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 Food

  • Never do the food shopping on an empty stomach without a shopping list! (jotc13)
  • If you freeze things in freezer bags, place them in a tupperware box until frozen, so that they are square and stack more easily. (hanaflower)
  • Cook from scratch but cheat and save time by using lazy garlic/ginger/chillies. Same result but less faffing! (parrotsandcarsnips)
  • If you make pizza use a food processor to grate a mountain of cheese and freeze the spare. (secretscwirrels)
  • Want to introduce your child to goat's cheese? Grill it and drizzle honey over it..from my experience the sweetness of the honey makes it a favourite! (JuliaEC)
  • The plastic lids you get on waxed cups of drink (the ones with the cross in the middle for the straw) make fab drip guards for ice lollies/ice creams when toddlers are eating them too slowly. Just poke the stick through the cross and off you go :) (AlCrowley)
  • Since weaning I've been concious of what's in products I buy. Often the supermarket 'value' products are actually lower in salt, sugar and other additives than the 'reduced' content ones! (victorias1982)
  • If you struggle with getting your little ones to eat their five a day, try freezing grapes. My kids love them, they taste like little sorbet balls and are really refreshing! (qwerty75)
  • If you have bananas that are about to go off peel them and freeze them in chunks to be used in smoothies or given to the kids as makeshift lollies. (TheChewyToffeeMum)
  • If you have any pots of yoghurt/ petit filous coming near to the use by date, make a slit in the lid and stick spoons (or lolly sticks if you have some) into them, freeze them and you have yummy, healthy ice creams. (honeybunmum)
  • In hot weather, empty a small amount of a bottle of mineral water, top up with squash, and freeze. The result? A block to keep your lunch-box really cool, and when it melts, a really chilly drink! (Marina)
  • Children are notorious for not eating veg... so mash up sprouts/ carrots etc with potato, mix with a beaten egg, roll them into balls, toss them in breadcrumbs, and fry them for a few minutes until golden. (Charley)
  • If you have a fussy eater who won't touch what you serve at the table, save those cardboard lunchboxes that you buy in child-friendly cafes and give your child a 'picnic' on a rug in the living room or the garden. The novelty of opening the box to see what's inside never seems to wear off! (sobernow)
  • Freeze any leftovers from weekday dinners for weekends when you come home late after a day out. Even if small portions, then at least the kids can be fed quickly and got to bed. (Nic5)
  • If my children try a new food they get points each day...the more points they earn, the bigger the prize at the end of the month! (kelandab)
  • If you've half a lemon left over from cooking (even after zesting and squeezing)pop it in your dishwasher to give extra sparkle and a fresh fragrance to your next load. (BettySpaghetti)
  • Too many Easter eggs? Melt them to make chocolate crispie cakes. At least the rice crispies have vitamins! (Aliarse)
  • In the mind of a toddler, ANYWHERE is good for a picnic. Your own garden, the car, the front room floor, the pram... (ButterpieBride)
  • Learn how to eat crisps quietly. Invest in a lockable drawer/wardrobe and hide your chocolate stash in there. (AmberLeaf)
  • Have an 'on toast' meal one night a week - saves time, money and having to think about what to have for tea for once! Even better, put the kids in charge of it. (Drmelons)
  • Promise a teddy bears' picnic in the lounge for tea if they can tidy up the toys from the floor before you have finished making it. (CoonRapids)
  • Use cut off baby socks that no longer quite fit as little juice-catching wrist bands when your darling one is first tackling fruit chunks, milk beakers and other sticky treats thereby avoiding soggy sleeves and arms. Amusingly Freddie Mercuryesque too. (minglee)
  • A way to get your child to eat his or her fruit: share it with them. If you start an apple, then begrudgingly let them take a bite - they tend to want to keep it for themselves... (Gethsemane)
  • For a bit of mealtime fun, freeze jelly babies in ice cubes (one per cube) and float them in children's drinks - causes much amusement. (LISA23)
  • Bonfire Night special: Bonfire cake - use red food colouring in a chocolate cake, then red butter icing to cover (flames) and stick chocolate flakes (logs) over the top. (Weegle)
  • Halloween Special: Always buy far too many sweets, so you can eat the remainder throughout November. Yum. (southeastsastra)
  • If you're going to be all smug about how organised you are to have dinner prepared and in the slow cooker by 9am, do check that the slowcooker is turned on at the plug. (claireybee)
  • When a recipe calls for you to weigh golden syrup, put the tin on the scales and work out how much you need to remove, rather than wasting loads sticking to the scales. (NotJustClassic)
  • Peel any ripe (but not overripe) bananas that aren't going to get eaten and stick them in the freezer. When you've got 3 or 4 - at your convenience - you can use them for banana cake. (mhmummy)
  • If you're watching what you eat, try using filo pastry instead of puff pastry as a pie topping. Psychologically you still feel like you've had the pie, but with much less calories. (johnworf)
  • When you have left over lemons, why not squeeze them into a ice cube tray, freeze them and hey presto, instant ice/lemon for those relaxing G & T's at the end of the day! (JODIEwantsanewname)
  • Use the left over juice from tinned fruit for your own ice lollies. Fruity and sweet - no waste! (babymama16)
  • Buy a slow cooker and get ahead on mealtimes; gives you more time to play with the children after a long day at work. (LeoLou)
  • Keep a bag of grated cheese in the freezer and have it ready to hand for all those emergency pasta topping moments! It's a great way to use up leftover bits, they keep fresh and you don't even need to defrost! (Fillybuster)
  • Call pineapple 'sunshine' and arrange it like the sun on a plate. Tell the kids it makes them happy and bright just like the sun if they eat it! (beaufranked)
  • Use scissors to cut up pizza instead of a pizza cutter or a knife. You can always find a pair, it's quicker and none of the toppings come off. This sounds basic but it's changed my life! (wickedwaterwitch)
  • Wash out old yoghurt corner pots and fill with greek yoghurt sweetened with a little honey/apple puree, then chop up some biscuits for the corner. Same fun but cheaper, a lot less sugar and no additives. (mammarosa)
  • To get the kids interested in food, we themed each night after countries - USA (hotdogs) was quite popular as was Italian (make your own pizza). English was a picnic on the dining room floor. (janetdowner)
  • When eating with your children refer to all vegetables by their name, i.e. eat your carrots. Once they reach primary school and their friend are telling them that vegetables are yucky, you will be one of the lucky ones who can still get your little ones to eat their 5 a day. My kids don't like 'vegatables' but will happily eat carrots, peas, leaks, broccoli and even brussel sprouts! (nikkiuk)
  • Cous cous is a great toddler food - you can mix it with pasta sauce, pureed stews, fruit puree, you name it! Quicker to prepare than pasta. (CatherineW)
  • Keep your helpful budding chef of a toddler busy while you cook by putting some flour and water in a bowl. Once they've mixed it, let them roll it and cut it into shapes using cookie cutters. Works every time with my 2.5 year old, (LittleMammaTo2)
  • If cooking for a single child, to avoid wasteing food.. cut filets of fish or chicken into toddler size portions before freezing, and only defrost the portion size you need. (yowzers)
  • To get your toddler to eat his vegetables tell them they are his favourite characters favourite dinner! We told our 2 1/2 year old that peas and sweetcorn were fireman Sams favourite and he devoured the whole lot, even asked for seconds! (MumToHB)
  • on a rainy day, have a picnic in the conservatory and pretend you are underwater! (mummyontherun)
