Somewhere around the age of two, Henry decided to become a picky eater. Just like Elvis, our human garbage disposal had left the building. Food was no longer even looked at before it was rejected – it was like the worst speed date ever. “Oh is that on a plate? Is that edible? Does that contain less than 50% sugar? Then I simply cannot fathom putting it in my mouth”. Fruit was one exception, thank God, but it made life pretty difficult.
Six months later, we’ve made some progress, people. And I’m talking REAL progress! We were stoked. I’m sure this is how Sir Ed felt at the top of Everest. “We’ve knocked the bastard off!” No, that wasn’t how we dealt with Henry – we simply found ways to put some fun into his food so he would put some food into his mouth. Hallelujah! Here are some ways we fed hungry, hungry Henry.
Problem: A stir fry plus a kid who hates food mixed together.
Solution: We talked the little darling through the whole meal. “Can you see a vege which looks like a ‘C’? That’s celery. What do you think the letter ‘C’ tastes like? Oooh it made a crunch! Now do you think that green bean will be crunchy? There’s some carrot, you love carrot, give that a go. Do you see anything which looks like a little tree? That’s broccoli, you can’t eat little trees! Oh my gosh he’s eaten a tree. Now you better eat some chicken before Dad gets to it. Daddy, get your fork away from Henry’s dinner!”
Result: One empty bowl and two parents too tired to high five.
Problem: The kid only wants spaghetti for lunch.
Solution: I became a sandwich artist, just like the folks at Subway. I got Henry to help create each part of a funny face and then I talked him through eating the “hair, face, eyes, ears, mouth and nose”.
Result: Spaghetti hair all eaten up, along with cheese, toast, hazelnuts, mandarin and mango. Gone in 60 seconds!
Problem: Kid keeps requesting lots of ‘sometimes foods’ for his afternoon snack.
Solution: I made a filling, healthy snack exciting by using the ‘know your audience’ rule. Henry’s nuts on numbers, colours and shapes so cheese and tomato on toast became “One big brown square, three yellow rectangles and four red circles. Can we count to 10 and add pumpkin seeds? Let’s put it in the microwave for 30 seconds and you tell me when you see a ’10’ and then we’ll have a countdown to blast off!”
Result: The toddler of the house gets a healthy snack. The mother of the house needs another coffee.
Problem: Kid hasn’t had enough greens today.
Solution: Little dude loves smoothies so I added a handful of spinach to all that milky, yoghurty goodness. I included some LSA while I was at it and a handful of crushed up Weetbix to fill him up for longer.
Result: Tricked the bugger!