Thursday, July 25, 2013

Georgie: on eating

It's been a while since you have had a Georgie focused post, so I thought I would give you a round up on what she loves and doesn't like when it comes to that subject that seems to obsess most mothers (after sleeping, that is): food.

I always assumed I wouldn't have a fussy child when it comes to food. Neither my husband nor I are particularly fussy. We eat reasonably well. When she turned 4 months old, we started her off on purees but moved to baby led weaning when she was about 6 months old and decided she didn't like purees any more. We have had mixed results. There is no denying that Georgie is a reasonably fussy eater. 

If you listen to Georgie, Vegetables are the Devil's Work. Enemy #1 is peas. Georgie won't touch anything that has touched peas (more on that below). Pumpkin, potatoes and sweet potatoes follow closely in succession (maybe it was ODing on orange food when she was little?). Salad vegetables are also verboten as are broccoli, beans and broccolini. The few vegetables she does eat are zucchini (surprisingly), carrot and corn. And cooked tomatoes (like in pasta sauce). Mum is getting very good at smuggling veggies into things. My "tomato" pasta sauce contains pumpkin, carrots, zucchini, onion and just enough tomato to make it look red enough to pass for tomatoes.

In terms of protein, Georgie is a bit of a champion. Salmon, tuna, flathead, whitebait are all favourites. Lamb chops and slow roasted lamb always go down a treat. Sausages, home made chicken nuggets, mince... She loves houmous, which is great. Sometimes I wonder if we aren't raising a toddler who has popped herself on the Atkins Diet. Her favourite protein is Pig: ham, proscuitto, bacon. Love it!

She is also a bit of a dairy fiend: cheese and yoghurt are both staples. She is quite fussy about brands - she loves the 5AM pouches of yoghurt (hates spooning it) and Mainland Tasty is her favourite cheese. She is not a fan of kids singles or plastic cheese. Milk still presents problems - she reacts badly to it, no matter what we try: Organic, lactose free, skim, full fat.... We are going to try rice or almond milk next but to be honest she doesn't seem to bother with it. She's more than happy on just a little bit of toddler formula, but if we stopped, I don't think she would miss it.

On carbohydrates, she is a bit hit and miss. She loves Pasta. Wholemeal, penne, butterflies.... You name it, she hoovers it. Rice is great, except for risotto. Eggs and crumpets also seem to be winners. When we go out, she'll eat fried rice at Chinese (even the peas, despite the at home aversion!). Bread? Well, sometimes. It you make her a sandwich, she will eat what's inside and give you back the bread. Toast is a bit more successful. She likes muesli but not porridge. Muffins, yes. We try and stuff as many nutrients into home made muffins as possible. The combinations can get a bit weird - the latest batch is carrot, banana and zucchini, but she seems to like them and that's all that matters. She doesn't have much of a sweet tooth - she's not really interested in cake, but does have a fondness for the occasional "cookie" which can encompass anything from a rice cracker to a shortbread or marie biscuit.She doesn't eat lollies or chocolate and she doesn't drink juice.

Our one great success has been with fruit. She eats a very wide variety, which is great: mandarins, bananas, strawberries, kiwi fruit, blueberries (or booberries as they are called here), raspberries, apples, pears.... Most things she will try at least once before making a decision, unless they are green :)

Over the last few months I have really started to obsess over what she will - or rather, won't - eat. I worry about her getting enough nutrients. I worry about her using food as a weapon, that mealtimes will become battlefields. But the more I speak to other mummies, the more I realise she is completely normal. All kids do this. It's the start of their independence: deciding what they do and don't like to eat. Making first choices for themselves.

I have come to realise that the problem is really with me - and my reactions to her defiance. Having to cook four different dishes for dinner (as well as a different main meal for the adults, because Mr K isn't a fan of eating corn, pasta and ham for dinner 3 nights a week) before she finds something she really does like or will eat can be a bit soul destroying and you do get stuck in a bit of a rut. Protein and pasta is our staple when all else fails and we have it more than I would like. New things are approached with a bit of trepidation, mostly on my part. I still think she is too young to understand the repercussions of not eating her dinner so I do tend to fill her up on banana, yoghurt and cheese if I don't think she has eaten enough for her main meal.

At the end of the day, I am coming around to the idea that she is one of those kids who just eats when she is hungry and she favours plain food over adventurous eating. If she's not hungry, nothing will tempt her. She is happy, more than active enough for her age (one might say very active) and thriving. More often than not, she sleeps well. She is amongst the tallest of her peers. If all of that means she doesn't eat her peas then I will settle for my happy, well adjusted child over a pea eating one.

Kitty x


Sammie said...

The veggies... Why why why won't they eat the veggies! Argh!!!! Drives me insane! Sounds like our girls have very similar eating habits.
Cereal is also a no go zone here. Little fuss pots!

Heavenly Ingredients said...

I don't think I would call Georgie a fuss pot - think you are doing just great! There has been some shockingly fussy eating with Miss 3, especially when she was 18months to 2.5.... think it's improving now!
My tip is to offer veggies as the first part of dinner, then offer the rest (carbs, meat, whatever) afterwards. They are generally so hungry they get stuck in!

Not Quite Nigella said...

I used to be such a boring eater when I was little. I hated seafood but now love it. I also hated chocolate and refused to eat it-haha! I think perhaps our tastes change!