I’m a writer and mother to a boy and a girl, one adopted, one home-made.
My own childhood was full of tensions, tears and battles around the family dinner table. My mum and dad were of the if-you-don’t-eat-it-now-you’ll-have-it-for-breakfast school of parenting! When I had children of my own, I was determined right from the start to make our family dinner table a happy, relaxed place.
So I set myself a parenting challenge: to create children who were non-fussy eaters. I wanted them to see all food – not just chips and ice-cream – as one of life’s biggest pleasures.
I had a big think and came up with a plan. An approach. A system. It worked.
My son has always eaten absolutely everything that is put in front of him – except raw tomato. My daughter is happy with whatever comes her way – but won’t touch beetroot.
I am not a talented cook (I regularly hard boil a soft-boiled egg and make a right old mess of chopping up a mango!). Neither am I OCD about healthy eating (sweets are not banned!).
But I believe it’s really important that family mealtimes are stress-free and children eat and enjoy a varied, nutritious diet. After all, their bones, their brains, their everything, are not just being fed – they’re still being made!