Tonight, we had chicken stir-fry and rice. It is not Mr 4’s favourite dish.

I know that if I serve him this meal the same as everyone else there is a high chance he will not eat anything.

I’m no short-order cook and there’s no way I’ve got the time to cook two separate meals.

Instead, I do what Ellyn Satter calls “being considerate without catering”. This is about acknowledging that some meals are going to be difficult for children to learn to eat. Including one or two ‘usually eaten’ foods means you can serve the same meal for everyone, with minimal adjustments or side-dish additions if needed.

I always include some ‘usually eaten’ foods into my dishes.

For stir fry this is plain rice and chicken, sometimes sugar snap peas, fresh and uncooked. I include these foods plus whatever else I want to put into the stir-fry.

I know that Mr 4 struggles with cooked vegetables but sometimes enjoys them raw, so I keep a portion of the stir-fry veggies to one side uncooked.

Everything goes in the middle of the table. Mr 4 gets to choose what goes on his plate, and what goes in his tummy.

Tonight, he chose to eat chicken, rice and raw carrot.

I’m happy. He’s happy (and satisfied).

One day he will likely have a go at the full stir fry. Until then, he is still learning to eat it.

Read more about Ellyn Satter’s concept of “being considerate without catering” for happier family meals and snacks.

Eat happy!
Bonnie Searle
Accredited Practising Dietitian

image of unhappy kid faceplanting on the sandwich on his plate

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