Encouraging your children to try tasty new foods will help shape and develop their palate.
I traveled to Brazil to visit family over the school holidays and enjoyed a myriad of delicious traditional dishes. My mum, grandma, aunties, sister and sister-in-law, all prepared special recipes they knew my daughter and I missed and loved to celebrate our home coming. It got me thinking about how lucky I am to have been exposed to such beautiful food from a very young age, and how these early experiences have helped shape my palate and my appreciation of food.
Studies show that even what a mother eats while pregnant influences her child’s taste buds and it’s not unusual for us, as adults, to find comfort in the foods we grew up with.
When developing recipes for our KidsHQ Super Meals I try to incorporate a variety of herbs and spices, and create recipes influenced by different cultures and my own travels. This gives the children the opportunity to savour different flavours and textures, and explore their own sense of taste and smell, all while developing healthy eating habits and a positive relationship with food in general.
It’s important to remember that young kids can take up to 15 times to try or like a new food. Encourage them to have a go but never force or reward your child with sweets or gifts because they agreed to eat something. Involving them in the cooking process, helping with the vege gardening or setting up the dinner table are much better approaches that are likely to bring positive results.
Being a good role model is vital as your own attitude to food will influence the way kids behave towards it. If you’re a picky eater and you’re open about your dislike of certain foods, your children are more likely to copy your behaviour.
Keep it simple! Making mealtimes that are relaxed and fun, with yummy dinners the whole family enjoys together, is a sure way to get kids into food.
The recipe I chose this time is from my late grandma Lydia. It was the one meal my siblings and I would ask her to make every single time we went to stay with her. In Brazil this recipe is called ‘Pave de Frango’, but for us it is and it always will be ‘Grandma Lydia’s Chicken’.
Here's Fern's recipe: Grandma Lydia's Chicken