Once upon a time ...
I love, love, love happy endings!! This is not "a full one" yet but I'm so excited I had to share anyway :)
I'm bringing you Bella's story with permission from her mother. It's just so exciting so far and we're hoping that in a few weeks we can bring you another installment.
Bella has been really challenged when it comes to eating right from the very start. For example as a baby she was OK with pureed pear but refused apple.
As she got older her extreme anxiety around food has not improved and at 10 she is still stuck with the same safe foods. This also means that socially she is finding a lot of things difficult.
Bella has been to the GP, the Pediatrician and been sent to a psychologist by the hospital but she is still beset by food fears.
I was asked to do a Food Art session at the local school last week. I used to do a lot of these but haven't for ages and had forgotten how mad but fun they are!
Two of the fabulous mothers came to help me chop my pile of fresh fruit and veggies into fun shapes. We also added some left-of-centre things like celery leaves, fresh parsley and daikon.
The children who wanted to participate washed hands, got a plate each and created a design then went to eat communally at an "eating table".
For children who are not generally enthused about fruit and veg it can be a really positive experience:
1. They get to see a colourful array of food - often things they are not seeing regularly at home.
2. They get to choose based not necessarily on what is their favourite to eat but what works for their art.
3. It's a group activity.
4. They are able to test tiny bits of new food with no pressure.
5. They eat communally.
All of these are positives when it comes to expanding children's palates and getting them more confident about testing new foods.
Some of the adult helpers tried something new too!
I'm a big believer in the power of the food environment over our choices. Be we adult or child so many of us are influenced by what happens around us.
I know that going to the gym 3x per week in Melbourne made me a "fit mum". I moved to Wellington and was surrounded by people who ran up and down mountains between coffees and suddenly didn't seem so fit at all! Nothing about me changed but my environment did and therefore so did my perspective.
One of my missions is to change the way society views food for children. And I love being involved with local communities to help this become a reality.
The local school PTA hosts BBQ's after sporting events. They have gone from cheap sausages, white bread, sugary ketchup and popsicles to "proper" sausages from the local butcher in wholemeal bread with low sugar sauce. For the latest PTA BBQ Juicies were also offered. These are locally made all fruit popsicles as opposed to the processed standard ones. On offer were also chopped carrot sticks, cucumber batons and cherry tomatoes. It's fascinating to watch the kids and see how a friend taking a carrot stick influences the uptake of a group.
Providing good choices does make a difference. And over time it will benefit selective eaters too.
Apologies for the terrible photo however, showing photos of happy kids is not so easy these days!
On Friday Joe's school had the annual athletics day so the PTA organised a BBQ for lunch. We get these fabulous filler-free sausages from the local butcher (Cameron Harrison).
We've been dishing up sides of veg now for about a year too. We have tried several different ideas with the best being batons of chopped cucumber and carrot. The students are allowed to help themselves from a platter at each station. This time we ran out too quickly so it's obviously a trend that is gaining a little momentum
I'm such a firm believer that visuals are critical. Seeing veg as a normal part of a BBQ is a very big step towards having veg consumed at a BBQ. This is of course even more important at the dinner table. Thinking that lots of veg is "normal" and an important part of dinner is a critical first step in the journey towards actually eating them!
Are you making veggies a prominent part of dinner?
Just a bit of fun for Halloween .. As it's getting bigger and bigger in NZ I put together a list of fun ideas that can be used for Trick or Treating instead of the standard lollies. You never know, in making them you may just find that new things become popular around your house.
Check out my blog with loads of piccies at the Healthy Food Guide .. http://www.healthyfood.co.nz/blogs/the-art-of-nutrition/2016/september/30/trick-or-fun-treat
Due to popular demand Max and I are running another workshop. Thursday 20th Oct from 7.15 - 8.15pm at the Khandallah Town Hall.
Unlike many of these presentations it is not a general feed your kids healthy options talk. It is specifically aimed at parents who struggle to feed their kids - whether this be green food, new food or just any food!
The workshop includes a section on how to prevent children becoming selective, what to do if you do have a child with a limited diet and how to increase their nutrients(in surprisingly easy ways). It also details "red flag" issues so you are able to evaluate your own child's situation and find solutions to resolve current problems.
Special offers available to all attendees. Book early as numbers are capped.
Any questions please contact me directly on Judith@theconfidenteater.com
I've been down at Joe's school running cooking sessions the last two days. Very manic but tonnes of fun. We've had close to 150 kids take part from Yr 1 through to Yr 6. They were creating their own Rice Paper Rolls from scratch. Chopping the veg, soaking the papers, filling them with a range of veggies, herbs and marinated chicken.
It was a very popular activity and we had queues of kids waiting their turn. Joe kindly came to help mentor in the session for the younger kids. Once they had created their own roll they could take it to the eating table and dip it in the soy sauce if they wished. As always it's fascinating watching what kids choose when they have free reign and are being influenced by adults other than their parents and their peers! Lots were keen to try the daikon and there was general amazement at the magical transformation of the rice paper. It's a really fun activity to do with your kids and of course a great way to add a few veggies into the mix.