I know that this might come across very much like the perfect parent brigade but that’s not intended. Not only am I a step parent but I also have a qualification in childcare and child development. I have worked in all kinds of backgrounds from Nursery Nurse, TA, SEN worker then a Play specialist for terminally ill children.
At the end of 2017 we made a pact with the boys that we were going to go on a processed food ban. We had started to notice their behaviour wasn’t the greatest and they were more ratty and tired when consuming processed foods. I’ve always been at the stance that homemade food is the way forward. Why was it OK for us to eat healthy home cooked meals then feed the boys processed foods.
Now I know reaching for the nuggets and chips is the easy option especially after being at work all day but that’s not the attitude to have there are hundreds of meals that are quick and easy to cook that are a million times better. If like us, you have fussy eaters you know the battle we had trying to encourage the boys to try other foods that weren’t beige.
We made a chart that after every 10 foods they try they get a small treat. This went down well with the boys they liked the challenge and the competitiveness against each other.
(8) by far is a better eater than (5) in terms of the range of food he likes. However (5) when he likes something eats more than (8). Both boys are very small and slight. I’m a firm believer that this is due to diet they aren’t getting the right nutrients from the processed foods. We decided that now was the best time to teach the boys about nutrition. That they need to eat certain foods for certain reasons.
All we ever ask from them is to try. We never make them eat something they genuinely do not like. They both have surprised us over the past month or so. They never ask for treats anymore (this was something they did all day every day). They know that if they don’t eat all their food they won’t get pudding. They rarely ask to eat out, they actually ask for certain homemade meals.
They often ask for a Roast dinner chicken or a toad in the hole. They love watching the homemade Yorkshire’s rise. We have fake-away dinners of a weekend, Turkish is a firm favourite cuisine in our house. The boys were dubious of this at first as it wasn’t coated in batter or breadcrumbs. Chicken Kebabs are by far the favourite. Cubes of chicken marinated in garlic and lemon juice which when serving (5) his chicken kebab he will ask “does this have my lemon juice on” he will also quite often request homemade garlic bread and garlic potato slices. This is a dinner that always has empty plates. You can tell the pride in their faces that they eat far better than ever before.
We only want the best for our boys we want them to be happy and healthy. We will still give them the occasional McDonald’s or Nandos as a treat but ultimately our end goal is to encourage them to eat a balanced diet.
It’s gone from them only eating three meals on rotation to eating over 20 new foods each and a whole new range of meal ideas. A surprising food that both boys enjoyed much to our surprise is Seabass. This is another meal that is a huge hit in our home because of the simplicity and quickness of it. A perfect after work/school dinner. I will start to include recipes over the coming months in my blogs.
In the weeks we have made these changes I can honestly say that the boys are a million times better not only in terms of their behaviour, but their concentration and willingness to try new things. They ask to try new foods which was half the battle before.
So while a processed food ban might not be a popular opinion its one that we believe in and have seen amazing results in.