I recently interviewed the queen of kid’s cuisine Annabel Karmel at The Baby Show in Birmingham The inspirational mum-of-three is the best selling children’s cookbook author and a guru when it comes to all things baby food related.
My daughter is nearly 11 months old and I’m currently experimenting with loads of Annabel’s recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, I wanted to ask Annabel for some tips on how to make meal times as happy and stress free as possible. Not just for babies but for mums with fussy toddlers and school kids too.
Annabel Karmel’s top 5 tips for stress free meal times
1. Cut Back On Snacks
“Just remember a hungry child is a less fussy child. Don’t give snacks close to meal times, don’t give juices close to meal times, if you want them to eat good food you need to make them hungry for their mealtimes. That is honestly my best piece of advice. I think a lot of children never feel hunger anymore, also mother’s will give them the same food over and over again, which makes children extremely fussy.”
2. Watch Out For Hunger
“Look for a window of opportunity when they are hungry. When children come home from school they are hungry and that’s when they’ll get a bag of crisps or a bar of chocolate as food isn’t ready. So use that time to give them proper home cooked food not snacks.”
3. Introduce Good Fats
“If you’re breastfeeding and trying to give your baby food for the first time get someone else to feed them. They will always want to go for milk over food, as they want the comfort of sucking and that emotional bond. The biggest mistake parent’s make is to not introduce chicken, fish and meat early enough. Meat, good fats (like avocado, whole milk, yoghurts) and iron is very important from six months. Babies need variety.”
4: Make Food Look Appealing
“Sometimes you have to resort to a disguise to try and make certain food look more attractive. Blend vegetables into a tomato sauce or get a spirializer to make vegetables like spaghetti. And that’s fine, you need to get over that hurdle of kids thinking that food is “yukky” before they’ve even tried the first mouthful. To get them to eat their first mouthful is really important.”
5: Reward Them
“Create a reward chart where they get attention for eating, however small the amount of food eaten is. They will start to associate eating with getting attention and not eating as being ignored.”