  • My son has just started a dairy free diet. I had many people telling me I must buy the sweetened soya milks. I found that if we did not make a fuss about the change he has just adapted with what he is offered, and that was the unsweetered, and he is enjoying it. (Skeety)
  • My DCs refuse to drink fruit juice but love icelollies - it's so simple but I have only just started freezing juice and they have an ice-pop every day after school (scrabble66)
  • In the summer we love drinking homemade smoothies: together we find some milk, handful of oats, big spoon of honey, pot of greek yoghurt, ice cubes, fruit - bananas and strawberries are good. Chuck it all in the blender, mummy presses 'go' and we watch our ingredients transformed into a delicious drink that always leaves a pleasingly cute milk moustache on thirsty toddlers and instantly makes us all feel calm and happy too. (AilsaCelia)
  • if you dont want small children to play up in the supermarket for a bar of chocolate,dont start giving them chocolate at a young age or let them see you buy it for them from the supermarket, if they dont see you buy it they wont take any notice of the sweets and chocolates in the shop worked well for me i have four children and they never played up (ali65)
  • If children take a long time to eat, give them 30 mins to eat their lunch, then take it away. after that they will make sure they eat it, and fairly quickly. Worked a treat for me (julieef)
  • picky eaters? tell them that the food on offer is an acquired taste and only the sophisticated do grow to like it. (fifietta)
  • My baby is 8 months old and already a pain when it comes to eating, I always combine peekaboo with feeding time, that way when he laughs I quickly get his food in his mouth, he's so distracted he doesn't hardly realise, and eats like a good boy! (nichhh)
  • Fussy eater? Try saying would you like (for example) a piece of carrot, or a piece of broccoli? 9 times out of 10 toddlers will choose one or the other, rather than nothing at all. (veep)
  • My daughter is a fussy eater so at dinner times we have a spoon for each member of the family and by the time she's had one for Nana, one for Grandad, one for her sister, one for mummy and daddy too - and one for the family dog - it's all gone! (BurnstonesBabies)
  • Let your toddler help make their own food as much as possible and don't get too hung up on the mess. My little one wil not each vegetables but if I let him help chop them with scissors 'i can cook' style and wash them them add them to his dinner, the novelty value alone makes him eat them. (BlueJellie)
  • Worried your child's eating too many sweets/always asking for sweets why not give them yogurt coated fruit such as apricots? My son loves them & because their white he thinks their white chocolate & i'm getting fruit in him bonus!!! (LoveU2theMoonAndBack)
  • I carry dry Weetabix in a freezer bag for a handy emergency snack - doesn't matter if it gets squashed, you can always get hold of milk - instant filling meal for starving baby. Has rescued us a couple of times during airport delays etc, when just one more raisin won't do the trick... (NowWhatIsit)
  • My child won't eat oily fish but I know how important it is to her diet. I buy salmon steaks, cut into fingers, dip into beaten egg and breadcrumbs and fry. She loves them! (furbi)
  • Make ice lollies from zizzed-up fresh fruit - kids love them and they're getting some of their five-a-day so you feel good, too. (debka)
  • When you've got a birthday cake to ice or decorate, stick it in the freezer for 30 mins first. This gets rid of all the crumbs so your cake has a smooth finish. Much more impressive than lots of bumpy icing. (motherbeyond)
  • Buy garlic, chilli and ginger in bulk, whizz up and freeze in ice cube trays for when a recipe calls for a blob of each. (bundle)
  • Chop up chunks of different fruits and make up mixed bags, which can then be frozen. Nice and easy ready supply for you to pluck from freezer and pop in your child's lunchbox. (purplehat)
  • A good way to use up leftover bits of veg, cheese, meat: chop it into bits, mix into a cup of beaten egg. then fry the mixture in a little butter and serve with toast. (MrClaypole)
  • To make soft icing that pipes perfectly but also sets firmly after a couple of hours, add 1 tbsp of condensed milk for every 100g of icing sugar. (MedussaWasMisunderstood)
  • When baking with two small children, try muffins. One mixes the dry ingredients and one the wet and then they swap over. Everyone's happy and the muffins are lovely too! (pepsi)
  • Plain digestive biscuits with a smear of jam and soft cheese spread taste like cheesecake! Perfect when you need a sweet fix! (MamaG)
  • Adding a straw is a good way of getting a child to drink water. Although best not to discover this on a day out when toilet facilities are a bit limited. (angelene)
  • Falafels in the slow cooker! It shouldn't work, but it does. They don't fall apart or stick to anything, because you're really shallow frying them, just slooooooowly, on the warm setting for a couple of hours. (Aitch)
  • Get your kids interested in cooking from an early age. I have a 12 year old now who loves to cook the tea! (BlackCountryJo)
  • If, like me, you have tried everything and still can't chop an onion without crying, try chopping one with a teaspoon in your mouth. Bizarrely enough, it actually works! (thegirlwiththecurl)
  • Our children are supposed to sit nicely for dinner (that's the theory, anyway), but we make an exception for vegetables. We all suck up shredded cabbage like spaghetti, talk about being giants and eating trees (broccoli) and laugh as cherry tomatoes explode in our mouths. It has worked so much better than treating vegetables as torture that has to be survived until pudding arrives. (MrsTittleMouse)
  • If your toddler wants to know what's in their dinner, only tell them the parts of it you know they like. Honesty is not always the best policy. (floozietoozie)
  • Keep small pieces of banana in the freezer - quickly slice to cool down porridge for when a hungry toddler can't wait 30 seconds. (cleanandclothed)
  • Learn how to make basic pancakes. Not too many ingredients, easy to make, and kids can add whatever they want to them. (mpkw)
  • Make stock from chicken bones the day after a roast by placing them in water with a bay leaf, carrot and an onion. Heat slowly for several hours, strain and freeze until needed for soups and baby food. (blackrock)
  • Always keep your chocolate in a healthy looking box or disguised in the fridge if you still want it to be there when you are ready to eat it. (minipen)
  • If trying to cool down an extremely hot soup, add small frozen veggies to it. The soup will heat them up while cooling down and both can be eaten together. (MeMyselfand1)
  • Get chickens. You'll never stress about the kids leaving their crusts again... and you'll get lovely eggs. Everyone's a winner! (babster)
  • If you need a quick lunch that kids can help with, split English muffins, spread a little pasta sauce sprinkle with cheese and grill for a few mins - yum! (wildmutt)
  • Make a point of telling people proudly, while your child is listening, that they eat anything - even when they don't. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. (ForcesSweetheart)
  • For fussy eaters words can make a huge difference. Pixie Parcels are pasta filled with spinach and cheese while brussels are Leprechaun cabbage. Don't know why this works but it does for us (matisse)
  • Make meals for young children more interesting by giving food a different name. We have 'umbrellas' for mushrooms, 'tomatoes with hats' for grilled tomatoes and if my children think of the names - even better! (Lotstodo)
  • To make plain pasta more interesting to your toddlers add a few drops of food colouring to the boiling water. (wildmutt)
  • Sometimes a picnic can make lunch more appealing to little ones than eating the exact same thing at home. Pack it up and eat it in the garden if you can't get to the park... It's amazing how tempting sandwiches and fruit become when offered away from the table!! (AlCrowley)
  • If you are freezing purees, don't add water first. Your baby will move to thicker stuff quickly and you'll end up with a freezer full of stuff that's too runny. (cornishone)
  • i fill the little tommee tippee baby food tubs (£3 for 4) with ice cream from a larger tub and keep in the freezer rather than buy the individual tubs. much cheaper, much less messy than lollies and less slidey than a dish. (booboobunny)
