The Week In Review: Changing My Children’s Eating Habits

It’s the end of the week.

An experiment that has lasted five days so far has really opened my eyes to the depths of my children and showed me how poorly I had under-estimated their ability to try and like new vegetables and hold out between meals. I truly believed that they needed all those snacks.

Yesterday Julian tried every colour capsicum on his plate (declaring green and yellow his favourites. He also ate the two different type of beans (kidney and butter bean) and we discussed the difference in taste and texture.

The words “I’m hungry” have almost become a distant memory. Yesterday morning Julian ate his toast and scrambled eggs without complaint, in fact, for the first time in about a year everyone ate the same breakfast. The toast was accompanied by a plate of mixed, raw nuts and some cheese.

For lunch we shared green juices, bean and capsicum salad and tortilla (a Spanish egg and potato omelette)

For afternoon snack yesterday we had crackers, fig and fennel paste and some goats cheese. It was devoured.

We went to a restaurant for dinner and once the food was served (before that we played on the grass nearby, then I gave them phones) they did not get up from the table and ate every morsel, asking for more. We were at an Indian restaurant where they tried two different curries, two different types of rice and some naan bread. In their gusto the table was not quite as clean as it has been this week.

Leo, who I had written off as the world’s messiest eater, has cleaned up his act. The simple pleasure of sitting at the same table with him has allowed us to keep an eye on him, correct his technique and discourage him from using his hands. He has flourished under out attention, trying his best to use his fork and get every morsel in his mouth. Yesterday’s shorts (white) are the first piece of clothing I will have to soak this week – smashing every other record.

Food has become something pleasurable in our house and I am delighted to have been shown the light. With school starting this week it is a welcome change to start looking forward to dinner times, where I am excited to start introducing some more variety.

I am more than prepared to deal with some of the whingeing that is still coming with disliked items (the morning’s yoghurt – I’m sure that Julian will eventually like one of the flavours I put in front of him!), new vegetables and entirely new dishes.

Finally I understand that saying they dislike something is not a finality, or the end of that particular food in our household. It means that they haven’t tasted it enough times, it means I haven’t exposed them to it or they are just having a fussy day, week or month where they prefer to disagree or assert their individuality. I now know that the following week that food will probably be gobbled down or at least gingerly tried again.

I’ve seen the proof.

It’s also pretty awesome being away this weekend with my Nan and Mum and having the two kids with me. Although initially I wanted to bring all the food and just eat in – I dared to dream. What if, with their new table manners and longer tolerance at the table, they would be able to sit through an entire meal without it being highly stressful, highly noisy and without me swearing, “never again!”.

Walking out of the restaurant (without the entire restaurant staring) I want to high five the wait staff and the kids and shout, “We did it!”

We ate out three times in two days and we survived.

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