Recently at a lunch, one said to a friend, 'Glad you give your ten month old things off your plate' and it reminded me of my time with V and when she was little and how we introduced solids, had a 'few' food battles and now she is budding foodie.
She is five and a half now and I can safely say, she is good eater. Well, not picky and slow but a good eater.
1. Family Dinner time: One of the things we followed with her from the start was family dinner times. Even if S could not join due to work/ travels whatever, I would always have my dinner with V. This makes meal time a family affair and we catch up on our days and have dinner together.
2. Eat what the family eats: After V was old enough for bite size pieces, she ate what we ate. Earlier than that, it was puréed/ grated fruits etc. But still she ate what we ate. I did reduce the spice a bit, but did not cook separately for her. Ever. Phew, that has been a breather. It makes eating out, experimenting and travelling easier and fun.
3. No second options: If there was some thing on dinner table that V didn't like, I didn't make something else. May be she ate lesser that night, but she ate it none the less. It might sound really harsh, but V will try something always now. She does say, she didn't like because it looks weird, does not taste right, is eeky (Yup, that is a word for her). But she tries.
4. Choices: Now a days, I generally ask her do you want A or B for dinner. She will generally choose and let me know. There are times when she will say, can we have this please, and I happily oblige. She is helpful at meal times, if its putting a quesdilla together, she helps in putting the veggies/ beans and rice on it. She feels all grown up.
5. Educate: I try to talk to her about whats in a meal. If its a sabzi, how I made it, what vegetables went in, why its healthy. For example, she does not like spinach much, but I do make it often in different forms and tell her, there is spinach in this. She eats it and we discuss why she did or did not like it. It makes me get creative with food and I think it helps her realise one thing can be made in a variety of ways, so its fun to try.
6. Fun foods: Every once in a while, I make 'Mickey Mouse' shaped roti's, letter 'V' for pancakes, heart shaped sandwiches, it makes food fun for her. Now that she is older, she helps me with dry food arrangement, whether its laying vegetables for sandwich or taking some fruits out to make a custard. She loves to make shapes, make it colourful with different vegetables and then gobble it up.
7 Involve: This is from here. S goes grocery shopping for the family and he does take V if he can. But I dont think we read nutrition labels. It is good idea and we will try this soon.
With my little one in tow now, I do hope I can inculcate some similar habits in her. And more importantly learn from the mistakes before and then not repeat them. Make new ones.