I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that it can take up to 17 attempts before a child decides they might like a certain food. 17. That’s an incredibly dispiriting number and all I see when I think of it is a pile of wasted leftovers going in the bin. This is why it’s so tempting to just go ahead and make the old favourites – at least you’ll know most of it will be polished off. So why should we persevere with a particularly problematic food? We all want our kids to have a varied diet, but is it really worth the hassle?
To answer this, I had a look at my own food choices when I was a kid. I used to hate eggs, big time. So much so that I refused point blank to eat them in any form, and I assume my poor mother just gave up pretty early on trying to persuade me otherwise. It’s only when I tried a fried egg with my breakfast when I was about 16 that I changed my mind and have enjoyed them ever since. Likewise, my sister has always hated fish and seafood up until very recently – I think what made her change her mind was trying some that was so fresh it had only been out of the water for about an hour.
Although I cave occasionally, I always try to persevere if my children decide they don’t like a particular food, probably more to do with stubbornness on my part than anything else. My youngest is not a fan of pizza, yet we regularly have some of the homemade variety and I just try to encourage her to pick off the bits she likes, with mixed success. So should I be trying these things out quite so often? It’s all very well that it takes up to 17 goes, but perhaps I shouldn’t be trying it out quite so regularly. Based on my own experience, I, personally, think that kids will make up their minds when they’re ready. But that’s not to say you should stick the same things all the time – constantly introduce new recipes and meal ideas into their diets and maybe try out new, creative way of including that tricky ingredient.
Tuna was always a problem with one of my kids and we still haven’t completely conquered that particular mountain, although we are part of the way up. After refusing tuna mayonnaise in sandwiches, homemade tuna fish cakes (which I was gutted about because they were quite tasty and very easy to make) and tuna in pretty much every pasta dish imaginable, it was via the medium of a salad, of all things, that I finally got some success. I know tuna isn’t for everyone, but she does love pretty much every other fish, which was my one ray of hope. And let’s face it, tuna is cheap and easy to use so I wasn’t going to give up easily.
So you see, it does work out sometimes, although I think you do have to pick your battles, but never completely admit defeat.
What have been your food failures and successes when it comes to feeding your kids?