I’ve always been an advocate for healthy eating. You know everything in moderation, plenty of fruit and veg, not overdosing on sugar; that kind of thing. When I was pregnant I was determined that my child would have a healthy relationship with food and I’d make sure she’d experience a wide variety of fresh, local produce from as early on as possible. She’ll eat what we eat from the start, I thought.
So its kind of embarrassing to admit that over the last weekend this is everything my daughter ate (bear with me – it’s not a long list):
- Heinz spaghetti hoops
- peanut butter on toast
- cheddar cheese
The past few days the most variety in her diet has been choosing between Peppa pig spaghetti shapes or Thomas the tank engine. (Peppa wins every time). It’s been a small victory when she accepts a bread stick with hummous.
This is a selection of what I tried to feed her over the same time:
- museli with chopped banana
- chilli con carne
- chicken and butternut squash pie with mashed sweet potato
- pea risotto
- apples, dried apricots, clementines and raspberries
- rice pudding
I don’t know where this healthy eating lark went wrong. And, I’m left wondering if I’ve been trying too hard! I followed the weaning books to a tee. I’ve spent hours over the hob steaming pears and apples, filling my freezer with more fruit than a Bulmers orchard. I mixed flavours to expand her palette – sweet potato and apple, banana and avocado, lentils and soft cheese, strawberries and cream (the last one is a joke!). I mixed it up with chopped cucumber and carrots for a bit of finger food and I’ve pulped more chicken casserole and fish pie than I care to remember. But still despite my efforts if she’s not in the mood to eat it she’s not having any of it.
I know in reality its a phase and it’ll pass. The last time she went through a picky phase she’d only eat pesto pasta so had it for lunch and dinner five days on the trot. I also know that her brilliant nursery offers her a wide and healthy range of food everyday. And when eating in a group she tends to do quite well with it. But I still can’t help but worry her getting something chronic rickets or scurvy because of the lack of vitamins. And, generations of kids have done alright before us without Annabel Karmel breathing down their necks.
If I’m truthfully honest the biggest surprise about all of this is the realisation that I don’t really get to choose her meals for her any more. At the grand old age of 22 months old she knows what she likes and what she doesn’t, and two fingers to you Mum if she wants to eat toast morning, noon and night.
The other thing I thought when pregnant was that I’d like to have an independent little girl who could stand up for herself and have her own opinions. And by god did that turn out to be true.