Struggling with mealtimes? Little ones can be difficult at the best of times but when it comes to their eating habits, fussy eating can be a huge frustration for any parents. Encouraging your kids to eat healthily and willingly is an age-old struggle. So, here are a few tips to help.
Introduce them to foods at an early age
It may be stating the obvious at this stage, but if your kids are still young then it is best to introduce them to as many healthy foods as possible. Try a lemon tasting party with a group of babies; they’ve never tasted sour before and it’s so cute to watch their little faces! Start early and you will be able to avoid tantrums later.
Hide Your Frustrations
No matter how stressful and frustrating the process can be, it is important to hide your frustrations as much as possible. If you feel tense and stressed, kids will become more tense and feel more pressure to eat, and in turn this will have an adverse effect. Instead of complying, the child will probably get more upset and throw a tantrum. Stay calm and be patient. Most importantly, remember that you’re doing a great job.
Get them involved
Getting the kids involved in cooking is a fun and productive activity – not to mention, great bonding time. If the kids feel they have put something into the food they have made, the sense of achievement will encourage them to consume the food. Try our recipe below as a start.
Dinner time can be social and entertaining. If you eat as a family, at the same table, at the same time every day this will get the kids into a routine and understanding of dinner time. When they see you having fun and enjoying mealtime together, they will want to replicate your behaviour and be a part of it.
Set Time Boundaries
It is important to set time boundaries when eating with children. Ensure you have set eating times, and allow a set time for eating, for example half an hour. Any long tasks can become laborious and frustrating for a child. Once this time is up, take the food away and wait until their next food time to give them any more food.
Piccolo make delicious and nutritious meals, snacks and cooking ingredients especially developed for babies by their in-house co-founder and infant nutritional expert Alice Fotheringham. See Alice recipe below for both your little ones and the wider family to enjoy.
Tomato & Basil Ricotta Tart
A great picnic recipe, you can use courgette instead of tomato if you want to change things up.
1 roll of filo or puff pastry
4 tbsp of olive oil
250g ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, plus more for topping
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley, plus more for topping
1 tsp lemon zest
Salt and pepper, to taste
300g mixed tomatoes (baby, plum, heritage), sliced into 2 cm thick slices
- Heat oven to 180 C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- If using filo pastry, lay 1 sheet of filo pastry on parchment paper. Brush lightly with olive oil. Top with another sheet of filo; brush lightly with oil. Repeat until all filo sheets are stacked. Otherwise roll out the puff pastry to fit the tray.
- Lay over a piece of baking paper over the top of the pastry, and line with baking beans or rice to blind bake the pastry (as the filling is quite wet). Bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Whilst the pastry is cooking make the filling. Slice the tomatoes, cutting out any extra seeds in the bog tomatoes to reduce liquid. Sprinkle with a little salt and let rest. In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, basil, parsley, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste until well combined.
- Once the pastry is cooked, take it out of the oven and leave to cool for 5-10 minutes, then spread the ricotta mixture over the top of the pastry, leaving a 1-inch border along the edges.
- Drain the excess liquid from the tomatoes place on top of the ricotta. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Bake 25 minutes until dough is golden brown and flaky.
- Cool tart slightly; top with more chopped basil and chives and salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.
8 toddler servings | Preparation: 20 mins | Cooking: 40 mins
Tip: for a dairy free option, make a tomato sauce base and mix in some sun-dried tomatoes and paprika- just as delicious!
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