How well do your kids eat? If like me, you’re stuck in a pasta pesto, fish finger rut, with the odd roast chicken thrown in then you’re not alone. I always feel I could do better, but working four days a week with three small children means you’re lucky to get anything out on the table and also leave easy food at home for when you’re not there.
I had all these good intentions and bought some of those healthy eating for kids books. But my kids NEVER eat the food that takes ages to prepare. So, feeling a bit desperate, I sent out a plea to friends on Facebook and Twitter – and well, I’m feeling a bit more hopeful. See if any of these can help you out of a rut… and let me know your suggestions!
- Omelettes -Sounds obvious but they are really quick you can chop up veggies really small to add in (I tried red pepper and spring onions I had in the fridge) or if you can get away with it blend in a bit of spinach. Cheese always goes in well too I serve with tomato sauce. Boiled eggs and soldiers also a fail safe.
- Chicken– Roast chicken is the only proper dinner my kids will eat. Great on a weekend when you have time to roast everything ready for lunchtime – we can eat together. Lots of people have suggested chicken and rice – either cooked together or marinated chicken strips with basmati rice on the side.
- Raw vegetables – Lots of you say raw veggies are the way to go – frozen peas from the freezer, raw carrots and cucumber in bowls while the kids are waiting for the main meal and even raw colourful veggies on chicken skewers – get them to make their own. If they hate cooked veg, try raw on the side.
- Stir fries and curries – Really quick and easy. I use chicken and cashew nuts, with some honey and ginger and soy sauce but you can see what works.You can try tofu They haven’t been great at eating the veggies, but I put raw carrots on the side. Curries too. I’ve never had much luck, mainly due to them hating rice, but lots of mums get away with chicken and turkey curries, using coconut milk and lime, or curry powder.
- Homemade tomato sauce – Cook a vat of your own tomato sauce that you can use on homemade pizzas, with pasta or in bolognese. Great way to hide vegetables, blend tomatoes, carrots, sweet peppers, onions – anything you can get away with. Grate in courgette, or whatever you have left in your fridge.
- Chilli, shepherd’s pie, lasagne – Another great one for saving time. I often make lasagne that I freeze in pieces for emergency meals. Or if it’s been a really long day or I’m home alone I can eat it too, rather than relying on peanut butter on toast.
- Wraps – Roasted veg wraps, chicken wraps, hummus with pitta, grated cheese and raw vegetables, anything they can dip, nibble at and assemble themselves can be worth a go to get them trying new things.Add a boiled egg. Quasadillas are also a hit with lots of kids – filled flat wraps with cheese and tomato lightly fried and sliced up with squashed avocado. Homemade flatbreads too.
- Fish pie – If you want to get away from fish fingers, then fish pie is a great alternative – easy one is using a frozen fish mix, adding white sauce and cheese and potato on top. I used to grate carrot in mine when I made it for them as babies. I must try it again now they’re older. A friend of mine adds in kale or spinach for her six year old.
- Macaroni cheese – Seems there are plenty of alternatives – add in leeks, carrots, cauliflower if you can get away with it. You also can’t really go wrong with a jacket potato and can cook them in advance so they’re ready at tea time.
- Crumbles and live yoghurt – I often end up grabbing a biscuit if there is no yoghurt, but Greek live yoghurt is a great alternative – you can add fruit or some honey or jam. My eldest loves cooked apple with cinnamon and would eat bowls of it. You can also freeze ripe bananas and make them into banana ice cream I’m told by putting into a food processor – you can also add blueberries or whatever other fruit you have. Jelly with cut up fruit in the bottom.
I’m feeling inspired – not sure it will last. Got any other suggestions?