  • To make perfect fluffy rice, seal the lid of your pan with tinfoil, shiny side facing the rice to stop steam escaping. (compingstar)
  • Peel, core and slice eating apples, and cook gently in a little water, for a lovely healthy baby dessert. Purée if baby is still young. (hgutowski)
  • Check if toddlers really have finished eating by asking them if you/a favourite toy/the dog can have some - if they are still hungry they won't like the idea of sharing! (Lorelai)
  • I was always throwing bits of dried up Ginger root into the bin after using it once or twice and I found keeping it in the freezer awkward as it was too hard to peel/grate. So now when I buy it I cut it into meal-sized pieces and THEN freeze them so when I need a piece it defrosts quickly & is already cut and ready for the wok! (Tazzeroo)
  • Rather than forking out on expensive baby food in jars. When preparing your own meal, such as chicken casserole, cottage pie etc. set aside some to whizz in a blender for the baby before you add you seasoning. Our daughter turns her nose up at shop bought jars, and we're saving a fortune! (runnerragged)
  • If you have children who take packed lunches to school, keep a box of extra's like cereal bars, muffins, flapjack, in a separate tin/box so that your teenagers dont eat them all and leave you with nothing for the lunch box! (MrsWeasley)
  • try offering foods that your toddler is refusing on cocktail sticks- the additional work will be all worth it once they have finished all their broccoli/meat/[insert offending food item] (TheMysticMasseuse)
  • Even a child of less than two can help to prepare her own dinner: I chop; my toddler pops the food into a pan or onto her plate. And it's when she has helped to get the meal ready that she eats the most. (nickif6)
  • Help your children to be interested in nature by growing things with them. For example:growing cress in an empty egg shell and draw a face on the outside. When the cress is ready they can cut them and put on the egg and cress sandwiches. (keykeykey)
  • Cooking basmati rice: Put the required amount in a large pan with lots and lots of boiling water, and boil rapidly for exactly 8 minutes. Drain, cover and leave for a further 8 minutes, or longer if you need it to be kept. Perfect rice. (PavlovtheCat)
  • Getting toddlers to help unload veggie boxes is a great way to learn vegetable names & even persuade them to eat some (suzannened)
  • pop an ice cube into soup for little ones, it helps to cool it down (Lilted)
  • Use an egg cup to serve foods that you want your child to have small portions of. I use them for any sweets my four year old has been given, or ice cream. She thinks she's having loads because the pot is full. (picklepud)
  • Make extra mashed potato when you're cooking for a meal, then freeze individual discs in child size portions - perfect for using as topping for shepherd's pie, or as a fast meal accompaniment on a week night - defrosts in seconds in the microwave! (DoNotFeedMeBiscuits)
  • Make porridge in the slow cooker overnight to save time in the morning. DH can get his before he leaves for work, turn it to 'warm' and then it's ready to serve as soon as the children wake up. (ihavenewsockson)
  • To thicken up sauces, shepherds pie etc if you have no cornflour...good old baby rice works a treat!! (MilkNoSugarPlease)
  • Breakfast cereal in a food bag (without milk!) makes a good snack for a toddler when out and about in the pushchair or car. (jenniferturkington)
  • the ice-cream lady visits only when we have all been good. (it's just me in a silly hat really, but there are sprinkles/soft fruit to make it special) this is a good dinner time bribe and also stops us having ice cream every day, stretching out the tub! (mummybrained)
  • No time to ice cupcakes? Spread some chocolate spread on them! (Sekhmet)
  • Give your children their veggies as a starter. They'll eat more because they are hungry, especially if you let them eat with their fingers, and it also gives a few minutes for the 'main' course to cool down a bit. (bosch)
  • Bake a whole aubergine til squishy, peel, chop and scrape into a tomato sauce for a secret veg portion. (GladioliBuckets)
  • Entice fussy eaters to try more fruit and veg by arranging pieces of fruit/veg/crudities into pictures of people and landscapes. E.g. tomato slice ears, cauliflower hair etc etc. Makes dinnertime fun as they giggle at the thought of eating someone's body parts! (scubamummy)
  • having rice trouble??? when boiling rice always rinse in cold water first. only stop rinsing when the water is not cloudy and the grains will not stick together. (aristocat)
  • Persevere with feeding your kids lentils, they really are a wonder food: cheap, quick to cook, nutritious, go brilliantly with kids favourites like sausages and chicken or make wonderful vegetarian dishes. (PommePoire)
  • Hide cauliflower in your mashed potato. It will look the same as normal mash so even the fussiest eater won't complain! (poodle1977)
  • Get yourself a silicone tray of 12 muffin size or so, apart from making muffins in them they are also perfect size to freeze food for baby in small portions and have it ready in under a minute for when you need it. If you need bigger portion take out 2 muffin sized frozen food portions as baby grows. (IrinaGem)
  • Kids aged 8 plus? Get them to make their own packed lunches: they get to choose what they have (within reason, as you have stocked the fridge/larder!) and it saves you a job or 3! Mine love it - and are hugely grateful when - on special occasions - I make it for them! It's also a very sociable 15 mins in the kitchen the night before...! (JoBo69)
  • Make different coloured pancakes by separating the batter into different bowls and adding a dash of different food colouring to each. Works particularly well with American pancakes or drop scones that you can stack up and make into a 'rainbow'. (Mummypumpkin)
  • take a pot of fromage frais, poke a hole in the lid and stick a spoon (or lolly stick) in. Freeze it and you get a healthy ice-cream like snack. (honeybunmum)
  • Encourage children to eat their five a day by making pizzas and give them a selection of fruit and vegetables to use as toppings. (joatcanterbury)
  • Fussy eaters. Try not to cook a separate meal for the kids. Always give them a portion of what your eating, that way they get used to different foods and even if they don't eat it they'll have tried it. They can always just eat the veg if they don't like what you're eating. My 2 and 4 year old love mussels, who would have thought it! (candish63)
  • if you have cooked too much pasta or rice, you can cool it and freeze it in bags ready for microwaving at a later stage (mrshumphreyjr)
  • Silicone muffin trays are a great alternative to those (expensive and easy to lose) containers used for freezing baby food. I freeze the food in the tray, pop it out and store in a freezer bag. (BustleInYourHedgerow)
  • I found sitting opposite, rather than next to DS helped him learn to feed himself at mealtimes. He could see and copy me better sat opposite and I was less able to swoop and take over when he was struggling. (AlCrowley)
  • As toddlers alphabetty spaghetti is great for learning letters. when they get older give them the regular stuff and tell them they can practise joined up writing :-D (Gigantaur)
  • Let your toddler allow you to make dinner in peace by involving him too. Let him stand at the sink and wash all the veg, then put in the colander to drain. (sunmonkey)
  • Make soup with leftover veg that's almost past it's best. It can be frozen if you don't need it that day. (craftynclothy)
  • Buy an ice lolly kit and make your own lolly pops with the children - a fun way of getting fruit (and water) down them if they are fussy eaters and its a healthier alternative to chocolate! (PussinJimmyChoos)
  • freeze fresh chillies in the drawer of your freezer easy to chop too (QueuePosition3)
  • Kids not eating their packed lunch at school ? allow them to make their own packed lunch (with a supervisory glance over their shoulder !) They feel more involved and actually want to eat what they 'cooked' all by themselves ! (mas73)
