How to Get Your Kids to Eat Anything is more than just a family cook book. You can dive straight in and use it as you would a cook book, hungry eyes jumping from page to page, eyeing up all the fun foods, plumping for any number of crowd pleasers, but dive deeper and you discover it’s also cleverly organised in phases to help families truly work through ‘How to Get Your Kids to Eat Anything’ as a family.
Disclosure time, Emily Leary was my neighbour for many years, and once appeared in a snowstorm at my doorstep with a tin of perfectly formed chocolate cupcakes. I’ve been eating her recipe development leftovers ever since – I once helped her film 6 hours of easy family meals in my kitchen – so I do feel well qualified to talk about her cooking! Basically it rocks.
I feel especially proud – partly because Emily chose to write this cook book in our Airbnb barn here in the Peak District – but also because it’s been amazing to watch Emily’s journey as a recipe creator and food blogger explode. Emily has a real knack for getting kids on board where food is concerned and for easy recipes the whole family can enjoy.
Do you have a fussy eater?
As I mentioned How to Get Your Kids to Eat Anything is also a very clever recipe book, and outlines five phases to help families to navigate fussy eating. We had loads of recipe books when the kids were babies and toddlers, but after that the decent advice seems to fizzle out, often exactly when you need it.
Make progress with your fussy eaters, with these staged activities, hints and recipes. The gentle steps could be exactly the structure you need to bring confidence and enjoyment back into planning meals, cooking and eating as a family.
If you are vegetarian or vegan or enjoying a more plant based diet, you are going to love this too, as the majority of the recipes don’t contain meat – after all it’s often veggies we struggle to get kids to eat, and what they need to eat more of.
My favourite recipe from How To Get Your Kids to Eat Anything.
In the meantime, I wanted to share a recipe which really resonated with me.
My Mum always made fondues, they were a real family treats and so it’s one of my favourite recipes for family fun and for dinner parties too. I love cooking but find entertaining stressful, so a fondue is always a good way to overcome those nerves. But I love how Emily has reimagined the fondue to be a) healthy and b) break the ice when it comes to children’s anxieties about new foods! Double Winner!
My two love mac and cheese, and I do love to sneak broccoli and cauliflower in, but I had not thought of using fondue as a means to dare them to try even more new veg.
I absolutely love the game aspect of this!
Over to Emily with an extract from the book…
Healthier “fondue” with vegetables
This isn’t as high in fat as classic fondue, but it’s just as delectable and offers the perfect way to taste and explore some of the different vegetable flavours and textures gathered during your Phase 2 activities.
For the cheese sauce
500ml (18fl oz) whole milk
30g (1oz) slightly salted butter
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon English mustard powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon nutmeg (ideally freshly grated)
2 tablespoons plain flour
100g (3½oz) mild Cheddar cheese, grated
½ loaf of sourdough bread, cubed
small head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 large carrot, sliced
8 asparagus spears, trimmed
1 small courgette, cubed
handful of radishes, halved
2 boiled beetroot, peeled and cubed
4 gherkins, whole or sliced
Put the milk, butter, garlic, mustard, pepper, nutmeg and flour into a nonstick pan over a medium heat and whisk gently for about 5 minutes until it thickens. Add the cheese and whisk gently for 1 minute until melted and smooth. Allow to cool so that it is safe for children to touch, then pour into a bowl.
Serve with the bread, vegetables and tongs or forks to help with dipping.
If your children are reluctant to try some of the dipping items, how about making it into a sort of game? Everyone tries each item at the same time: 3…2…1…taste!
• Take your fondue up a notch by introducing more savoury dipping treats such as marinated tofu or kimchi.
Get Your Kids to Eat Anything: The 5-phase programme to change the way your family thinks about food by Emily Leary, is published by Mitchell Beazley in March 2019, £16.99 and available to order here.