My children, looking a little like pigs at a trough, 'we're eating our dinner, mummy'.
My boys eat fairly well, but not as well as I would like. As with most aspects of parenting I'd give myself a could do better in the food department.
I recently attended two blogger events that made me think more about nutrition and the psychology of food. I hope both companies are happy with me discussing them together in one post, as they had a similar message. They also both gave me the opportunity to catch up with some blogging friends and give my children a day out.
The first event was at Kellogg's HQ in Manchester. They called the event 'Snap, Crackle and Blog' and they looked after us parenting bloggers and our children very well. We were given a goody bag, lunch and as many cereal bars as we could eat. My sons took advantage of this!
We even got a visit from some poor juniors dressed up in animal suits.
The other event was put on by Nutella. Again they provided excellent entertainment for the children. The venue was Stockley Farm in Cheshire. Presley and Cash LOVED the farm.
There was so much to see and do, including real tractor rides, animals galore and an adventure playground. They even had the owl from The Gruffalo!
Again we were given a goody bag and had some bread and Nutella delivered to our homes.
At both events we had access to food psychologists and nutritionists who gave sensible unbiased advice about feeding your family. Eating together as a family is important, as is offering a variety of foods. I already knew this, but it was reassuring to have it confirmed.
Here we are cooking with celebrity chef, Alan Coxon (not pictured), at Nutella.
I remember watching a television documentary called 'My Child Won't Eat'. As a parent I could see how the small concessions you make to keep the peace at the dinner table could lead to some extreme behaviour. One girl would only eat Wotsits and chocolate. Clearly this is not a healthy diet, but the doctor who was interviewed said that the most important thing is getting calories into a growing child.
This stuck with me.
The most important thing is to get calories into a growing child.
This was backed up by the shocking revelation by Kellogg's that millions of children regularly go to school without breakfast. When you weigh it up surely a bowl of Coco Pops with milk is better than going to school hungry? If a scrape of Nutella on a piece of wholemeal toast is the only way your child will eat bread, then surely it is part of a healthy meal and a sensible choice.
I'm not spouting any of this because I was told it by Kellogg's and Nutella. I'm saying that everything in moderation is a sensible approach to eating.
Andy and I offer our children a variety of foods and they choose whether or not to eat them. We try not to make a fuss at mealtimes. We encourage them to eat, we don't force them. We ask them to at least try everything on their plate. Foods are neither good nor bad. Some days Presley and Cash eat fruit until their chins are dripping with juice. Other days all they want is garlic bread and chocolate buttons. I don't mind so long at they are eating regularly and over a week they have a little bit of everything in moderation. I'm not saying that we get it right all the time, but we care and we try.
There are children who are malnourished because their parents feed them according to their view of what is healthy - for an adult. These growing, developing children are given sugar-free, fat-free, 'health' food, but they're not getting enough calories.
This has turned into a rant. It wasn't meant to be. I guess I'm on the defensive because there are some who think that chocolate coated cereals and chocolate hazelnut spreads are evil, whereas I don't.
When Presley was about two years old he refused to drink milk. He also decided he didn't like cheese so I was limited to giving him yoghurts for his daily dairy intake. One day I offered him some Coco Pops and showed him the magic of the milk turning chocolatey. He ate them and drank the 'chocolate milk'. Since then I have gradually reduced the amount of Coco Pops in his cereal bowl and topped it up with other (non-chocolate coated) cereals. Now he has plain whole milk on his cereal. Occasionally he asks for Coco Pops for breakfast, but mostly he doesn't.
Everything in moderation.
Oh and I always wanted my face on a Cornflakes packet!
You'd think I'd look happier about it!