BANISH MEALTIME MELTDOWNS WITH THIS FREE CHILD FEEDING GUIDE APP
They say what you can measure you can manage. And if you’re trying to manage your child’s fussy eating habits we think the Child Feeding Guide App is just the thing.
This free app is the brainchild of the people behind the Child Feeding Guide – three specialist child feeding researchers who are also mums to young children – and is primarily aimed at carers of children up to the age of four or five, to help them understand “why a child is fussy and what they can do to improve mealtimes”.
To start, you log in and create quick profiles of your children. You then take a short feeding assessment questionnaire for each child. This series of questions really made me stop and think about the real issues I’d been encountering: like whether my children enjoy mealtimes, or whether they come readily to the table. The app analyses your answers and highlights whether there are any more concerning food issues that may require the assistance of a medical professional or whether your child’s fussy eating falls within the realm of normal – or not clinically-significant.
We really love the Parent Well-Being questionnaire which asks you to rate how stressed, anxious, helpless or frustrated you feel around family mealtimes. How often has anyone really asked us how we feel at dinnertime? According to one of the app creators, Dr Emma Haycraft, how we feel is really important; if we’re experiencing helplessness or anger because our children are refusing to eat a certain food, it creates a vicious circle of stress and frustration.
The app also comes with some really helpful tips and advice. I learnt about covert restriction versus overt restriction – they recommend the former when it comes to helping your children avoid poor food choices. I also learnt that most children require up to 15-20 exposures to a certain food before they will taste it. How many of us have given up trying to get our children to try something new after four or five attempts? The handy Exposure Monitor helps you keep track of how many times you’ve offered a certain food to your child – and in that way encourages you not to give up too soon.
Although my children are older than the target market for this app, I still found lots that I could use in my own home. But it’s definitely one of those tools I wish had been available when my own were younger. The app is available for both the iPhone/iPad and Android. To use the web-based program or to find out more information, go to the Child Feeding Guide website.
Once in a while the lovely people who deliver my groceries slip in a sample of something or other to tempt me into trying something new. I would say most of the time the samples haven’t convinced me to go out and buy the product, and sometimes they’ve been completely misjudged – the dog treats months after my dog died last year for example (they weren’t to know).
But then, last month, I got a free sample of Seeds of Change’s Quinoa & Flax Wholegrain & Red Rice, one of those pouches you throw in the microwave for two minutes. I tossed it in the cupboard with a half-hearted promise to myself to try it out.
A few days later, bored of making pasta for the kids again, I thought I’d give it a try. Well, cut to the chase – both kids loved it. I almost fell off my chair. My fussy eaters liking quinoa? I decided to go out and buy two more of the varieties in the range: Seven Wholegrains, and the Quinoa & Wholegrain Rice, both cost around £2.29. Again, the kids loved them.
I served them as a side, added them to burritos, and mixed them up in a chicken korma, all with positive results from the kids. Yes, they’re quick and easy, but also taste really good (I love them). But where these win, I think, is that they remove the barrier to cooking some of the other healthier grains like quinoa or flax seed for the family. Yes, quinoa is actually quite easy to make, but I think there’s a perception that it’s fiddly – these pouches take care of that.
Buoyed by the success of these I decided to try another brand, this time Jamie Oliver’s Incredible Curried Chick Peas and Sensational Sweet Chilli Spelt ( RRP of £2.29); these can be eaten hot or cold and were just as popular with the children. The sweet chilli one wasn’t too spicy.
As far as I can see, there are no nasties listed on the ingredients. Seeds of Change use all organic ingredients and Jamie Oliver’s versions boast of being free from unnecessary additives and bulking agents. If you’re not enamoured with using a microwave, you can also cook these on the stove for a few minutes.
Finding something both kids like to eat can be so mired in stress and frustration, it’s a real relief to find something new that ticks that box. I now keep a couple of these pouches in the cupboard for a quick alternative to pasta, rice or potatoes.
(We’re not paid nor given incentives to review products – the opinions above are 100% genuine and our own. We only review something we absolutely love and want to share with our readers).