About me and my family
I am Belgian and have been living in the UK since 2007. My husband and I lived in London for a few years. On the first birthday of our daughter we moved out of town and into Kent, a stunning piece of the world just south of London. Here the family grew a bit further and we had two boys as well. The children are 7, 5 and 3 now.
Since our three kids were born here, I learned everything about pregnancy, having babies, breastfeeding, weaning etc. here in the UK. At the very beginning it was a bit scary to do this outside of Belgium. You need to learn to trust a totally new system with complete strangers, nothing was familiar. But from the first antenatal visit, both my husband and I felt good about it and trusted we would be looked after well. And we did continued to feel good about it, although it couldn’t be more different from the care in Belgium.
As for so many British mums, Annabel Karmel was my absolute guide to weaning and making baby food. For my first I followed her guidelines so tightly it may seem ridiculous now, but I needed it at the time I guess. Looking back, they did not just guide me, but they helped me really enjoy to feed my babies and I loved trying to give them the very best start in life.
Home cooked only for the baby!
I tried very hard to avoid having to give them anything out of a package. I think I even managed with my daughter to avoid it at all because she was the first and both my husband and I were completely devoted to her. Even when she went to nursery I also brought her her own food. Until she got a bit more aware of her surroundings and she wanted to have what every one else was having.
Our youngest did get shop bought sometimes when we were on the go, that is how it goes with younger siblings, right? At home we stuck to the system of home cooked food as a rule. I especially loved all the finger food for toddlers. I loved it because I loved making it and because they loved eating it so much. Unfortunately I was usually the one cleaning up the mess…
New challenges, new ideas
So we have always been aware of the importance of good and delicious food, but about a year ago I started to look for new recipes and new types of cooking. There was not just one reason, but many little triggers in all of us:
- We were doing lent with the children in spring to teach them about gratefulness.
- We had some chronic little tummy aches.
- We could do with loosing some fat.
- We were prone to sugar addiction, etc.
There was nothing serious, but it did make us think and try different things. More and more I started to read about healthy food and especially about how to teach children to eat healthily. I learned so much and I got completely fascinated and obsessed by it all. I learned to spend an evening reading recipes, read a cookbook instead of a love story. Yes, cook books can be really intriguing!
I also started to realise how important it is that we teach our kids to eat healthily now. Their little bodies have all that growing to do and their brains need to work hard to learn so many new things. Now we have that impact still, in a few years that might be much less the case already. It is a challenge though, not every child is so keen to learn to eat lots of new things and eat more vegetables in a day than anything else. Some love it and feel challenged, others need more help and a little push once in a while.
Ready for a challenge!
I like a challenge, so I have taken it on! The goal is to to make eating a happy, fun and healthy part of the day, every day. I want to teach our kids to enjoy healthy food: I don’t want to force it on them, it must be their choice. Some would say I have got a very gentle approach I guess. We need to learn together, one day at a time, be patient and persevere. Live by example. I very much love to cook and bake together with the kids and we talk about food lots and lots.
Have a look on the About More Than Just Carrots page about how I report about this challenge on my blog. It also explains how you can use it for making healthy cooking good fun in your house as well.