Kiwi author Nicola Galloway is a chef who is passionate about the benefits of healthy and flavoursome food. She’s also a mum and knows lots about feeding families… I caught up with Nicola and asked her a few questions about feeding hungry little mouths.

Our theme for April / May here at Kiwi Families is ‘Healthy Families’ – what are your best tips for people wanting to feed their children ‘healthy’ food?

Keep food simple with ingredients you are familiar with and have on hand. If you make it too complicated it can become overwhelming with young children in tow and then all to easy to revert to convenience/ packaged (and not so healthy) foods.

How do you suggest that people start out with solids with their baby?

First look for signs your baby is ready for solid food (usually around 6 months but can be earlier for some babies) For example- opening mouth when offered food, and taking an interest in what others are eating. Choose a relaxed time in the day, after a milk feed, to introduce a small amount of a simple pureed food such as pumpkin, apple or rice cereal. (If following baby-led-weaning this may be a piece of avocado or steamed vegetable stick.) At first your baby may only have a few mouthfuls or may not be interested at all. Remember this a totally new experience for your little one and it may take some time for them accustom to the taste and texture of solid food.

Can you give some suggestions for parents with fussy eaters?

Provide a selection of healthy food at meals but don’t offer an alternative if they won’t eat or only eat a small amount. It can be easy to fall into the habit of offering something else – usually a favourite and less healthy food – when toddlers won’t eat what we have prepared. Young children quickly learn to take advantage of this and you will have a battle on your hands at meal times. If you always get a ‘no’ to everything offered, give children a choice -for example- “Would you like a cracker or toast?” (These need to be healthy choices). This way the child feels they are in control of the decision making.

What ideas can you give for helping children develop healthy eating habits?

Include children with with food preparation, they love being involved and like to taste their creations. You may find a previously disliked food is eaten with enjoyment when they have been involved with the cooking. Harvesting fresh vegetables from the garden (if you have one) with your children is one of the best ways to get them interested in fresh vegetables. These are usually consumed in the garden rather than the dinner table but at least they are eaten! Also discuss with your children why you choose to eat healthy – so they can grow strong healthy bodies and brains.

What’s your favourite winter recipe?

Moroccan Lamb & Prune Casserole – this is one of our favourite dinners we make regularly through the winter. It can be made in a slow-cooker simmering slowly during the day for child friendly tender meat.

For more info about starting solids follow these links:

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Rochelle is mum to three gorgeous daughters. She wishes she had more time to garden and read the newspaper in peace!

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