When is the right time to start giving your mini-me real food? And when I say “real food”, I mean the normal fodder that you and I eat.

It’s a daunting process. Well at least it was for me. You are inundated with crap all over the internet. The doctor’s reception has its own opinion, and baby centres tell you how dangerous certain foods are for little ones. You become petrified that your baby is allergic to everything on planet earth.

The solution, however, is simple – just do it slowly. Introduce foods in time. And have fun with it!

My little girl, Frankie (now 18 months old), started off with boring porridge and purées as her introduction to food. Shortly after she got the knack of swallowing solids, we moved onto boiled, unflavoured sweet potato and carrots. Surprise, surprise – she didn’t like it.

Feeding toddlers.

I then had a light bulb moment of common sense and decided to make something a little more exciting – something I would eat too.

I made some fritters with the vegetables she had eaten before, which basically entailed some cheese seasoned with herbs and fried in butter. Success! My little nugget loved it, and it was then that I decided to never give Frankie boring food again.

If you haven’t already guessed, I am a massive foodie. I just love cooking and baking. Be it a simple French toast or a complex soufflé (probably a failed one at that), I love the process of cooking and creating food. Throw a gorgeous, tantrum-filled, hilarious toddler into the mix and you have ‘Frankie and Me‘ – my blog about fun, healthy toddler and family food that’s been tested on one of the toughest critics in town.

Yes, like most kids, Frankie is one opinionated food judge and a hell of a picky eater. 99% of meal times involve bribery (cartoons, funny face shaped foods, the works). But once she tries it, she usually finishes the whole lot. It also helps if I’m eating the same as her. This works well for breakfast and lunch, but dinner is a different story, because well… it’s 5pm!

Back to eating the same as Frankie. In my eyes, eating food with your child is a fantastic way to instil a good relationship with food. Toddlers are actual sponges in terms of learning stuff. The more they see you siting down with them and eating the same foods, the more they will associate it as being an awesome time of the day, which means less melt downs at meal times. Who cares if you are sitting in front of the TV watching an educational kids show while they eat? If they are going to sit quietly and eat their meal with you, then go for it. You can always bring them back to the dinner table when they are older and ready for it.

If you’re stuck on what food to make your family, just go onto Instagram. There are so many clever people out there, and so much inspiration. Have fun with it and enjoy the rollercoaster ride of feeding your toddler. It will be worth it in the end.

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