Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fuss no more

Is your child labelled a ‘fussy eater’? Then this book might be just what you’re looking for.

Some days she eats, some days she doesn’t.
This is the story of my three-year-old who will happily scoff handfuls of broccoli one night, but refuse to touch her breakfast the next morning.
Parents – hands up if your child is a fussy eater.
Well, you are not alone. According to a recent report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, only a very small proportion of children eat the recommended daily serve of fruit and vegetables (that’s three per cent of 4-8 years old, and only two per cent of 9-13 year old children).
And the most common cause of this lack of nutrition is fussy eating habits.
To help parents like me who lack inspiration in the kitchen (despite watching every episode of MasterChef), there is a new book that offers a fresh approach to family meals.

Feeding Fussy Kids is written by nutritionist Julie Wood and journalist Antonia Kidman (that’s right, Nicole’s sister).

It certainly helps to have a celebrity on the cover in order to sell a book, but this one is not just glossy pictures and recipes that take hours to accomplish.
This book offers a practical approach to managing fussy eating in children, featuring a toolbox of ideas, inspiration and recipes that will help ensure that your children get the nutrition that their bodies and minds need.
According to Wood and Kidman, there are seven steps in managing a fussy eater.
1. Think about the cause or causes of the fussiness.
2. Address the cause.
3. Continue to serve new foods.
4. Substitute, boost and hide foods to ensure that every mouthful counts.
5. Be creative with their favourite foods.
6. Educate to motivate change.
7. Reward progress.
With each step, the authors provide an excellent list of strategies to deal with particular problems, as well as a guide to setting up your kitchen in order to save time, space and money.
Then there are the recipes – 120 delicious and nutritionally sound recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts, baking and drinks.
Each recipe also contains helpful hints to suit your child’s needs, such as the colour and texture of the food (we all know some kids won’t eat green) as well as nutritional information, and recommendations for shelf life or freezing.
The recipes focus on kids’ favourites, such as sausage rolls and chicken nuggets, which are so cleverly boosted with fruit, vegetables and other super foods that even the trickiest eaters won’t be able to see or taste.
The little chocolate cakes that are secretly filled with broccoli are fantastic!
And they are easy – there’s no intricate moulding of bread to make it look like Dorothy the Dinosaur – it’s simple, quick and healthy.
Feeding Fussy Kids has obviously been well researched and includes some good resources in the back, including a rewards chart, helpful websites, further nutritional information about specific foods, and a food diary.
There’s also some advice on how to get your child more involved with food, from gardening to shopping to cooking.
My daughter likes to snack all day, making it harder for her to finish her dinner at night because she has already filled up during her daily graze of the fridge and pantry.
Thankfully she’s happy to eat healthy snacks such as a piece of fruit, and while the odd vege chip and muesli bar sneaks in regularly, I often worry that her daily intake of salt and sugar is still too high.
However, this book has given me some original ideas for my grazing daughter, avoiding the processed foods and making snacks more nutritious.
I happened to mention the Feeding Fussy Kids book to a woman I met recently who shrugged her shoulders and said: “My son won’t eat vegetables, only two-minute noodles, so that’s all I give him.”
Oh dear. It is attitudes and laziness like this that put other parents to shame.
It’s not hard to just stop buying the noodles and dish up the vegetables. Eventually he will eat them – persistence is the key.
The healthiest diets I know involve eliminating temptation – when there’s no bad food in the house, then there’s no chance of eating it.
With this in mind, parents must become role models for their children and eat healthy too.


dyanna said...

I like your blog very much.I'm waiting for your new post.
Have a nice day.

Shannon said...

Thank you Dyanna... feedback is much appreciated. Please pass the link on to your friends. : )

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