  • Use stickers to appeal to young children who might need a bit of encouraging to eat fruit. A Disney sticker on a banana can make all the difference to a fussy eater! (sanatogen)
  • When left with (for eg) one pork chop, refreeze it with the label from the pack showing through the bag so you know what it is (QueuePosition3)
  • Zoom food in as an aeroplane (sounds too) when babies/toddlers lose interest - or to establish enthusiasm in the first place. They then associate eating with having fun - a useful life skill. (hourlate)
  • When feeding baby, strap him/her into the high chair THEN put the bib on. This way the bib covers the straps as well as the baby and you have slightly less cleaning up to do afterwards :) (AlCrowley)
  • always cook rice ahead for better egg fried rice - it keeps fine in the fridge (QueuePosition3)
  • If your little one seems stroppy and likely to refuse food, don't offer it - make like you're going to eat it all and wait for them to ask for it. (TheButterflyEffect)
  • Place food in little serving bowls for your children to help themselves too. Chances are they will enjoy serving themselves and will be more likely to try new things and eat a bit more. (Hulababy)
  • Use a tea strainer over a small dish to get lumps out of home made baby food without the mess of a big sieve. (becky7000)
  • Make up a big batch of sandwiches on the weekend and freeze them. They'll defrost in their lunchbox by lunchtime. (ataraxia)
  • Top tip for a yummy breakfast...prepare your porridge the night before, with sultanas or dried apricots in...cover with milk and keep in the fridge. The fruits will be really moist and lovely! (CheeryCherry)
  • Let children help you cook. Even two-year-olds can stir or squeeze a tube of tomato puree. They are so much more likely to eat their food, and you can find out they suddenly hate an ingredient before you add it. (TheButterflyEffect)
  • Frozen strawberries make tasty, healthy snacks on a hot day. (BonzoDoodah)
  • Pop frozen waffles in the toaster instead of wasting money heating up the oven... (Lizmumofisabella)
  • My young son (a year old) has started growing his own fruit & veg, he loves reaping the benefits of his labour! Gone are the days when greens are a huge no no! (VoluptuousLife)
  • Grapes are a much loved child food but are one of the greatest hazards for children due to choking - nothing to cough against on their smooth surface. Cut grapes in half and stick them in a bowl - stress free and still as tasty. (BonzoDoodah)
  • Cut pizzas up before you put them in the oven then push them back together to cook. No more burnt fingers afterwards... And using a big pair of scissors (if you don't have a pizza wheel) makes it even easier. Biscuit cutters make for fun shapes if you have a fussy eater / want lots of smaller pizza portions, again all done cold and then pulled apart afterwards. (zipzap)
  • to get your kids to eat more fruit, make pineapple into long thick strips and turn them into lollipops (juggler1000)
  • kids want milkshake - you want them to have watered down fruit juice or plain milk -combine the 2 it works for grape, pomegranate and apple juice - may work for others this way we are all happy! (purpledolphin)
  • Keep a supply of long life cereal bars in the cupboard. You never know when you might run out of breakfast stuff and forget to get it the night before! (ButterpieBride)
  • At weaning stage try to give all kinds of tastes so that they get used to and later they will not have an aversion to a certain type of food. (divyasundar)
  • To avoid potential dangerous polymers seeping in to your food from cling wrap or even plastic lunch boxes, store your foodstuff in glass and use the cling film stretched over the top of the dish - not in actual contact. I like to use old Nutella containers for small quantities. (bkgirl)
  • If baby isn't eating the jar of food you bought mix with a mashed banana or some puréed apple. They don't know the difference between sweet and savoury and it will save you some cash. (lynnelou)
  • Vitamin C - even more vit c than oranges is to be found in beetroot. Simply grate a raw beetroot into salads or a pasta sauce and voila! The kids won't even notice they're eating it! (Donkeyswife)
  • Want cheap and yummy veggies? Go to a pick your own (pyo) farm. We went yesterday and got an abundance of really tasty strawberries, raspberries, onions, spinach, beetroot and courgettes. All at a fraction of the cost from a market. Kids loved it as did we. (Donkeyswife)
  • Ketchup mad kids? Pop down the the pound shop & buy a box of silicon mini cupcake moulds. Then you can then give them their own personal 'bowl' of sauce without having the debate about 'not having enough' then sling them in the dishwasher afterwards. (whomovedmychocolate)
  • I change the name of meals for my two fussy eaters. They refused a Spanish omelette when offered, but when I offered 'chumbawumba' and gave them a Spanish omelette, there were clean plates all round! (smoothieo)
  • Want a fizzy drink but don't want to share with the kids? Put it in a mug- they will assume it's tea or coffee and leave well alone as they sip their watered down fruit juice. (Butterpie)
  • Get your children involved in growing your own food. The only reason my son has tried courgettes for the first time is that he grew it! (WowOoo)
  • In hot weather, meet the kids at school with ice lollies in a freezer pack. (Simasmum)
  • Make food more interesting on the plate, serving it in different shapes to encourage eating like Mr Men characters or funny faces, to take the stress out of meal times. (brocher)
  • When your child declares that something is their favourite food do NOT go to the supermarket and stock up with a year's supply because they are on offer. The child always goes off said food a week later and you will end up with a mountain of tortillas, breakfast cereal, or raspberry lollies. (inthesticks)
  • Make up a big tub of jelly to keep in the fridge. Then you can add bits of fruit to a smaller tub of it to take out with you or even ice cream if you are at home. The jelly will last a few days and do a good few meals. (KTWAKEY)
  • The thick Japanese noodles, udon noodles, are great baby food. They're chunky enough for little hands to hold onto and easy to cook in a hurry. (iSplat)
  • Don't throw away the rind from your parmesan - keep it and throw it into home made soups or stews during the cooking to give them a flavour boost. Don't eat it though as it is a bit chewy! (vole3)
  • If they're being fussy eaters, or just as a treat, let them choose a Play-Doh or biscuit cutter and cut their sandwiches into shapes of their choice. Always goes down well as a surprise in a packed lunch. (jogro)
  • If your toddler says he/she doesn't want any more dinner, ask if one of his/her toys can have some instead - if they aren't really finished they won't like that idea! (Lorelai)
  • If your child is bored of you picking what's for dinner, make a list of the meals you make and on Friday evening pick six out of a hat. Sort them for each day and write it down and put it on the fridge. Nice budget for food no waste and everyone know what is for dinner each night. (emmybehr)
  • Fill ice-cream cones with yoghurt and chopped fruit to beat the heat. (Onestonetogo)
  • Always keep a couple of frozen sandwiches in the freezer - for emergency packed lunches when you're running late on a school morning. (MamaG)
  • Freeze children's smoothies or yoghurts for healthier 'ice cream'. Start them young enough and they'll never know any better! (wahwah)
  • Avoid giving sugar-laden fizzy drinks to your children by replacing them with a small amount of fresh fruit juice topped up with sparkling water. (Replacing the fizzy drinks that is, not the children!) (MarionCrane)
  • Crust-avoiding bread eaters will scoff much more of the sandwich if you cut it diagonally because there is more 'crust free' area available to them (well, there isn't but it looks like there is and by the time they've worked this out, they are generally old enough to realise crusts are not deadly). (whomovedmychocolate)
  • Unless you wish her to be a vegetarian, never let your toddler watch her favourite local pig being shot, killed, skinned and gutted. (artichokes)
