Karen Coakley on behalf of Organico Bantry
I have four sons and food has always been an important factor in our house. Because of this they are mostly great eaters and don’t have any ‘food issues’.
A lot of my conversations with my friends about food have to do with two things — fussy eaters and being stuck in a rut with dinners. I have a fortune of cookbooks at home and find when I’m looking for inspiration or a change this is where I turn. Also Google is my best friend; if I have something I’m not sure what to do with, I get on the Internet. As for fussy eaters — I recently wrote a post on my Kenmare Foodies Facebook page about what has worked for us….
Food is the centre of our family. We take trips with our boys to markets and often forage together, which takes the mystery out of food for them and leaves than open to exploring different foods. Foraging doesn’t have to be something scary; when we were kids, we picked field mushrooms and blackberries — it can be as simple as that.
We always eat dinner together as a family; if dad is running a little late we wait, which makes mealtimes an important part of our day where we take time out together. When our twins were young, it did seem like too much trouble amid the stresses of two babies in high chairs, but perseverance paid off and it’s worth it now.
I find children like to have a feeling of being in control of what they eat. I work a simple system where everything is placed in the centre of the table and they can help themselves. If they don’t like something they don’t have to eat it, as long as there’s something else they are taking instead.
I restrict sugary snack and fizzy drinks. Dinner is served with milk or water. When they come in from school they get a light snack, which means they are ravenous by 6pm. They go to school each morning with a good homemade breakfast and take a big healthy lunch. I often hear people stressing over kids not eating a proper dinner but they’ve usually had a big snack after school. Their bellies can only take so much after all.
I’ve always talked to my children about food. They know where their meat comes from and are comfortable with that. When they were little, I threw everything at them that I could, for example trips to the market involved bags of olives being devoured in the buggy. I always loved the reaction on their little faces when trying something new and extending their pallet. They now eat anything from olives to artichoke to mussels and goats’ cheese.
This is a simple synopsis on what has worked for me — my boys are now 22, 17 and twin eight year-olds. I will be giving a demo in Organico on Saturday, September 12 based on healthy family recipes. For tickets and bookings contact Organico on 02755905 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.