There has been a series of newspaper articles about families being stretched financially and having to eat cheap processed food instead of buying fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. The prices begin to be shocking with bread being truly expensive when compared with prices a couple of years ago. With dwindling archaeological work available and Archaeologist Husband having to swap his part-time job to potentially occasional self-employed contracts from his stretched boss and enrolment levels being hard to reach, money pinching is familiar act in our family. Nevertheless, the consumption of the familiar children’s foods is not only an economic choice. You should see his face when been served Finnish meat soup. He picks the meat out and leaves the rest – when you are lucky!
Number One Son has always been a picky eater, who luckily likes fruit, dairy and wholemeal bread, so at least some of his diet is healthy. Nevertheless, cooking fresh dishes was dispiriting, when our son declined to eat the dinners I had thought to be tasty and healthy. After observing the things he was happily downing – the bottom line of any nutrition is to actually eat and survive – we have gone along and down the slippery slope of burgers, fish fingers and pizza. Things have not been helped by his avoidance of hot food – it has to be tepid for him to touch it. Some while ago it became easiest and more economic to have things in the freezer, prepare before lunch or tea time and serve when he is willing. The more varied menu consumed and fully eaten in the nursery has to be down to sheer peer pressure!
I feel the tiniest bit of bad conscious, but I am happy to see his cheerful eating. And boy – he is getting hungrier and hungrier with every growth spurt! I find consolation in the fact that fish fingers and fish cakes have fish in them, baked beans combine beans and tomato, if one does not think too much about sugar and salt, and I only buy 100% beef burgers (from special offers, I admit) instead of the cheapest slurry of every meaty bit ever extracted from a carcass available in economy ranges. The cheap margherita pizzas from Aldi actually taste of yeasty proper dough, too, unlike the Goodfellows sugar-added maize and soya fests. I also try to avoid reconstituted chicken and chocolaty cereals. Thus, Special K with red fruit is Number One Son’s favourite (although the wholegrain new rice crispies turned out to be so sugary one can smell it metres away - now he insists of having them every time we give him cereal). In addition, Number One Son slurps grape juice or milk and eats pear or strawberries after most hearty meals and loves toast with Marmite. A full child happily playing after some potato waffles is preferable to a hungry child who refuses to eat hand-cooked gourmet food. This also makes a child to eat at meal times and not to snack continuously.