My niece, Lily is a human Hoover. She will eat anything and everything at any time and in any order (though she informs us through dramatic mime that bananas are unacceptable).
Conversely, my eldest daughter is the fussiest little thing I have ever met and has an extremely independent nature. These are two elements that collide to drive me crazy on a daily basis.
Before my youngest was born, I had all the time in the world to make sure that Jenny was at least eating some fruit and vegetables throughout the day. But as soon as Rosie arrived, things got a bit more complicated and I lost the extra time to dedicate to my fussy eater.
Then came the day I decided to go on a health kick (it was short-lived, but that’s another story) and have smoothies for breakfast every day. Blending these smoothies every morning taught me two things: 1. Jenny wants what Mummy’s got and 2. She will drink almost anything as long as it comes with a straw.
“Jenny some?” said the Voice From The Highchair, as soon as she saw me enjoying something other than my usual cup of coffee. Drinking it from the glass proved too difficult for her but as soon as I popped a straw in the mixture, she slurped half of it before I could get it back.
The next time I was in town, I grabbed a brightly coloured cup with one of those wide plastic straws attached to the lid and allowed her (under close supervision) to decorate the cup with permanent marker.
I developed a smoothie that contains fruit, vegetables and some quality high fat dairy. The best thing about this is that you can easily expand the quantities and store a covered jug of it in the fridge for a couple of days. If you’re having one of those days where the idea of preparing a lunch (that will inevitably be thrown in your face/on the floor anyway) fills you with dread, I think a fruit and veg-rich smoothie is a perfect substitute, perhaps presented with a little sandwich or two.
Obviously you can’t rely on smoothies every day (plus then they’d lose their appeal) but they’re brilliant for a tasty but healthy treat that your toddler will love.
A handful of shelled peas
150ml apple juice (not from concentrate)
A handful of blueberries, grapes or raspberries
150ml whole milk
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
Small squirt of honey for sweetness (optional)
Because of the berries, you may need to push the mixture through a sieve (and the bits that you’re left with could be mixed into soft ice cream or baked into a sponge so that they are not wasted). If the smoothie ends up a little thick, you can always add more milk or apple juice.
You can read more of her writing at www.2under2.co.uk, a website dedicated to helping parents dealing with a newborn and a toddler. Follow Celia on Twitter @two_under_2.