I’m going to come straight out with this. No beating around the bush. Here it goes. Ready? Brace yourselves.
Teenagers can be just as fussy as toddlers when it comes to food.
Goodness. Now that does feel better. Sorry to pop the bubble for all you parents out there with young children, who thought it would soon all be over. You’re in for the long haul with this one.
Maybe I should explain. The difference is that teenagers give you reasons why they’re not going to finish their meal. If you’re unlucky, more than one reason, as you watch the carefully sculptured meal being rejected. Your gangly teen then adds insult to injury, by disappearing into the food pantry to rustle up a less than nutritionally balanced alternative.
On the whole, I’m lucky. My offspring have never been particularly fussy. Ok, one doesn’t like yorkshire puddings and another hates squashes and coucous, but I have, on the whole, been blessed. Until recently. It started when eldest took against one whole food category – meat. Admittedly not all meat. Just enough.
It began when she had braces fitted on her teeth and found it difficult to chew. I made allowances. I thought it would change once the braces came off. No. By then a habit had been formed and she would no longer eat meat unless it was easy to eat. Not for ethical reasons.
I’m not the first mother to encounter this problem, but there was a second complication. Soon after she was fitted with braces, she started to develop dry patches around her mouth, that became very sore. It was horrible and uncomfortable. Not only the braces to deal with, but these unsightly sores too. It knocked her confidence at a time she needed it most. You can imagine we tried a whole host of remedies to solve it. We visited the nurse at our surgery a few times and also researched. We thought it was set off by the orthodontic treatment.
Then one day, on holiday in Scotland, a pharmacist suggested it may be a vitamin B deficiency. That was a new one. Needless to say, we upped her intake of vitamin B and, blow me down, she’s not had a problem since. Just like magic, it was gone! It may have been coincidence, but I don’t think either of us are willing to test that hypothesis out.
Vitamin B had not been on my radar at all. It made sense. Her meat intake had dropped, which is one good source for it and nothing had replaced it. I had compensated for the missing protein, but she must have been missing out on other important nutrients, I hadn’t even considered. If she had given up meat completely, I may have clicked earlier.
I moved into action. Lesson learnt. Teenagers, and tweens, go through phases of dropping some food types. When they do now, I am much faster at substituting in another source, and I explain to them why I am doing it.
I’m also much more conscious about how I cook meat. No point serving up a tough piece of meat. One of my favourite ways is to slow cook it. The meat is tender and falls to bits in her mouth. She will eat it. Double benefit is that I can set it off cooking early in the day and its ready for us when we finally get home from an after school club.
Time to share a recipe. A slow cook Somerset pork and apple stew. With dumplings.
There has been an alarming increase in the height of my children recently. It always happens in the spring. They seem to shoot up, as soon as the sun hits. The Teen is near enough my height now, and her sister seems able to look me in the eye a little bit more easily, than I’d care to admit.
And as for the Boy, well he is taking on the appearance of someone who has begun to stretch. Looking just as willowy as his sisters. Watch any of them for long enough, and I swear you can see them growing.
Now, they are not managing this on meal times alone. Continue reading
Each year we exchange gifts with neighbours and friends. Mostly homemade goodies like festive cookies and sweets. Last year chocolate cherry mice were popular. The children love joining in. Especially between school breaking up and the big day. We have so much fun deciding what to make…..and sampling them, of course. Continue reading