Being a chef, I could not wait until my children could eat solids – I would cook for them easily and efficiently, making sure they got all their food groups and the presentation would be creative and fun. My kids would eat everything with hearty gusto and have interesting and healthy diets.
It all started well. I made homemade purees, freezing them, often in two colours in ice cube trays. Each Saturday morning, I would cook for the week and Molly and Jake ate all sorts of fruits and vegetables.
But as they got older Jake in particular became fussier, the meals became proper meals and less easy to prep a week in advance. The effort on my part became more and the eating became less.
“Mummy, I don’t want it, Mummy, I don’t like it, Mummy, I won’t eat it, Mummy, I want Weetabix.” I’d say, “Weetabix is for breakfast, please eat your broccoli,” or “Jake loves peas, it’s only a creamy pasta!” But then, “How about a little ketchup?” started creeping in and the effort to cook a good meal and having to clear mess off the floor began to take its toll.
Some days they would eat well and other it was just Weetabix. I tried topping with blueberries and a quenelle of Greek yoghurt, only to find that chef effort on the floor.
And so now, as long as they eat a good lunch and vegetables at least once, seven days a week, I cannot be bothered to fight over teatime.
Last night, as they were eating Weetabix for the third evening in a row and the buttery scrambled egg lay to one side sold and cold, Molly got up and walked over to my kitchen block where I was prepping a hot stir fry and had chopped a chili.
She reached up and took the end off a red chili. I swung around and yelled: “Molly, Molly, no, hot, hot.”
But it was too late, the chili was in and the tears and screams were out! I ran to the sink for water, then the fridge for blueberries, yoghurt and quickly sliced an inch of cucumber, all went into Molly’s mouth followed by a big hug from me!
She had certainly eaten lots of calcium and vitamins in those last few seconds. Although I don’t suggest this method of getting your kids to eat healthily, seeing her swallow all those vitamins and calm down did make me chuckle!
Healthy Chicken Stir Fry Recipe
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp five spice
- 1-inch fresh ginger
- Juice of ½ lime
- 1 tsp honey
- 10 shitake mushrooms – quartered
- 3 inches of cucumber
- Half a bag of spinach
Thinly slice the chicken breast and place in a bowl with the chopped chili, minced garlic, ginger, lime juice, honey, salt and pepper.
Squidge around in your hands to cover and flavour the chicken.
Heat a pan with a splash of oil until smoking and throw in the chicken and the mushrooms. Allow to sizzle and toss for two minutes until the chicken is cooked and add a splash of water.
Turn off the heat and add the cucumber and spinach. Toss again to let the spinach begin to wilt.
Serve over rice.