Child nutrition advice: No more food fights

Annabel Karmel, world-renowned child nutrition expert, shares some sensible advice


We all start with good intentions when it comes to feeding our kids. We do want the best for them, but we don’t realise until we are a mother, quite how so small a person can be so difficult and obstinate.”

When we talk to Annabel Karmel about the best foods to feed our toddler, she doesn’t tell us that birthday cake is bad and carrot sticks are good. She understands that feeding our kids is not a simple, linear path from breast milk to steak tartare. From creating her own recipes, Karmel was inspired to write her first cookbook, The Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner, in 1991. It was a global hit and remained the number one bestselling book on food for children for 15 years, perhaps for the way in which she didn’t view child and adult foods separately.

“I think stereotyping children’s food doesn’t help. Kids go to a friend’s house and the mother makes chicken nuggets, because she knows they like them and she wants them to be happy. Nobody thinks kids might like chicken satay or a stir fry. We feel guilty about it, but at the same time, we feel guilty about our child not eating. But why is it such a terrible thing if a child misses a meal? Let’s face it, a hungry child is a less fussy child. They must be hungry enough to eat something new. Otherwise, they look at food and they say, ‘That’s yucky, I am not eating it.’ And they haven’t taken one mouthful.”

With such sensible advice, Karmel might just be able to give you a hand.

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