  • When you have visiting children for dinner, serve everything up on platters or in serving dishes and let them help themselves. Children will often eat more this way. (Hulababy)
  • Don't assume supermarkets are cheaper than direct delivery! Our local organic veg box (£5) and fruit box (£3) are far far better value for purse and conscience. (MaeBee)
  • Don't waste leftover wine - freeze it in an ice cube tray for use in casseroles and sauces. (yackertyyack)
  • To stop peeled apple going brown and soggy in your child's lunchbox, wrap it in clingfilm immediately after peeling. It's more likely to get eaten if it keeps its natural colour. (Littlekickers)
  • Buy new packed-lunch bags now, ready for September. There are loads of cool-bags around for those not wanting characters, and prices will by hiked up come August. (Posey)
  • Don't eat couscous whilst mumsnetting. Getting the grains out from between the keys will use up all your time. (Katsh)
  • If your child refuses a meal put the untouched food into a tupperware box & stick in the fridge and present it again when they ask for a snack or for their next meal. Saves on waste & encourages them to eat what is offered first time round. (superflybaby)
  • My son will eat vegetables, providing we've grown them ourselves. It's been a great introduction to new foods... and he's broadening his tastes! (blackrock)
  • Kids refusing to try foods they've previously hated? Tell them now they're 'so grown up' they've got grown up taste buds and will love broccoli/sprouts etc. Worked a treat on the kids I lied to. (Willow)
  • Keep a little box of chopped up fruit and veg in the fridge. Easy to grab when you are in a rush and for your little one to help themselves. (shoptilidrop)
  • Instead of buying fresh lemons and only using half, squeeze the juice out and freeze it, you can use the ice cubes in your G & T's! (JODIEhavingababy)
  • If it's tricky getting your child to eat fruit and veg, juice it. Sneak carrots in with apple or orange juice. Add juiced strawberries or raspberries to milk for instant pink milk. (emmybel)
  • If you have a toddler that loves to throw food on the floor, put an extra plate on the table and they might put the food on the spare plate instead! (jmg4321)
  • If one of your children is being fussy about their food, offer to give it to their sibling - it usually makes them want to eat it themselves! (Pamina)
  • Buy one of those short, wide flasks (sold at GLTC). My son now has hot pasta, rice, soup - it has revolutionised our packed lunches! (Saffy1)
  • Plain popcorn makes an excellent and nutritious packed lunch filler. (NaughtyNigel)
  • To make fruit go further, cut it in half. They are more likely to eat the whole piece, and its better than them nibbling round the edges then throwing it away (estar)
  • If cooking for picky children who 'hate onions' try using red onions.They become invisible in a bolognese sauce unlike standard white onions which seem to send kids over the edge. (Cremolafoam)
  • Batch-cook savoury muffins weeks ahead and freeze them once cooled. At Christmas, defrost and warm through in the oven for that 'just-cooked taste' (cazmo)
  • If you have tubes of yoghurt/fromage frais nearing their best before date, stick them in the freezer. Kids can't get enough of them and it's a healthier alternative to ice-cream. (thelittlestboho)
  • Add yoghurt rather than milk to cornflakes or rice crispies - it will make them stick together, so novice self-spooners get more into their mouths! (HysterSister)
  • Don't let leftover/untouched veggies go to waste. When cool, blitz in a blender along with some grated cheese and a little plain yoghurt and make a veggie dip/pate. Serve chilled with toast/pitta strips or crudites. (LemonTart)
  • Buy a packet of cheap plastic spoons to send with lunch box yoghurts, and welcome all your real cutlery home again! (GrumpyOldHorsewoman)
  • For an easy way to add protein to 'weaning' meals, make up a batch of cheese sauce and freeze in ice cube trays and add one to any combination of the veggies you've already frozen. (Noodlecup)
  • You can pick up a food flask for your baby/toddler food for less than a fiver. It stays warm for up to 4-5 hours and it's SO useful not to have to ask people to heat food up when out and about. (cmm)
  • For children who think they are too old for bibs, keep a couple of old t-shirts for them to wear when messy food is on the menu. (isaidno)
  • If your toddler won't eat his dinner, try spreading it on toast. Fishcakes on toast, lasagne on toast, pasta bake on toast... yum! (AnnieAlcoholLeft)
  • For kids that won't wear bibs, keep a couple of old t- shirts for when messy food is on the menu. (Isaidno)
  • Increase your child's vegetable intake by making them parsnip "chips". It took my eldest six months to realise his chips weren't potatoes. (Pixie81)
  • Don't give your real-nappy-clad toddler curry for tea, three days in a row. Trust me - it's not a good idea. (Miaou)
  • Keep the water you boil vegetables (except potatoes) in. Leave to cool then decant into ice-cube trays and freeze. It makes great ready-made vegetable stock for making baby food with. (Vivaaustria)
  • Line lunch-boxes with old carrier bags. If you want to know why, try emptying a yoghurt into your child's lunch-box and whirling it round your head a few times. (AlienEarsUnderSantas)
  • Use big wide pasta bowls instead of plates for your children's food. Much easier for them to handle, and virtually eliminates mess spilling onto the table. (roisin)
  • Don't bother buying a specific carving kit, a melon-baller is great for scooping out the insides of pumpkins. (moaningpaper)
  • If you've got fussy eaters, try cooking chilli con carne with baked beans instead of kidney beans. (TheDaVinciCod)
  • Instead of forking out on the expensive cereal bars, I make a basic flapjack recipe and add store cupboard stuff - dried apricots, dates, sunflower seeds or whatever's to hand. The kids love them and they cost pence! (EmmaGee)
  • Add grated carrot or parsnip to the fruit filling of a pie or crumble. It saves money and increases vegetable intake. (aeadkins)
  • Get into the habit of offering baby COLD food from weaning. If you're caught out you can feed from a jar without having to beg someone to heat it up. (rlucy)
  • If your toddler won't eat vegetables, serve them first, and don't bring out the rest of the meal until a few mouthfuls have been eaten. It usually works. (EasyTanya)
  • If your little one isn't keen on vegetables, try adding a little cinnamon to make them taste sweeter, without loading up on sugar. (Ponka)
  • My children often refuse a whole apple but when I put a plate of sliced apple in front of them while they're watching TV, they start eating automatically. (anon6)
  • Freeze segments of tangerines/clementines for a cooling and refreshing snack. Break the segments up first and lay them out on a tray to freeze. (bon)
  • Struggling to get your child to eat enough fruit? Try mashing the fruit up with good quality vanilla ice-cream. (Socci)
  • Freeze fromage frais tubs for a real summer treat. Kids love them as they are similar to mini- milk lollies. (Cal)
  • If serving melon to older babies or children, puree and freeze the rest as lollies - delicious for them and you. (kipper22)
  • Freeze bottles of water then put the frozen bottle in the packed lunch box in the morning on a hot summer day and there'll be nice cool water for lunch time. (Popsycal)
  • If you have a fussy child, get a plate with divided sections when offering new foods, then you can put the new food in one area and it won't 'infect' the rest of the meal. (OliveWhoIsNotHereOhN)
  • So young babies don't miss out in the summer, use breast or formula milk in ice lollies moulds. Perfect for teething babies, too. (yackertyyack)
  • Never give up presenting vegetables to fussy eaters. I put peas and broccoli on my son's plate countless times and he always refused them until one day he tried the peas and now he loves them. (bernieandblanket)
  • Keep a bowl in your fridge filled with things like carrot sticks, grapes and chunks of melon. After school put it out at your child's level so healthy snacking becomes a habit. (welshmum)
  • Use vinegar and water to get tomato ketchup stains out of clothes. (veryashamed)
  • For toddlers that are not keen on eggs, try making french toast (eggy bread) spread with marmite and cut into soldiers. (gingerbear)
