You are what you eat. So I guess my child is a slice of toast.
I like to think I’m doing a pretty good job at being Ollie’s mum. He’s mostly a pretty happy, healthy and settled kid. I try and broaden his little mind with new activities and experiences almost every week an go to every effort to ensure he feels loved, secure and accepted for who he is. HOWEVER… want to know the one area I am S-T-R-U-G-G-L-I-N-G!?
It completely bamboozles me that a kid who used to eat everything and anything now turns his nose up at pasta with meatballs or homemade fish and chips, yet is more than happy to chow down on toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And yep. That’s no exaggeration. That happened yesterday. And a little part of me died inside. But sometimes, you’ve just got to do what you got to do. Try not to beat yourself up! Ollie won’t eat eggs, meat, fish, veggies or rice… yeah, meal times are a breeze in our house.
Recently, I asked for help on Instagram for some kids cooking #inspo… as I’d well and truly exhausted the only 4 meals Ollie will eat. It seems SO MANY OF YOU FEEL MY PAIN!! Which makes me feel somewhat better to know that my fussy child isn’t the only fussy child in the world. It was also super helpful as so many of you had some awesome tips and tricks to share, while others were also at their wits end.. desperate for me to pay it forward and share the love.
So… here you go!
Below you’ll find the few meals Ollie will eat (when the room temperature is an even 22 degrees, the moon is in the waxing phase, the TV at volume 11 and his hair is two days out from its last wash) along with some great recipe inspo from other frustrated mums out there. They are all super easy and simple… so if they flip it on the ground or feed it to the dog… at least you haven't wasted hours slaving away in the kitchen, right? I should add I am in no way an expert or a nutritionist. I’m just a frazzled mother of a picky eater wanting to help others who feel my pain.
Veggie satay noodles
I invented this recipe one night when I had run out of options. I figured well he loves peanut butter, he also likes pasta so surely he’ll like noodles, and if I grind the veggies fine enough, perhaps he won’t notice them? SUCCESS. He LOVES this dish and it’s great to know he’s eating his veggies!
Hokkien noodles (just from the supermarket)
Any combination of veggies, whatever you have in the fridge, I like using broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, capsicum, carrots
Peanut Butter (you could use any nut butter if peanuts are a problem)
Soy Sauce (tamari is totally fine if gluten is an issue)
Start by preparing the noodles according to the packet’s instructions
Grind veggies as fine as possible
Heat pan up to a medium-high heat
Sautee crushed garlic for a minute in oil
Add in veggies and stir fry for a couple of minutes
Add in the noodles and stirfry them together
Pop in a teaspoon of peanut butter, a table spoon of soy sauce, and a dash of oyster sauce
Stir it all through so it creates a smooth satay coating over the noodles and veggies
Bolognese with sneaky veggies
The oldest trick in the book. Sneaky veggies in pasta sauce is always a winner and a great fall back option. I freeze portions of it to whip out when he next refuses dinner. I also always make leftovers for him to take to daycare the next day.
good quality mince from the butcher
veggies of your choice
Sautee onion and garlic, add in the mince and let it brown up. Then add in the sugo, veggies, and let it simmer for as long as possible! That’s the secret to motto bene bolognese.
Pesto pasta with sneaky veggies
Similar to the bolognese trick, I simply grind zucchini or broccoli, or even both, as fine as possible, then add it to pesto I buy from the deli.
You could make the pesto yourself if you feel so inclined - it’s super easy to make. But if you’re time poor like 95% of the population… just buy the fresh stuff!
Pesto from the deli
Philadelphia cooking cream cheese to make it creamy (not essential)
Broccoli and/or zucchini
Pasta of your choice (gnocchi works well too)
Cook pasta according to the box’s instructions. When it’s drained and good to go, scoop in a tablespoon of pesto, the cooking cream cheese and the grated veggies, cook for a few minutes, stirring regularly.
For some reason Ollie bloody loves lentils. I don’t question it. I just go with it.
1 tin lentils
Half a tin tomatoes
1 Massel beef stock cube (love these stock cubes as they’re vegetarian)
1 cup of water
Bang it all in a pot, bring it to the boil, simmer for around an hour. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil. Option: chilli flakes for mum and dad. Option #2: serve over pasta for a great vegetarian alternative to bolognese.
