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Us and the kids

About this blog

Mealtimes can be quite a challenge in our house. First up, I have to cater for myself, who could stand to lose a few pounds (or even stone), and Hubby, who is thin as a rake with an annoyingly fast metabolism and is prone to headaches if his blood sugar drops too low. Then there's Dearest Son, aged nearly five, who sees eating as a chore rather than a pleasure, unless of course it's junk food with zero nutritional value. Add to the mix Darling Daughter, who is six months old and getting started with weaning, and you can probably see how hard it can be to cook a meal that the whole family can (and will) eat.

I'm sure there must be other families out there facing a similar challenge, which is why I decided to start blogging a few of my favourite recipes and hacks, in the hope that other mummies (and daddies) may find them useful.

Recipe ratings explained

Introduction Posted on Thu, August 18, 2016 19:26:08

I’ll give all the recipes on this blog a rating out of 10. This rating reflects the things that I consider to be important in a family-friendly meal, such as healthiness, convenience, and of course whether everyone enjoys it.

To come up with the mark out of 10, I score the recipe one point for satisfying each of the following criteria. For example, a fish and chips takeaway would score 6/10, because it’s easy and everyone likes it, but it’s not at all healthy!

Here are the criteria:

1) It takes less than 20 minutes to prepare (not including time in the oven when I can be getting on with other things);
2) It contains at least 3 of 5-a-day (when served with any suggested accompaniments)
3) It doesn’t contain excessive amounts of saturated fat, sugar or salt;
4) I don’t have to cook something separate for either of the kids;
5) It doesn’t give anyone indigestion;
6) Hubby and I both like it;
7) Dearest Son eats at least half of his portion;
8) Dearest Son doesn’t have a meltdown while eating it;
9) Darling Daughter can eat at least some of it;
10) Darling Daughter makes it through the entire mealtime without screaming.

A score of at least 8/10 means the meal was generally a success, at least in our house, and worth posting here for others to try!

Meet the family

Introduction Posted on Tue, August 16, 2016 00:17:27

This is my first post in this blog – in fact, it’s also my first attempt at blogging, so you may need to bear with me a little. I have given a very rough sketch of my family in the ‘About this blog’ section above, but I thought it would be a good idea to start by writing a little more about them, or, more specifically, about my two children.

Dearest Son is four years old, soon to be turning five, and is due to start ‘Big School’ in September. It will be interesting (though also quite anxiety-inducing) for me to see how he copes with this, particularly with regard to two big challenges: toileting and school dinners. In short, Dearest Son struggles with undiagnosed dyspraxia, possible autism, and generalised anxiety. Toileting is one huge source of anxiety for him, which I won’t go into here; mealtimes are another.

It’s not that he’s fussy as such; he’ll eat most vegetables at least, although he’s not so keen on meat, especially if it involves chewing. It’s not just that he’s the world’s slowest eater, and could win awards for procrastinating and getting distracted. The crux of the matter seems to be that he just doesn’t see the point in eating (even if he was whining about being hungry the whole time dinner was being prepared). He needs just the right amount of pressure, combined with bribery (“five more forkfuls and you can have pudding”) – but get the balance wrong, use a little too much pressure, and he’ll either have a huge temper tantrum or just shut down completely, clam right up, leave the table and refuse to communicate.

Oh, and he’s allergic to apple, of all the things to be allergic to. At least, it’s not a medically confirmed allergy, but if he eats anything containing apple or apple juice, it has dire consequences in the rear department, if you know what I mean. And guess what is the base ingredient of practically every ‘healthy’ snack/drink marketed at children? Yup, you guessed it.

Then there’s Darling Daughter, who at barely six months of age is the exact opposite of her brother. She lives to eat. The only times she’s happy are when she’s eating or being made a fuss of, or preferably both at once. The problem is that she won’t let me put her down, which makes preparing meals difficult and has forced me to lean toward quick-to-prepare meals.

Until recently, she was simply breastfed with a supplementary bottle in the evenings. The downside of this was that she screamed the whole way through our mealtimes, as if to say, “How dare you all be eating when I’m not?” Since we started Baby-Led Weaning a few weeks ago, she’s been much happier, and seems to be really getting the hang of grasping, self-feeding and chewing. We’re hoping that this will also result in her being less fussy over textures than her brother is.

So, that’s us. Two mildly stressed parents (sometimes more than mildly), and two beautiful if quirky children. I hope you enjoy coming on this mealtime journey with us – don’t forget your earplugs, a cover-all waterproof, and your sense of humour!

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