  • Add a slug of orange juice to hot savoury meals - it cools them down, adds a natural sweetener, and a small amount of vitamin C. Makes previously rejected meals go down a treat. (madcowmagda)
  • Adding chopped fresh tomatoes when you heat up tinned spagetti, baked beans etc is a useful way of getting a portion of vegetables eaten, especially if your children are vegetable-haters. (tigermoth)
  • Don't be too proud to make weird combinations of food - raisins have saved our three year old from eating nothing! He has mashed potato and raisins, cereal and raisins, sandwiches and raisins, spaghetti bolognese and raisins.... (tortoiseshell)
  • Every couple of weeks give your high chair a good scrub down in the bath. It keeps it much cleaner and prevents the build up of grime. (Beanfrog)
  • Instead of buying expensive children's dinner plates, cups etc, buy a cheap colourful plastic picnic set. Unbreakable, and my children love to choose the colour they are having at tea! (lumpkin)
  • Grate carrot into soups and sauces for extra vitamins. They are undetectable. (fishfinger)
  • Freeze sauces in ice cubes. Useful when you just need a small portion and don't want to waste a jar. I freeze tomatoe sauces for pasta and sweet and sour sauces for noodles or rice. Then just defrost one or two cubes as and when you need them. (Kayleigh)
  • To get my children to eat vegetables, I offer 3 or 4 different types at each meal. I serve them in bowls on the table and the rule is they must eat at least one type. It makes them feel in control if they can choose. (anorak)
  • Get your toddler to help you make a fruit salad. It's a brilliant way to help them learn about different fruits and eat them at the same time. (Northerner)
  • To get your children to eat more vegetables, gently cook a bag of mixed frozen vegetables and a finely sliced potato in a little water for 20 minutes. Blend thoroughly, and add a little milk. My children will even eat brussels this way! (scoobytwoshoes)
  • To get my children to eat vegetables, I offer three or four different types at each meal. I serve them in bowls on the table and the rule is they must eat at least one type. It makes them feel in control if they can choose. (anorak)
  • For a quick lunch I mash a banana and mix it with a little ready-made custard. My kids love this and it's a healthy and filling snack. (lielie)
  • If you're having trouble weaning your child on to a variety of tastes, add a little of new things to mashed potato so that the taste isn't so strong. (TiredBunny)
  • Store spare expressed breast milk in ice - cube trays. It can be mixed with early food at the start of weaning. I did it and it worked perfectly. (ozzy)
  • If your baby won't take food from a spoon, offer the food to them on your finger. I only discovered this yesterday, but it works so far. (lappa)
  • To encourage children to eat healthy snacks such as cucumber or bell pepper slices, provide them with a dip. Yogurt, hummous and mashed avocado make great dips and are healthy snacks as well. (Mrsmac)
  • Make meal times fun. Our daughter thinks it's hysterical when we tell her 'whatever you do don't eat that carrot' and pretend to be distraught when she does. (Thomcat)
  • With fussy eaters try putting the food on your plate, they're much more interested in it (tonysab)
  • Difficulty getting your toddler to eat vegetables? Serve them first, and don't bring out the rest of the meal until a few mouthfuls have been eaten. (EasyTanya)
  • Don't slave over the Christmas lunch - ready made extras will taste just as good and leave you with more time to enjoy the family. (ladymuck)
  • If your child is fussy about vegetables, grate them into whatever dish you are making. They tend to cook down into unrecognisable, yet nutritious mush. (Dior)
  • If you've got two fussy eaters, try making one big bowl of food for them to share and watch them compete to eat more than the other. (gtyrell)
  • Brighten up plain water with ice cubes - a cheaper, more healthy alternative to most squash and juice concoctions. (Tigermoth)
  • For fussy eaters the easiest way to achieve their daily quota of fruit and veg is to juice it. Carrot and apple is lovely and sweet or make up your own recipes banana, natural yoghurt and some milk is a firm favourite with mine. (Calcium)
  • Add a slug of orange juice to hot savoury meals - it cools them down,adds a natural sweetner, and a small amount of vitamin C. Makes previously rejected meals go down a treat. (madcowmadga)
  • Add chopped up soft pasta to regular purees to make the transition from pureed to lumpier food. It's worked for my two. (hollydolly)
  • A shower curtain (old or from a cheap store) makes an ideal splashmat for mealtimes, painting and general messy fun. As well as being huge, they can usually be washed in the machine. (Punnet)
  • Don't be too proud to add weird combinations of food - raisins have saved our three year old from eating nothing! He has mashed potato and raisins, cereal and raisins, sandwiches and raisins, Spaghetti bolognese and raisins.... (musica)
  • For a fun tea that kids love to help prepare, buy ready made mini pizza bases, set out a conveyor belt of healthy toppings and let the kids create their own pizza faces. (Beccarollover)
  • Allow one Pick a day a week for fussy eaters, where they can choose exactly what they are having for dinner. (Momof2)
  • Always put baby cutlery on the table/highchair, even if they're still at finger food stage, so they can get used to its presence,and use it when the time is right for them. (Ixel)
  • Don't be specific about what your fussy eater is eating when you serve just say it's their favourite and also their favorite tv character's favourite - works for me everytime. (Gizmo71)
  • When children are losing their front teeth don't forget to chop fruit up for them as they can't bite into an apple or pear without it hurting their wobbly ones. (Soapbox)
  • If you are having trouble getting your toddler to eat his/her meals, try sitting with them and reading a story. Otherwise get a little cassette player for their table and let them choose a favourite tape to play while they eat supper.It works a treat with mine. (jessi)
  • If they won't eat fruit- thinly slice an apple and just leave it in front of them when they are watching TV - they will eat it without noticing. (Couchbeings)
  • When your baby is well established on solids it makes life a lot easier if you can get him/her to eat the same as everyone else. Lunches like scrambled egg on toast, baked potatoes with cheese , sandwiches with suitable fillings suit adults and children alike. It saves on money ,time and washing up. (collette)
  • When trying to feed a distracted, fussy baby, give them a spoon of their own and let them think they are feeding themselves. Then, whilst they're not paying attention, stuff the food in yourself. It works every time! (Caspar)
  • Add a couple of ice cubes to hot food, like soup or stews, so that your child doesn't have to wait for it to cool down. (Demented)
  • When your child is past the ice cube tray method for home made foods, upgrade to larger disposable drinking cups. They hold loads, are cheap and can be re-used at home or disposed of if out on a trip. (punnet)
  • Make tomato based pasta sauces and then freeze as ice cubes. Defrost two or three cubes in the microwave and stir into pasta. this can also be done with your kid's favourite jar of sauce to save on both time and waste. (Kayleigh)
  • When giving young kids hot food, give them a plastic spoon to eat it with. They don't heat up like a metal spoon and can also be bought in bulk at supermarkets. (oblong)
  • Our fruit bowl used to be out of reach for our four year old. When we moved it to another place within his reach, his fruit intake rocketed as he helped himself to fruit during the day. (tigermoth)
  • For fussy eaters, always give them a choice of two foods. This way they feel they are making the decision, however small that may be! (mabsy)
  • For a healthy snack, cut extra baby-finger sized chunks of veg every time you cook, and keep in a tub in the fridge. (Lucy123)
  • When your child starts feeding himself and refuses to let you help but ends up wearing most of it, give them a spoon for each hand and have a spoon for yourself. This will make them think they are in charge whilst stopping them from playing with the food, enabling you to spoon it in. (labcm)
