At last a really well-written, easy to read book on child nutrition with excellent and realistic recipes. And it is written by real experts. Unlike Annabel Karmel who purports to be an expert, the two female authors of this book are not only mothers but paediatric dieticians. They know more than simple nutrition, they know the physiology and psychology of babies and children as they relate to food and they explain it in a simple, informative and non-patronising way. But most of all, the book is crammed full of great recipes for all ages. No need to buy several books for different ages, it's all in this one - from babies to school kids, from lunchboxes to parties.
My children are now 5 and 3 and I have only just found this book. I wish I had found it when they were babies. The two female authors write so reassuringly about the stages of a baby/child's learning that you feel like you have got two friends on your side who are holding your hand through what can be a daunting process. They really explain WHY a child behaves as they do and how you can best teach your child to enjoy food. They also cut through the fact and fiction about healthy eating and explain what is and isn't good for your child. All this stuff about LCP's and iron absorption -it's actually quite straightforward!
Part 1 of the book talks all about nutrition and how to put together a healthy diet for your child. It's not long, and it's not patronising. They talk about healthy eating, food combining and essential nutrients. They cover 'coping with feeding problems' and 'managing allergies and intolerances' but for me, the best bit is the advice about sensible shopping and how to read those labels.
The book then moves on guide you through the different stages of your child learning to eat from when he begins solids to when he goes through that delightful self-feeding stage! The recipes in these bits are good but probably nothing you haven't come across before. What is really good, though, is the explanation of how to engender a positive attitude towards eating and the essential do's and don't's of feeding your child.
Finally, the book gives absolutely loads of great recipes for 3 years and upwards covering breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as snacks and drinks. There are even ideas for nutritious party food and recipes that you can cook with your child.
Now that that my family is through that avocado and banana mush stage, it is the daily grind of school lunchboxes and appetising dinners that I was in need of inspiration for.
As the title says, there are 365 recipes and they all seem to be quite straightforward and, well, tasty. OK, there are a few more outlandish suggestions like teriyaki orange salmon parcels and tofu stir-fry but mostly they are just hundreds of different ways of preparing the basic foods and flavours that most kids like. (And besides, the outlandish ones are good ideas for dinner parties!)
For example, my kids love the chicken nuggets and homemade chips and these are so easy to make and far more healthy and tasty than the shop bought variety. This book teaches you that using oil and fat in your cooking is OK because you use far less than is in the shop bought stuff and it is the right kind of fat. Kids actually need a high fat diet (unlike most adults!) so it is OK to use oil and make stuff crispy and then add a bit of salt because, let's face it, that's what makes it taste nice! Hurray, they actually give recipes that taste nice to kids.
And my daughter's lunchboxes have perked up enormously since I started making the recipes for potted chicken spread and salmon and prawn spread, pitta bread crisps and, believe it or not, SALADS like chicken noodle salad and tuna pasta salad.
And as for the puddings - mine only ever got yoghurt or fruit before. I thought puddings were bad for them. But, as the book explains, puddings give you a second chance to get healthy things into them like eggs, milk, fruit, and cereals.
Every single recipe is marked with symbols so you can see if it is high in a certain nutrieint or if it is suitable for vegetarian, wheat, gluten, dairy, egg and nut-free diets.
The reason I would recommend this book so highly is because it gives you all the information you need about feeding your child, at all ages, in just one book. It is concise and to the point and then gives just heaps and heaps of good recipes. This book really does what it says on the can - there are 365 recipes and it will take you more than a year to try them all out so you and your kids will not get bored of the same things time after time.