Hide and seek with chicken soup?

Yes that’s right.  The lengths I will go to, to encourage my children to be adventurous and healthy eaters!

It all started when I made chicken stock from scratch.  So I decided to make a creamy chicken soup with it… The problem is, Master 2 is still getting his head around mixed textures, let alone a soup, but I do have Master 4 who is becoming just so adventurous, I don’t want to hold him back for the sake of Master 2 eating a dinner with us.

So I held my breath and served the soup with a piece of their gluten-free toast and coconut oil to entice them to dip into the soup.  Taking a spoon to it would surely be too scary.  Both boys said ‘TOAST!’ and pushed the soup aside.  Hmm.

I knew I had a better chance with Master 4 so encouraged him to try the soup and I would put a Wiggles song on for him.  He did.  Now onto Master 2.

Knowing that Master 2’s sensory system would need some working to get him to eat the soup, I tried to encourage him to at least touch the soup, no eating.  Instead he became upset when I put a small dollop on his toast plate.  Hmm, so I was looking at this bowl of soup not even getting touched tonight….

Out comes the avocado offer!  Master 2 was keen.  But of course my trick was to throw the avocado into the bowl of soup so he would have to at least touch AND taste a small amount of soup.  He wasn’t impressed!

So I offered a bit of corn thin with two goals in mind – a bit of filler now that I could see this soup wasn’t going to be eaten and another object to put in the soup.  Master 2 wasn’t impressed but he did dig it out and try to wipe off the end.  Whilst he ate the dry end, I scooped the avocado out and left it on the table, making sure there was still some soup on it.  Master 2 fell for it and ate the avocado.  I made sure he knew he’d eaten a bit of soup, ‘hooray!!!!!’.

I tried with the corn thin again, and this time he ate it all!  So I backed it down to small pieces of corn thin dropped into the soup.  He was fine with it!  In fact, he enjoyed digging around for it.  And before we knew it, we were playing hide and seek in the soup.  I hid small pieces of corn thin in the soup, he would dig them out and eat half the soup that came with it.

Whilst Master 2 didn’t eat all of his soup, he touched it (crucial for getting his sensory system okay with the idea of eating it), tasted it and even ate decent amounts of it (probably half).  And after my first thought that he would finish dinner without having touched it, I call it success!

I’ll be making it again soon, so we can teach his sensory system more 🙂  Oh and Master 4 ate two bowls full!

When bananas get boring…

When bananas get boring, why not add coconut?  Coconut brings the good fats which keeps your child fuller for longer.  And the dipping is a kid enticer too.

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We do organic dessicated coconut to avoid nasty preservatives.  And why not compare coconut milk brands while you’re at it.  Some have a long list of ingredients, others are simpler.  I go full fat for the growing boys

🙂 Heidi

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The no dry carbs rule

One rule for feeding my kids – they are never served dry crackers or plain rice, pasta, quinoa etc.  This is to avoid them getting stuck on the idea that plain is better..or even an option!
Pasta, rice, rice noodles or quinoa could still be served on the side but with a dressing at least.  It might be sesame or olive oil (cold pressed to avoid refined oils) or tahini or even coconut oil or avocado.
For Master 2 who is still learning to eat ‘mixed textures’, such as a casserole, I might give him a corn thin with avocado to buffer him.  But I will present the casserole first and let him have a go, then place the corn thin on top of the casserole…so he has to at least try the sauce, which has made it’s way onto the corn thin.  Eventually, there’ll be no corn thin.  And slowly he has began to pick out more and more ‘bits’ to eat 🙂 Heidi
oops there's some sauce on the corn thin and hummous...

oops there’s some sauce on the corn thin and hummous…

Passionfruit tadpoles

One of our latest ventures to get past the sensory properties of passion fruit.. They were tadpoles and eyeballs and it was fun. And then we encouraged Master 4 to lick his fingers. Tasted pretty nice. Next was to try some juice (without having to deal with the tadpoles). Then we played ‘close your eyes’ and check if you can notice the (1) tadpole. And lastly, ‘can you count how many tadpoles are in your mouth with your tongue?!’. Now he is eating passion fruit. Still cautious and needing encouragement but happy to give it a go!
Remember you can use any of these moves or your own on other foods too! What will you try with your children tomorrow?
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Learning foods

Does your child eat the family meal?  Or could they do with a ‘learning food’ on their plate?  This could be anything from your plate or another food from the fridge or pantry. Eg a line of sauce, a dollop of a spread or a new nut/seed trail.

Think outside the box and bring enthusiasm to the table!

Leaving the boys to silence

Sometimes I take the boys outside to eat on their mat, then leave them alone. It is interesting to see what they do without my needing to fill their silence with talk all the time!
They don’t necessarily interact but instead take the time to notice their surroundings and also get used to each other’s company, more like the way boys know how, without the need for constant chatter.

🙂 HeidiIMG_7859[1]

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Turning ‘yuck’ to ‘thanks’

Success! Many of you would know I don’t stand for ‘yuck’ at the dinner table. It’s taken awhile of reminding ‘I’m not sure of that food’ and lots of exposure to foods with no pressure to eat. Finally Master 3.5 has started sitting at the table and surprising us with ‘what a great dinner Mummy’ and ‘thanks for cooking this Daddy’. It is worth being consistent on this!

Speaking of which, one of my most clicked on blog posts of 2013 was ‘No child is naughty at the dinner table‘. It is full of reminders on why you should take it easy on kids at the dinner table (but we still ensure sitting to eat, age appropriate table manners and of course, no YUCK).

And right on cue, Master nearly 2 sits at the table tonight and mutters what I am sad to say was an approximation of ‘yucky’.  Here we go, round 2…….!

(but for this age, I played the ignore game)

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Just because you wouldn’t eat it, doesn’t mean they won’t!

Note to self… A child can only ever learn to eat as much variety of food that they are exposed to. Don’t assume your child will/will not eat any food! Of course they might need consistent exposure to get used to it but if you give up after the first or second try…they will not have the time to learn to eat it.
And just because you wouldn’t eat it, doesn’t mean they won’t!

Keep your eyes peeled when food shopping next week and see if you can increase your child’s exposure to a couple of new foods!

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How good are passionfruit?

Passionfruit = great for little ones to practice scooping and developing their hand to mouth skills. AND they come in their own fun cup, taste delicious and are great for developing your child’s sensory system. Master 3 isn’t so keen on them, so I encourage him to at least touch the ‘blobby’ bits… I’m sure this time next year he’ll be eating them too (and there’ll be none for me!).

scoop!

scoop!

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Deconstructed kid’s meals

Keep in mind ‘mixed textures’ (such as chunky soups, casseroles, stirfries, pasta/rice/bowl dishes) can be very difficult for your child’s sensory system to cope with. It can be easier to serve the meal ‘deconstructed’ – think veges, meat etc all served apart. This gives your little one a chance to discover each food for itself and not be trying to deal with many textures and flavours at once.
It doesn’t mean you can’t put some sauce or flavour over the meal though!

Your child’s sensory system will cope more easily with textures that are similar (think grated veges in bolognaise or dhal/lentils), but don’t forget your child still needs to be exposed to the vegetables and meat in their real form for their sensory system to develop.

Here is an example:
– adult dish – quinoa, mushrooms, chicken, medium boiled egg, onion, avocado, peas and sesame oil dressing and possibly chilli flakes
– kids version – quinoa with sesame oil on top, everything else separated on the side, no chilli.