  • If you have trouble getting your kids to eat a variety of vegetables, try butternut squash(remove skin and seeds then chop and boil).It's easily disguised in mashed potatoes and turns them a lovely orangey shade. My kids love these special potatoes. (jazzymalloo)
  • For a healthy alternative to biscuits to get two mini rice cakes, put a tiny bit of jam on one and a tiny bit of peanut butter on the other and squash them together. An even healthier option is to fill them with mashed banana.My daughter loves them. (mollymay)
  • My daughter will not drink milk from a cup at all, to encourage her to drink at least some I give her a straw with her bowl of cereal in the morning and all the milk miraculously disappears! (Wedgiesmum)
  • We have found that cooking dinners in a slow cooker ensures dinner is at the same time every day which means that we can all eat together. It also saves time in the evening when there are a million and one other things to do. (Juggler)
  • Don't ever ask what your children would like for supper if you think they will say nuggets or sausages every time. Prepare whatever you decide on (within reason). Present it to your children only when they are hungry and tell them it's that or bread and butter. It works with my two most of the time. (youcandoit)
  • Frozen spinach is fantastic: it's nutritious, it comes in handy portions and is practically undetectable when mixed into other foods such as mash and tinned spaggetti. (witchypoo)
  • Encourage your kids to have water with at least one meal a day, and that water is the best drink to have when your thirsty. It sets a good lifetime habit of less sweet drinks in their diets. (Batey)
  • Use rice cakes as a snack for children from six months (salt free if under a year). You can get organic, sugar-free ones in all supermarkets. They don't spoil mealtimes and though messy, it's a dry mess that is easily cleaned up. (jenni)
  • When starting your child on baby rice, mix the rice in the lid of the bottle that they're going to drink anyway. It's about the right size and it saves extra washing up. (karenfev)
  • To encourage an interest in eating fruit and veg, grow some... there's nothing quite as good as a tomato or strawberry straight off the plant. (emmagee)
  • Make a game of counting how many different fruits (including juice) and vegetables your child has had during the day. As well as being educational (numbers and fruit and vegetable recognition)it helps even faddy eaters eat a wider diet. (Lynnw)
  • If your child will not eat greens, puree them into a tomato sauce to serve with pasta - easy to freeze too! (grommit)
  • Give your child a healthy start to the day by giving them pancakes mixed with fruit. I mix bananas into the batter or squeeze fresh orange juice over them. Even if they don't eat their school dinner, it means they've had protein at the start of the day. (Monty)
  • For some reason toddlers seem happy to eat sandwiches cut into pretty shapes with biscuit cutters - mine even eats the offcuts but won't touch ordinary square or triangular sandwiches! Strange but true! (Fleabag)
  • Give carrot juice as an alternative to fruit juice - my daughter loves it and doesn't realise that it's not fruit. (pamina)
  • Stir soft cheese into tinned spaghetti to con a fussy eater into consuming more calcium. (bethscott)
  • I use coffee stirers to make kebabs (with anything. One of my son's favourites is sausage and baby tomatoes. I got the idea when I made fruit kebabs for his birthday party, he will eat almost anything if it's on a stick. (Enchanted)
  • If your child will not eat his/her food try a bit of reverse psychology. Tell them that they had better not eat anything that is on their dish! Their desire to be naughty overwhelms their desire not to eat anything, so before you know it they have licked their plate clean! (Rhubarb)
  • Give food interesting names to entice your children to eat - we have dragon soup, monster mash and spaghetti is slimy snakes etc. (RachelB)
  • When trying new foods with children do not give up until you have tried to introduce the new taste at least 12 times but do it in a relaxed way and accept that it will take time for new tastes to be accepted. (SueWontroba)
  • If your toddler will not give up their formula milk for cow's milk, try mixing up half and half and then gradually increasing until it is all cows milk. (cathmack)
  • Put a note into their lunch box each day. For example, 'Mum loves you', 'Have a good day' or 'enjoy your apple'. I find it encourages them to eat the contents and they are always excited to tell me at the end of school what the note said. (lucyanne)
  • If you do a lot of home cooking,instead of buying sticky labels, get some masking tape from your local DIY. It's cheaper and you can write out what it is in full, date, contents, how many it is for etc without running out of space. (Casbie)
  • For some reason toddlers seem happy to eat sandwiches cut into pretty shapes with biscuit cutters. Mine even eats the offcuts but won't touch ordinary square or triangular sandwiches! (Fleabag)
  • Give carrot juice as an alternative to fruit juice. My daughter loves it and doesn't realise that it's not fruit. (pamina)
  • Babywear catalogues are ideal if your toddler requires entertainment in order to sit still in a high chair for more than a couple of minutes. They love looking at the photos of babies and it doesn't matter if the catalogues get covered in food. (Bossykate)
  • When trying new foods with children do not give up until you have tried to introduce the new taste at least 12 times. Always do it in a relaxed way and accept that it will take time for new tastes to be accepted. (SueWontroba)
  • I have a stash of coffee stirers that I aquired from various cafes. To entice my son to eat I make kebabs. One of his favourites is sausage and baby tomatoes but you can use anything. He will eat almost anything if it's on a stick! (Enchanted)
  • Get toddlers to eat raw carrot sticks by saying any hungry bunny rabbits here? it always works and saves having to cajole them into eating the cooked version! I also grate cheese in a bowl and say I hope that mouse doesn't eat this when I'm not looking and of course he does. It helps if your children like pretending to be animals I suppose.
  • If your toddler won't eat fruit, chop up apples, pears, bananas, add some raisins and put these into a bag to go and 'feed the ducks with'. Suprise! The kids eat most of the fruit and share just a few bits with the ducks! (AngelaMedwaySmith)
  • Freeze chunks of melon with lolly sticks stuck into them. They're delicious, free of colourings and flavourings but best of all they simply defrost and don't drip so you don't get the sticky aftermath. (janet)
  • If your children will eat mashed potato but not cauliflower, mash cauli (or other veg) into their potato, they won't know they are eating it (stumo)
  • If your child is a fussy eater and only wants to eat the good stuff, fool them with a mix of food. My baby, Maisy, would only eat rusks for breakfast and I wanted her to have weetabix so I mixed one weetabix with one rusk and after a few mouthfuls she ate the lot. Eventually I will cut out the rusk altogether. (lilly72)
  • If you have trouble getting your toddler to drink water pour it into an unusual vessel such as plastic stacking 'cups'... my son is so thrilled by this the water is gone in seconds and he is asking for more! (Cecila)
  • When trying to get your baby to drink something other than milk or water, try offering diluted apple juice or one of the baby drinks flavoured with apple. In my experience babies seems to prefer this flavour to any others initially. (MaryC)
  • My son will not eat anything in his high chair. However, if he sits on my husband's lap we have more success. (Louise 2728)
  • Provide easy-to-get-at healthy snacks for weekend breakfasts and show your five year old like its a special surprise. Ours gets up early and gets breakfast for itself and smaller sibling while we doze happily until a civilized hour. (fish)
  • If your child won't eat vegetables, use the water they were cooked in to make soups or sauces, and disguise the veg in mashed potato.
