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Category Archives: fussy eaters

What Does Your Child Eat in a Week?

Global obesity is rising. Forty years ago, 1 in 40 American children were considered obese; today it’s 1 in 4 and life expectancy is declining because of the over-consumption of empty calories.

Here in the UK the statistics aren’t much better. An NHS study in England showed in 2015/16, over 1 in 5 children in Reception (first year of school) and over 1 in 3 in Year 6 were obese or overweight.

Gregg-Segal-Daily-Bread-Frank-Dakar

Frank, Dakar

The countries with the healthiest diets in the world (as identified by a 2015 Cambridge University study published in The Lancet) contrast dramatically with the United States. While the nine African countries in the top 10 have diets full of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and grains, shockingly vegetables make up only 1% of a typical American diet.

Gregg-Segal-Daily-Bread-Nur-KualaLumpur

Nur, Kuala Lumpur

Shocked by these facts, California-based photographer Gregg Segal went searching for regions where families eat healthier home-cooked meals, focusing on children because eating habits are often formed when we’re young.

Travelling the world for the last two years, Segal has been asking children to keep a diary of everything they eat over a week. At the end of the week, he takes a portrait of each child surrounded by their week of food.

Gregg-Segal-Daily-Bread-Andrea-Catania

Andrea, Catania

These glorious, insightful photos made me think a lot about what my fussy six-year-old eats during a week, and more specifically how many junk snacks he gets through. When Nicholas was a toddler I was really strict about his diet, not letting him have salt or oil for his whole first year of weaning and certainly not refined sugars. What kind of mother would I have been otherwise, I thought!

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Then the dreaded fussy stage set in, a stage I was not prepared for and stuck my head in the sand about for a rather long time. I was relieved whenever pretty much any type of food made its way to his tummy. Even now he can still be a stressful fusspot when he’s not given his limited range of preferred meals, and when mummy’s tired or sick of cooking it can be easy not to choose the healthiest of options. Yep, more reasons to feel guilty about my parenting skills.

Anyway, this photography project definitely got me thinking about my child’s diet and how to make it better. Has anyone gotten their kids to keep a food diary? Healthy eating is a topic they’ve covered at school so a food diary could link into that. Or should we focus on setting the best example we can for our children?

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Beryl, Kuala Lumpur

Read Time’s feature on Gregg Segal’s Daily Bread project and see more portraits on his website.

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Rosalie, Nice

Do you feel you set a good example for your kids when it comes to eating healthily?

Would you try keeping a food diary with your kids?

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How to get your kids to eat their vegetables

I remember vividly when the fussy stage of eating hit us. We went from a toddler who very happily ate absolutely everything I gave him, to a stressful monster who only wanted to eat the same tiny selection of foods over and over and over.

Three and a bit years later, while Nicholas generally eats a wider variety of foods (thank goodness!), the range of vegetables he’s happy to eat is MUCH smaller than I’d like. I don’t stress about it… well not in front of him… but I definitely dream of the day when my child is no longer fussy. Please let it be before he moves out!

Feeding My Kid made a super helpful infographic with lots of useful tips to keep you sane when dealing with the challenge of a picky eater who refuses to eat their veg.  And for even more practical advice, read How to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables by my paediatrician friend Dr Orlena Kerek.

Do you have a fussy eater? What’s worked for you? 

fussy eater guide help

Using a straw

* This post contains some Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.  

We decided to have dinner out at the last minute at the weekend. When we asked the waitress for some water to refill Nicholas’ travel cup, she brought us a takeaway coffee cup with a straw, something they do for all of their little clients.

I had one of those mummy moments where you think ‘I’ve never thought of doing that. Am I the only mummy who hasn’t thought of that? Why has that never occurred to me?!’ This was quickly followed by ‘We haven’t taught him how to use a straw. He’s never seen a straw. Will he be able to use it?!’

Now that I think about it, I have seen baby sippy cups with straws, but for some reason they never made an impact on my brain. We went breast, then bottle with teat, followed by bottle with spout and cup simultaneously. Nicholas still sometimes drinks camomile tea from a bottle with a spout, but has water and milk from a variety of cups.

Up until a month or two ago, we struggled getting Nicholas to drink. He loves his doidy cup and gives an excited giggle when he sees it, but usually after a couple of sips he wants to put his hands inside and splash the liquid. I don’t have a problem with him making a mess, but once he starts doing this he doesn’t want to keep drinking.

A friend bought us a wonderful non-spill cup that I call his travel cup. It’s difficult to describe, and I haven’t yet managed to find the exact same one online, but you can suck from the edge all the way around. This has really encouraged Nicholas to drink more. In fact, we no longer need to remind him to drink! Except when it comes to milk…

He refused to drink milk through a spouted bottle, and his hands seem to go inside the cup faster when it’s milk rather than water. All I’ve been getting him to have is a few sips of milk each time.

So since the weekend I’ve used the novelty of a straw to encourage him to drink some more milk. And so far it’s working a treat. I know the general advice is to get your baby drinking out of a cup as soon as possible, but being able to suck through a straw is another good skill to have, right?

I’m not using my ‘trick’ every day to keep the novelty factor going, and we still drink from the cup normally.

Oh, and how did he manage drinking with a straw for the first time? After two or three seconds of blowing, he started sucking. No problem!

baby firsts

Update: This 360 degrees trainer cup from Munchkin Miracle is very similar to the non-spill cup our friend gave us.
How did you get your little one to move away from a bottle? Do they have a favourite cup?