Emily Leary is a multi-award-winning writer, presenter, blogger and vlogger, and a married working mum of two children. In 2011 she launched her blog, A Mummy Too – the place to come for daily recipes, tips and video guides for busy working parents who want to get the most out of family life and parenting.
Her book Get Your Kids to Eat Anything is an achievable ‘how to’ for parents in the battle to overcome picky eating and ‘make new the norm’. Emily Leary’s unique 5-phase programme looks at the issue of ‘fussy eating’ in a holistic way that links imagination with food, and which situates parents alongside – not in opposition to – their children.
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The five stages of solving fussy eating
PHASE 1: PUT THE UNFAMILIAR INTO THE FAMILIAR. Introduce elements of unfamiliar colour, flavour or texture into family favourites. Think spinach “meatballs” or lentil bolognese.
PHASE 2: EDUCATE. Experiment with texture, taste and smell. Look into the science of taste, understand where food comes from and grow your own.
PHASE 3: DISCOVER THE FUN IN FOOD. Build a new level of enthusiasm for variety with creative, exciting dishes such as pancake plate art and bright red risotto.
PHASE 4: STEP INTO THE UNKNOWN. Push food boundaries with surprising flavour combinations, such as strawberries and cream pasta!
PHASE 5: CEMENT VARIETY. Now it’s time to make sure the habit sticks. Learn techniques to keep your family mealtimes varied long-term..
My experience of fussy eating
I always ate my food – well, except maybe mushrooms or cauliflower cheese. I vaguely remember going off sausages when I was very young and being served a gross rabbit stew.
If you’ve been with me a while, you’ll know that finding a recipe that Shane enjoys is something of a challenge. He had a pretty normal (omni) diet up until he was about 2 and a half when he randomly announced that he did NOT eat fruit. In the following 2 and a half years, he probably ate about four mouthfuls of fruit, with an ever-decreasing variety of veg. For a couple of weeks, he tried to demand tomato sauce sandwiches for every meal. It was intense, and he ended up making himself ill.
We’re just about getting through the other side now – he still has food hangups (and still refuses fruit) but the variety is increasing all the time. I was happy when I realised that a lot of the techniques I saw in the book were things I’d been trying on some level at home.
Will it solve fussy eating? I believe so! It’s a bit more formal than I’m used to if I’m honest but I’m glad to be giving it a go. It’s an omni book (like most of the rest of my foodie books) but most, if not all, of the recipes are easily veganised.