No time to cook for the kids? One child nutrition expert says there’s “nothing wrong with a sandwich” for dinner and parents should be “kinder” to themselves when it comes to family meals
- Charlotte Stirling-Reed, nutritionist for babies and children, shares tips for parents on what to cook for their children
- The author of How to Feed your Toddler offers advice on weaning, picky eaters, and how to prepare nutritious meals for your child that they will actually enjoy
- She posted on Instagram why it’s okay to cook “bundled” meals for the kids from time to time
- Parents have praised Charlotte for her realistic approach to cooking for children
A nutritionist for babies and children has advised parents to stop being so hard on themselves when giving their children a sandwich and chips for dinner.
Charlotte Stirling-Reed, the Sunday Times bestselling author of How to Feed your Toddler, has opened up on Instagram about not always being motivated to cook.
She wrote to her 304,000 followers: “For anyone who needs to hear this today.
‘Bundled meals are fine, sometimes ABSOLUTELY!’
The mother-of-two posted a photo of a cream cheese and cucumber sandwich on a plate, accompanied by chips and some carrot sticks.
Charlotte Stirling-Reed, a children’s nutritionist, has posted on her Instagram page about days when she doesn’t have time to cook and why parents shouldn’t be hard on themselves about making their kids’ dinners “easy”.
Charlotte added: “I’m posting this mainly because we’ve been having a lot of these types of meals at home lately.
‘With all the holidays, absences, work & birthdays etc. we’ve been everywhere and lost our routine!
“When I’m at home (rarely at the moment!), I have ZERO motivation to cook right now…
“So just a little reminder that it’s okay if you can’t cook for the kids every night.”
Charlotte also noted that the food she prepared for her family was still nutritious, containing carbs in bread and chips, protein and dairy in cream cheese, and fiber in carrots.
She encouraged parents not to be hard on themselves about not always taking the time to cook new and interesting meals for their kids, adding that a simpler meal every now and then won’t change anything.
Speaking to FEMAIL, Charlotte said: “Parenting is tough and sometimes ‘bosh bash bosh’ meals straight from the fridge aren’t just okay – they’re essential.
“We put so much pressure on ourselves as parents, but it’s not what your child eats at a single meal, it’s what they eat over time – the weeks and months, and also what we give them most of the time serve time.
Nutrition for children is not black and white
“There’s also nothing wrong with a sandwich, a filling, a handful of chips, and some fruit or veg on your kid’s plate — just find ways to add those extras where you can.”
“Nutrient-rich spreads like hummus or peanut butter, extra finger food, a dip to serve – for example.
“Child nutrition isn’t black and white – we need to be kinder to ourselves as parents and recognize that if we think a lot about what we serve our kids, we’re probably already doing a better job than we think we can!”
Charlotte has posted on her Instagram page @sr_nutrition about the “imperfect” meals she sometimes prepares for her kids when she doesn’t have time to cook a fancy meal
Charlotte made sure they explained how when parents are too busy to cook for their kids, with a little quick thinking they can still pack nutrients into so-called “easy” meals. Using her sandwich, chips and carrots as an example, she showed how she provides her children with carbohydrates, protein and vegetables
Relieved parents responded to Charlotte’s post saying they needed to hear the message she had to share.
One mum wrote: “Love this! Sometimes it’s easy to think that the simple meals aren’t good enough, I’m so guilty that I pressure myself to cook fancy home cooked meals all the time and feel terrible when I miss it.
Other people commented on the post and revealed what they cooked for their kids when they didn’t have time to make anything special.
One mom wrote: “Sometimes after kindergarten, when she’s had a good meal, I’ll just give my little girl a bowl of Weetabix, milk, peanut butter, and chia seeds. She loves it.’
Another wrote: “Beans on toast is always a winner!”