OK so one more day of having both my lunch buddies around. Which means one more day not doing any lunchboxes and one more day where I get help to do everything!
It's been so lovely to say "OK lunch time" and have both boys help gather, wash, chop and heat things. In among the bickering over whose turn it is to chop and who gets the crispiest wedges (but we won't focus on that ....).
Do your kids help with lunch in school holidays or are you one of those parents my boys dream of who say "lunchtime" and that means everything is on the table with a bow on top? ;)
Have we accidentally made eating far more difficult for our children?
I've been investigating what children eat around the world and also what they would have eaten even 50 years or so ago.
What stands out is that many Western countries have subscribed to the "kids food" concept. This didn't seem to be evident when I grew up (cough, many moons ago) and it's certainly not the case in many countries around the world.
To me "kids food" is a smaller, possibly less spicy (as in hot) version of an adult meal. But everywhere we go we are bombarded with advertising, menus and well-meaning adults suggesting that kids "should" be eating chips, pizza and nuggets.
When kids are made to feel that they will be happier eating these foods it's no wonder they are hesitant to chomp a prawn or tackle asparagus.
How can we fix the messaging they are receiving? Do you have any great ideas?
You may be wondering why I have a photo of Buzz Aldrin (aside from the fact that my husband has met him!).
It's because expectations play a large part in our lives. Socially, professionally and as parents. If we want to become an astronaut then believing this is possible and having our parents support that wish will not necessarily make us achieve our dream. It will however, push us as far in that direction as is possible.
Eating is no different. Believing that our children can eat anything and expecting them to do so can have a huge impact on their diets. As a child I ate everything from blue cheese to curry and so I assumed my boys would do the same. I appreciate that this does not guarantee success and that some children - for many reasons - have a lot more trouble accepting a wide variety of foods. However, I also meet a lot of parents who have limiting expectations about eating that are based on their personal experiences.
I have parents explain that their child gags when they try new foods but that's to be expected as so did they. Or parents who tell me that they were "picky" until they were an adult so it's logical that their child is the same.
And it's normal human behaviour to project our beliefs onto our children. None of us can escape. How many times do I catch myself about to be my mother?!! But we do need to be aware that when it comes to eating what we expect can alter what our children expect of themselves.
Blue cheese - tick. Curry - tick. Octopus tentacles - tick. Yes they can ...
What are your expectations for your child?
I was researching for a blog and came across an article on comfort food.
One of the things the Cornell Uni study found that was there was in general a gender bias.
Men prefer meal type comforts like pasta or casseroles and women snacky items like cookies and ice cream. The researchers speculate that the difference is "culture" related. Men were more likely to associate meals lovingly prepared by a doting mother as "comfort" and women to prefer things that meant no slaving in the kitchen!!
Interesting but I'm not sure I agree. In fact, I am wondering whether it's more deep-seated than that. In many of the families I work with the girls tend to be bigger "snackers" than the boys. Hmmm, is this following the mother's preferences or is it something more genetic?!?!
Whatever the reason anyone who knows me will hear one of my favourite mantra's which is "snacking is not your friend".
What is your comfort food and do you conform to the "gender" bias?
Oohh, love summer. Shopping at the markets is such a joy. Berries, stone fruit, corn, huge leafy greens ....
I got home this morning and the boys helped me unpack the bounty. Rather than complaining they were exclaiming delightedly about the raspberries, apricots, cherries etc.
Max turned to me and said "Mum, we're so lucky we go to the markets" (not sure where the "we" came from as I'm sure it was just me dragging the heavy trolley ...). I asked why and he said "because there is such an amazing choice, look at all these berries and the apricots and the peaches - YUMMM".
Do your kids get excited about fruit?
So school holidays are in full swing and I am loving having my kitchen helpers to hand.
I have always had the boys in the kitchen with me and after years of frustration am finally at the point where their "help" actually is!!
One thing I haven't really got them doing properly is cleaning up though. I was thinking about this over the holidays and realised I was crazy to not get them doing it a) because it's another way they can help me and b) because it's such an important skill to learn.
My husband is a rubbish cleaner and in the kitchen (and our en suite - shhhh!!) I always come along behind him and finish it off "properly". So why am I not educating the boys "properly" so they can be a real help? Hmmm, from now on I will ...
Do you clean up after the kids if they cook?
Love school holidays!! It means there are 3 of us making lunches and dinners instead of 1 (stressed and harried one ..)
It was slated to be sunny today so we decided to pack a picnic and go for a swim in the harbour. As usual the boys bickered over who was chopping and mashing - both sought after activities.
Luckily Max was mollified by the "peel eggs without trashing them" challenge.
Which kitchen activities are the most coveted in your house?
So exciting! It's going to be a big year. The goal is to get as many kids eating well as possible.
Saving parents from mealtime stresses and battles. Getting the kids eating new food, green food and family meals.'
If you'd like to start the year dumping food frustrations then join us for an hour of power. Hear some of the tips and tricks that can change the dynamic in your home.
E-mail me to register:
Judith is passionate about good food and is even more passionate about enabling other people to enjoy the wide variety of fresh food available today.