AD – Gifted
When I first heard about Emily Leary’s new book Get Your Kids To Eat Anything, I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical. J is a seriously fussy eater with sensory issues who most of the standard advice about picky eating just doesn’t apply to. I love Emily, her blog A Mummy Too and her recipes but I really wasn’t sure her 5 phase programme would help us – until I read it. Now I have no idea why I doubted her!
What I love about Get Your Kids To Eat Anything is that it is so much more than just a recipe book. Yes, there are beautiful pictures and great meal ideas in there but it is really a new approach to eating. Emily incorporates the psychological research around fussy eating, and practical applications, in an easy to follow way. Plus it is full of her usual fun and family friendly recipes.
The overarching message is – ‘make new the norm’. Instead of your children being picky when they encounter something unexpected, get them used to experiencing different tastes, textures and colours at every meal.
It’s not a case of just switching tomorrow though – that would definitely cause a meltdown in our house – but about following the 5 phases so you slowly adapt and work with your child’s individual needs.
Phase 1 Put the familiar into the unfamiliar
This section makes you really think about the food you eat and what your child likes or dislikes about ingredients. Emily helps you deconstruct the elements and find small, easy changes you could make. I was sold on page one with the apple pie smoothie and the kids loved it.
Phase 2 Educate
Phase 2 helps you and the children get hands on with food and try to identify different flavours and combinations. It encourages you to get the children involved in growing, picking or cooking food. I know my two love to do this. I’m definitely going to try the healthier fondue with them.
Phase 3 Discover the fun in food
Food should be fun and Emily helps you explore colours, shapes and presentation to make it more enticing. She also asks you to consider how your family most enjoy eating. The kids love a picnic – indoors or outdoors – and I’ve been inspired to get arty as presentation is not my strong point!
Phase 4 Step into the unknown
This is where you can get a bit crazy and look for new and unexpected food combinations, taking ‘make new the norm’ to the next level. Butternut squash waffles are on our list and the kids are already enjoying the tortilla cups.
Phase 5 Cement variety
I think this was my favourite phase as I love the tools Emily gives you to design your own meals and all the suggestions for how to adapt recipes to make so many more variations. We get a bit stuck in rut with breakfasts so I am going to try a breakfast bar with different toppings – for me as much as them!
Get Your Kids To Eat Anything is not specifically food allergy friendly but it does address a lot of the issues we deal with as allergy parents. It would help with food anxiety, fear of trying new things and get children thinking about, and interacting with food in a positive way. It also encourages you to learn how to adapt meals and take control of ingredients and recipes.
I think this is a must-have book for any parent and it’s already given me so many ideas of how I could approach J’s eating and find more inspiration in our everyday meals.
Disclosure: We were sent a review copy of the book to share our honest opinions.