Children’s nutrition expert and best-selling author Annabel Karmel answers your feeding questions.
AK: Annabel Karmel
My baby only eats fruit, what can I do?
I have recently started weaning my baby and he point-blank refuses to eat anything other than fruit – even sweet potato and carrot are a no, no – any ideas?
AK: I would combine fruit with vegetables, so something like parsnip and apple or butternut squash and pear. (Babies like sweet-tasting food, as breast milk is sweet.) After a while, you can gradually decrease the amount of fruit you add.
Can you recommend any side dishes for a potato-hater?
I'm looking for a meal accompaniment to replace potatoes because my daughter will not eat them, no matter how they are made ie chips, mashed, new or jacket. I have no idea what I could replace the potatoes with.
Claire Louise Ashford
AK: Sweet potato wedges baked in the oven are good, as they caramelise the natural sugars. You can make yummy risottos quickly by baking them in the oven. Crunchy vegetables like sugar snap peas could be appealing, too.
My son is constipated, and he barely eats. Please help!
My son is four and he’s a nightmare at mealtimes. He can take up to an hour or more to eat his meal and if I leave him to eat alone, he’ll have three mouthfuls and say his tummy is full. I’ve noticed over the past few days that he seems very constipated. What foods can I give him to loosen him up? I’ve given him prune juice, but it doesn’t seem to be working.
AK: I wouldn’t drag out meal times; I think if they haven’t eaten much after half an hour it would be better to let them go off and play, because they are likely to be less fussy at the next mealtime. As for constipation, I would try giving whole fruit with the skin on rather than juice, however, prune juice is good as well.
How do I fix my child's post-surgery fussiness?
My four-year-old was a fabulous eater; weaned fantastically and ate an array of foods. But he has gradually reduced what he wants to eat, which we put down to his frequent bouts of tonsillitis. His tonsils were removed in July last year and since then he has reduced his intake to cereal, milk, cheese, brown bread and sausages. We've tried reward charts, removal of toys, and, on the basis of paediatric advice, the removal of all snacks – but still he won’t try anything new.
AK: Sorry to hear about this, hopefully having his tonsils removed will eventually help. I would avoid giving him sausages and persevere with different foods. I think it is going to be a case of trial and error – and you can make meals for the whole family, so even if he doesn’t eat, the food won’t go to waste. I would try some oriental-type foods like chicken satay.
My child only eats pasta. What are some alternative options for my veggie-shy son?
Do you have any vegetarian meal suggestions besides pasta? My three-year-old is fussy and I’ve tried to get him to see that there are lots of exciting foods aside from pasta… I’ve tried sneaking some veggies in, but to no avail. He is keen on cheese, but if he sees vegetables, it’s trouble from there. I know vegetarian recipes but nothing that appeals to my little boy.
AK: You could replace lentils for meat in shepherd’s pie – they're a fantastic source of protein and iron. These mini muffin pizzas provide a great, quick recipe for lunches.
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