Couldn’t get more easy if you tried. I only ever buy really good quality ones from the butcher as I don’t like Ollie eating processed meat/the odds and ends of animals like you’ll find in cheap sausages. I always opt for variations with other healthy stuff packed inside… such as spinach, pine nuts, carrots, etc.
Pasta e fagioli (literally translates to beans and pasta)
If you hadn’t gathered I’m Italian by now, well it doesn’t get more obvious than this recipe. I grew up on my Nonna’s pasta e fagioli and it was always my favourite comfort dish. Mum cooked it for me all the time when I was pregnant, perhaps that’s why Ollie likes it? It’s so delicious, simple and fuss free. Some people like it as a soup, I prefer it more as a pasta dish.
Short pasta of your choice
1 tin of tomatoes
2 Massel chicken stock cubes
2 tins full of water
any tinned beans, kidney beans, borlotti, butter beans, whatever tickles your fancy
Add tomatoes, stock cubes, water to a boil. Blend 1/3 of the mixture and add it back in with the ingredients. Throw in some carrots/veggies/potatoes if you feel so inclined. Once the sauce has simmered and the beans are cooked, fold through pasta. Drizzle with olive oil. Add chilli flakes if you can take the heat. Et voila!
Pimp my weetbix
Before you think I’ve completely lost my marbles by telling you how to prepare weetbix… stay with me. There isn’t anything more simple, I know. The great thing is it’s easy to get and it’s the only breakfast Ollie will eat, so I pimp it the eff out to maximise the goodness in his body! Even if we have a bad eating day where he refuses, well, everything, I feel good knowing he has had a cracker of a brekky.
LSA mix (linseed, sunflower seeds, almonds)
nut butter of any sort/sunflower seed butter
half a banana
berries are optional
Throw two weetbix in a bowl. Pour in milk. Scoop in a teaspoon of coconut oil. Slightly warm it up in the microwave for 30 seconds. Once that’s done, sprinkle in hemp seeds, chia seeds, LSA mix, whatever is handy in your kitchen really. Then add a tablespoon of nut butter or sunflower seed butter. Mash in half a banana. Throw in some berries if you want to jazz it up. Dusting of cinnamon. Mix it all up. BOOM. Weetbix. But not as you know it.
Ollie LOVES A SMOOTHIE! And with summer here, I couldn’t be more stoked at this super easy, healthy way to get some good stuff into his growing body. Keep your freezer stocked with frozen fruit such as berries, banana, mango, avocado, then rotate these with things like spinach, kale, cacao, yoghurt, passionfruit, whatever you’ve got! Nut milks are a great base, or you could use water/coconut water. You can also whizz up a smoothie then pour it into a freezer block, whack it in the freezer, BANG! Healthy icy poles!
Here are a few recipes some awesome mums have shared with me… their fussy babes eat it up with roaring success! If you’ve got any you’d like to add to the list… I’m all ears. Hit me up and send it through so we can help some other frazzled mums.
Veggie sauce with pasta courtesy of @tajaneesill
Blend garlic, sweet potato, carrot, broc, cherry tomatoes, spinach leaves (steam the sweet potato.carrot so it’s mushy) with stock or a little bit of water. Throw it on some dinosaur pasta. Salt and pepper. Cheese on top.
Super smoothie - @kyliembarnett
Blend rice milk, half a zucchini, banana, spinach, cocoa powder, honey
Butterflied chicken and veggies - @angetruong
Bang in butterflied chicken marinated in lemon and herb from Woolworths in the oven for 50 minutes. Serve with whatever veggies/carbs they’ll eat.
“Plate of things” - @cindaclaire
Serve cold cooked chicken/nuggets/ham/sausages, any kind of carb i.e. pasta/rice/cous cous/ crackers/bread, veggie sticks, fruit sticks, dried fruit, cheese slices, then a dip or some sort, hummus, guac, tzatziki, tomato sauce
Mini pizzas with hidden veggies - @cindaclaire
Mini pizza base, hide grated veggies in the tomato paste, smear on base, add on cheese, bang it in the oven