27 February 2009

Food Fight

Food, glorious food. Such a source of enjoyment... such a source of frustration and angst! Has there ever been a parent who didn't have at least one fussy eater??
Lately Scrag has started eating so many new types of food, which is fantastic. He gets to rub spaghetti in his hair, pumpkin in his ears and smear plum, peach and banana in every other available crevasse. It's a pleasure to see him enjoying his food so much, and experimenting happily with new tastes. I am crossing my fingers and hoping that his open-mindedness about fruit and veges will last.
Because mealtimes can be such a battlefield!

Dash is our Fussy Boy. Even as a baby he would gag over pumpkin, spit out mashed banana, clamp his teeth down at the sight of any type of pasta.
Oh, he would happily drink buckets of milk, and got through a kilo of weetbix a week. But try to get him to eat mince, steak, beans, spaghetti, even scrambled egg... forget it.It just wasn't worth the battle.
This is a kid with very plain tastes: bread and butter, potato, roast chicken, plain rice and of course Weetbix were the only food we never had to fight over.
Thankfully bit by bit we have been whittling away his resistance to new tastes and textures. He will now eat plain pasta. He manages to swallow down steak, peas, corn and apples. The other day he ate broccoli! There was some rejoicing, I tell you. And last night, we had nachos, a meal which used to cause some consternation because of all the lumpy bits (beans, corn, tomatoes), and he ate the whole thing without a murmur! Amazing - a meal without a fight. Woohoo!

Princess on the other hand: she is my healthy girl. She asks for fruit for a snack, declares broccoli and sushi as her favourites, tucks into salad with her meal; and requests a ham and avocado sandwich to go with her fluffy at a cafe (instead of a cake).

We praise her healthiness long and loud. We extol her vege-eating virtues to her sporty brother. "Wow look at your sister eating all those veges; she's such a healthy girl," we say. "Look out, Dash, in a few years your sister will probably be faster and stronger than you, because she's putting such good stuff into her body..."
We emphasised the health aspects of food and how fruit, veges and meat are what make you fast and strong - all things very important to our competitive fussy eater. Bit by bit Dash has started to be interested in whether something was healthy or not. On his own accord he has started to try foods he would previously have refused based on the way they look.

And I am thinking this emphasis on healthy food can only be a good thing. Our daughter lives in a world where young girls are bombarded on all sides with distorted body images, and an obsession with physical beauty.

Our gorgeous girl is tall and strong; she stands a head taller than most of the girls her age. She is muscular and athletic, but will never be petite. I want her to be proud of her stature, and confident in her own skin. I want her to make choices about food based on whether they are healthy and nourishing, not whether they will "make you fat".

Ah yes, the world of food can certainly be a minefield for us parents...

How bout you? Do you have battles over food?? How do you get your kids to eat their fruit and veg??

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Gail said...

Am going through the "not eat any fruit or vege" stage with Theo at the moment. I figure he'll just get over it. I refuse to cook anything special for him ... tough mummy! Olivia - like Abs, will eat whatever, whenever and is always open to trying new and interesting foods. Yay!

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