  • For a quick nutritious meal, mix a can of tuna chunks, some instant mash (made in the microwave if you want to save even more time) and grated cheese. Stick in the oven or under the grill for five to ten minutes and hey presto!
  • I sit my toddler on the edge of the kitchen sink to wash his hands after a meal. Sounds a simple way to clean up but it took me 2 years and a variety of cloths, flannels and kitchen towels before I thought of it!
  • Try giving foods your kids don't like funny names. My children used to turn their noses up at omelettes but now I call them a b c b g bees they tuck into them.
  • Let your toddler taste any food they express an interest in - even if they don't like it, it helps prevent food faddishness later on, and it makes it far easier to eat out with a child. Even when small my children enjoyed garlic bread.
  • If you're struggling to get your toddler to eat in his/her high chair, try a booster seat. We've found that ours eat much better sitting round the big table with adults.
  • Feed toddlers en masse where possible! If you meet up with other mums/ carers for meals there's plenty of people to help tidy up, the children eat better, it helps get you through that early evening slump and mums with new second babies get the chance to feed them in (relative) peace.
  • My secret weapon on the food front is parsley. It contains Vitamin C, iron, calcium and sodium and can be hidden in almost any savoury food.
  • When meal times become a battlefield, put what they like under a layer of vegetables and on top of that a layer of mashed potato topped with cheese - it works with both of mine, although they're still not keen on anything green.
  • If your baby won't eat lumps (and that means they're not getting any meat or fish) give them the gravy or broth left over from cooking the meat or fish as a soup.
  • Bagel is a great teething foodstuff. It is naturally chewy, and slightly sweet. It keeps my baby occupied for ages.
  • Disguise vegetables in casseroles and stews by grating them finely before serving at the table. They are hard to find in the sauce.
  • Baby 'canapes' can be made with Shreddies and small pieces of banana placed on top.
  • If you want your kids to eat sandwiches - try using a biscuit cutter to cut them into interesting shapes - it worked for us and was particularly useful for children's parties. If you cut carefully there's very little wastage.
  • Humous is just a great food for babies/ kids. Whack it on some bread/ rice cake and you have a nutritious snack in minutes flat. I've hardly come across a young child who won't eat it. (Nancy)
  • Move your child from bottle to beaker as soon after his first birthday as possible. It will take a bit of effort to adjust but it's much easier doing it now than later (when they really know their own mind) and it's better for their teeth. (Jraven)
  • Try giving teething babies those hard chewy fruit bars you can buy in health food shops. Keeps my son happy for ages and it's all natural ingredients. (Soup)
  • If you're really struggling to get your child to eat veg, try mixing them with a dollop of petit filous. That was literally the only way my little boy would eat any. (Bells)
  • At dinner, give your baby some finger food from your plate to keep her happy while you eat. You can spoon mush in at the same time. Broccoli or pitta bread goes down well with mine, and she enjoys being part of the family at meal times. (Emmy)
  • I have found that spaghetti hoops are a great, fun way of getting your toddler to manage a fork. It helps them practise the scooping action with little effort (. Judith)
  • Encourage a fussy eater to try cereals. Most toddlers like them and even the most hideously sugary ones are fortified with vitamins, so you know they're getting some benefit. If they're allergic to milk, try serving the cereal with juice. (Holly)
  • For my daughter who won't eat vegetables or fruit, I make jellies out of fruit juice, pureed fruit or vegetables. She loves them, especially if they are funny-shaped moulds. (CK)
  • I've discovered that for some reason my children will eat whole baby carrots whereas they won't eat carrots if they're diced/cut in strips. The whole ones are a bit more expensive - but for me it's worth it! (Cc)
  • Don't be tempted to cut your children's spaghetti into small pieces. They eat much more if they can suck up the long pieces - messy but quite good fun! (Cc)
  • Encourage toddlers to eat meat or fish by marinating it in something sweet. Try honey, the juice of an orange or cranberry sauce. (Ra)
  • Mix chopped up orange with green vegetables. The vitamin C helps you absorb the iron in the veg and my kids love the taste. (Bon)
  • Put small pieces of fruit on a toothpick and pop into the freezer for a healthy summer snack. Works well with pineapple, blueberries, grapes, peaches and bananas. Kids of all ages love them! (Chelle)
  • If your toddler is a fussy eater whatever you do don't get into battles with her. Simply remove uneaten food without comment. To keep your sanity it is as well to remember no normal toddler ever starved itself to death! (littlered)
  • When trying to get my son to eat his vegatables, I close my eyes and say I bet those vegetables will still be there when I open my eyes! He thinks it's hilarious to eat some and see the look of surprise when I open my eyes. (storyteller)
  • If your children love macaroni cheese as much as mine, make a huge batch of cheese sauce and freeze it in ice-cube trays. You can then defrost as many cubes as you need depending on the number of friends they decide to bring home for tea! (AnnaB)
  • No matter how young your children and how messy they may end up, let them help out in the kitchen, for example cooking, stirring or buttering bread. Hopefully the will grow up to enjoy it. (sweetex)
  • When my son declares he has finished eating (with lots still on the plate), we say, but you've only got 5 spoonfuls left. At which point, and he falls for it every time, he says, No, there's only 3, and promptly goes on to eat the food and prove us wrong! (sylvev)
  • If we are not having a Sunday roast, we have a good local butcher who cooks all his own roasts. I buy a few slices and mix in the blender with potatoes, veg and gravy. I give it to my one year old who eats it all with no hesitation. (gemma)
  • My kids are greedy when they see the freezer full of lollys. So they only get them after meals I take them out of the box and hide them in the vegi bags so they just think theres an abundance of sprouts or carrots. (Angiet)
  • Put a few pieces of pasta/rice/ potato on the high chair tray when feeding very young babies - chasing the bits of food keeps them occupied whilst you get on with the job of feeding them. As a bonus they start to learn to feed themselves with finger food. (sis)
  • If you find it hard getting your toddler to eat meat and other sources of protein, try pancakes - you can either stuff mini pancakes or add finely chopped chicken to the pancake mixture and serve it with a light spreading of cream cheese. (Bland)
  • Breadsticks have all sorts of uses, not least for keeping your child happy whilst you make that important telephone call/cook dinner/shop, etc. (LisaV)
  • If you have a child who is fussy about savoury and prefers sweet, just mix a little of each together. This way they're getting both flavours and it saves hassle for you! (Shaz30)
  • My four year old boy has more energy than the rest of his family put together and more than is somethimes good for him. We changed his drinks to either water, milk or lemon barley and it seems to have really calmed him down. (Vanessa1)
  • If your child wont eat veg. except potatoes try using a jar of veg. baby food - or puree your own - as a topping on baked potatoes. Then add cheese on the top and they wouldn't know. (TigerFeet)
  • If your child's going through a phase of wanting to have things whole (not cut up) use an apple corer to take the middle out of apples and pears - gives them somewhere to put their thumb too while they eat! (Hausfrau)
  • Chopped fruit in a bowl placed in front of television-watching children will usually all disappear very quickly. (SecondHandRose)
  • Pack a picnic breakast that your children can get out of the fridge themselves on a sunday morning. It will give you that all important extra hour in bed! (Mo2)
  • For fussy eaters, buy yourself a hand held food blender and investigate which vegetables you can hide in a basic tomato sauce. You'll be amazed how many can be disguised on a pizza. (Lonelymum)
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