellow/orange food preferences. After psyching the plate of food out for a few minutes though, he sat down to the table. He kept touching them and then quickly withdrawing his fingers and then going back to them. Before I knew it he was trying them only one a time and it appeared that he liked them! He gave up after a bit and sat back. I asked if he was going to eat the other food and he signed NO! quite assertively. Pushing my luck again, I put a few of the peas on a spoon and proceeded to put them to his mouth and he ate them. In the end, he ate every pea!! He left everything else on his plate on this occasion but he ate the peas. I wasnt about to push it any further though. He had done great and I was very proud of him.

Since then he’s tried Strawberrys! and Apples… whole (but the apples have to be red!)!

Sunday lunch the other day was quite comical. I was serving the food out on the kitchen side and he was taking food off his plate and eating it. It’s such a joy to see him tucking into food at the moment and more so enjoy it, even if his diet still remains very limited in colour and texture.

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Ethans Escapades

Spaghetti Bolognese

This was the very first thing my mum taught me to cook, i think i was about 11 at the time. Its fast and simple and doesn’t require any great culinary experience! My mum took the basic recipe from a cook book she owned and tweaked it to her own taste taking away some ingredients and adding her own.

Ingredients:

1lb mince steak
half an onion
1 oxo cube
a cupped hand of basil
6 cloves of garlic
2tbl spoons of tomato puree
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
2oz mushrooms
a pinch of nutmeg

Start by frying your mince until it turns brown and drain away any fat.

Add half a finely chopped onion and stir in.

Crumble in an oxo cube and then add the cupped hand of dried basil and stir in again.

Add the peeled crushed garlic cloves. (i use a garlic crusher, it saves on smelly hands and you can add it straight to the pan as you do it!) and stir again.

Turn up the heat and add the two tins of chopped tomatoes and the tomato puree.

When its bubbling away, add the chopped mushrooms and stir in.

Add a pinch of nutmeg. (my mum used to say it added shine to the sauce)

Turn heat right down and simmer for 45 minutes stirring occasionally.

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Serve with any pasta of your choice and garlic bread.

Mmmmm Delicious

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This post is part of the #FaveFamilyRecipes Competition with BritMums and Tilda Rice. Every pack sold will provide a meal to an expectant mum in need in support of the World Food Programme’s Mothers Helping Mothers initiative in Bangladesh.

Why not add your favorite recipe to the Linky!

A Package of Love

Trying to find inspiration to make your child eat a healthy and balanced lunch at school takes a lot of time and effort. You have to balance the requirements of what you would like your children to eat, with what your children wants to eat. Make it attractive to eat, whilst also trying to ward off the school lunch police!!

According to nutritionists, a balanced packed lunch should contain:

  • Starchy foods. These are bread, rice, potatoes and pasta.
  • Protein foods. These are meat, fish, eggs, beans and others.
  • A dairy item. This could be cheese or yogurt.
  • Vegetables or salad, and a portion of fruit.

Whilst this all makes for good common sense, it’s actually harder than it sounds.

I’ve discovered with my son Wriggler, through trial and error, that he is much more likely to eat food that takes little effort. Remember, they are on a time frame, they need to eat and get back out to play with their friends asap… the longer they spend eating the less time they have to play!

Here are my tips on making packed lunches that are fun, attractive and appetising!

  • All great packed lunches start life in a fun, attractive lunch bag with matching drinks bottle. This year Wriggler chose Angry Birds (as did most of his friends!)

  • Prepare lunches the night before. This gives them a cold start to the following day and therefore they remain fresher longer! and thus its one less thing for you to do in the morning.
  • I make 2 slices of bread for sandwiches with either ham cheese or jam (on 50/50 bread). I make them into either small little squares or triangles, perfect for their little hands. Or you can be adventurous as I have in the past and made them Ben10 Omnitrix style, cut into a large circle and then triangles!

(if your child really really doesn’t like crusts, just cut them off, it’s not the end of the world is it? and… they are more likely to eat all or more of their sandwiches without them!!)

  • No packed lunch is complete without a small bag of crisps or baked savory snack. Wriggler prefers Wotsits or Hoola hoops
  • A Yogurt or Fromage-Frais. this gives them their dairy portion and tops up their calcium and vitamin D, to help keep their bones and teeth healthy.
  • A pealed satsuma / clementine, or a little tub of grapes, a box of raisins perhaps.
  • A chopped raw vegetable ie carrot or cucumber sticks.

(remember time is of the essence hence the peeling and slicing)

  • Water bottle with some very very diluted (sugar free) juice in.

I’m all for making sure my little ones drink lots of water, but sometimes even I find it boring. I add a little juice to the water purely to add some flavor so they get a great tasting drink and I don’t have to worry about their teeth in the process.

  • That’s the main criteria covered for their lunch… But, sometimes I like to add a treat. Previous experience tells me that little tiny (and I mean tiny) bags of say chocolate buttons get taken away by the lunch police and thrown away as do chocolate biscuits like breakaways or clubs, so I disguise this little treat in a bun or scone.  A little cupcake / muffin with a few added chocolate chips makes them feel like they’ve had a treat and they’re more than likely to get to eat it!

My ‘Package of Love’ especially for my little man

This does all sound like a lot for a little one to eat. Most days Wriggler will eat it all but some days he only manages a few things. To make sure that he gets the energy he’s going to need for the afternoon from his food, I have an agreement whereby he must eat his sandwiches as a minimum and then if he’s not that hungry, 2 of the other options from his lunch bag. He usually picks his crisps and yogurt. He will then eat his fruit and treat on the way home from school.

How do you pack your little one up for school? do you have any tips to share?