If you missed weaning expert and best-selling author Annabel Karmel's webchat, here are some of your questions answered by Annabel.
AK = Annabel Karmel
1. How do I convince my child to try more meat?
My daughter will only eat chicken and sausages. I want her to eat other meats, please help.
AK: I like to put grated apple in my meatballs and burgers. This gives them a nice sweet taste and makes them easier to chew than chunks of meat. Sometimes it is the texture of the meat they don’t like, so you can chop it in a blender for a few seconds, for something like a Bolognese, so it is not lumpy.
2. How can I make my child less fussy?
My two-year-old is terribly fussy and I really struggle with him. He loves things like chilli, spaghetti Bolognese and certain types of pasta with a particular sauce, but won’t really try new things or eat the same as everyone else unless it’s those things! He won’t eat sandwiches so we struggle if out shopping.
AK: Interestingly there was a survey out last week about UK toddlers being the fussiest in Europe. One of the problems is that toddlers tend to snack a lot here, whereas in France, they may just have one snack in the afternoon. A hungry child is a less fussy child so I would try and cut out snacks between meals. I would also ignore bad eating habits but praise your child for eating the tiniest amount of something new. The trouble is sometimes that children get attention for bad eating habits.
3. My child won’t eat from a spoon, will her diet suffer?
My daughter is almost eight months old and has always refused to be spoon-fed, so I’ve had to go down the baby-led weaning route. How can I ensure she still has a balanced diet, is it possible?
AK: I am in favour of giving babies finger foods but I like to combine them with purées as a baby’s hand-to-eye co-ordination isn't fully developed at that age to feed themselves properly and get the nutrition they need. I would still persevere with trying to feed her with a spoon as well as giving her finger foods. At this age she needs meat, fish and chicken in her diet and in my books you will find some delicious easy-to-prepare recipes for chicken, meat and fish balls.
4. Is my child ready for adult cereals?
My son is a great eater. But I would like to know at what age a toddler can eat adult cereals? My 18-month-old son will eat baby porridge and muesli but isn’t keen on other baby cereals like Weetabix or Cheerios. He will eat a few spoonfuls of my Rice Crispies or Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. I know they're high in sugar and salt, so I do limit him to just a couple of spoonfuls and it’s not every day.
AK: Some adult cereals like porridge or Ready Brek are good. Unfortunately cereals aimed at children are often very high in sugar and so it’s important to read the label – 4g of sugar is one teaspoon. Some children's cereals are 30 per cent sugar! From one year children can eat adult cereals and I like to choose ones that include wholegrain and are low in sugar and salt.
5. My child won’t eat any meat!
My son is two and won't touch any meat in any form. Veg-wise, he will only eat carrots. Please help!
Gary David Blenkiron
AK: If your child doesn’t eat meat, the problem will be not getting enough iron. However, many breakfast cereals, particularly wholegrain cereals, are a good source of iron, but you will need to give something that contains vitamin C at the same meals, so orange juice would be a good way to start the day. Eggs are also a good source of protein and iron, so if you can get your child to eat an omelette or a boiled egg that is a good source of nutrients and calories. If your child likes carrots, you could try making a tasty lentil soup – lentils are a good source of iron.
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