Child nutritionist: Parents are under pressure to cook 'perfect' meals

No time to cook for the kids? Child nutrition expert says there’s ‘nothing wrong with a sandwich’ for dinner and parents should ‘be kinder’ to themselves about family meals

  • Charlotte Stirling-Reed, a baby and child nutritionist, coaches parents on what to cook for their children 
  • The author of How to Feed your Toddler gives advice on weaning, fussy eaters and how to make nutritious meals for your child that they will actually like
  • She has posted on Instagram about why it’s ok to make ‘bundled together’ meals for the kids from time to time
  • Parents have praised Charlotte for her realistic approach to cooking for children

A baby and child nutritionist has told parents to stop being so hard on themselves if they feed their children a sandwich and crisps for dinner.

Charlotte Stirling-Reed, the Sunday Times Bestselling author of How to Feed your Toddler, opened up on Instagram about not always having the motivation to cook.

Writing to her 304,000 followers, she said: ‘For anyone who needs to hear this today.

‘Meals that are bundled together are OK, sometimes ESSENTIAL!’

The mum-of-two posted a photo of a cream cheese and cucumber sandwich on a plate accompanied by crisps and some carrot sticks.

Charlotte Stirling-Reed, a child nutritionist, posted on her Instagram page opening up about days when she doesn’t have time to cook and why parents shouldn’t be hard on themselves if they make their children ‘easy’ dinners

Charlotte added: ‘I’m posting this mainly because we’ve been having a lot of these kinds of meals at home recently.

‘With all the holidays, time away, with work & birthdays etc., we’ve been all over the place and have lost our routine! 

‘When I am at home (rare at the moment!) I have ZERO motivation to cook right now…

‘So just a little reminder that it’s OK if you can’t cook every night for the kids.’

Charlotte also noted that the meal she had made for her family was still nutritious, containing carbohydrates in the bread and crisps, protein and dairy in the cream cheese and fibre in the carrots. 

She encouraged parents not to be hard on themselves for not always taking lots of time to cook new and interesting meals for their children, adding that one easier meal once in a while won’t change anything.

Speaking to FEMAIL, Charlotte said: ‘Parenting is hard & sometimes ‘bosh bash bosh’ meals from the fridge are not just ok – they are essential.

‘We put so much pressure on ourselves as parents, but it’s not about what your child eats at a single meal, it’s about what they eat over time – the weeks and months in fact, and also about what we serve them the majority of the time.

‘There is also nothing wrong with a sandwich, filling, a handful of crisps and some fruits or veggies on your kids plate – just find ways to add those extras in where you can. 

‘Nutrient rich spreads such as hummus or peanut butter, some extra finger foods, a dip to serve them with – for example.

‘Nutrition for kids isn’t black and white – we need to be kinder to ourselves as parents and realise if we’re thinking a lot about what we serve our kids, we’re probably already doing a better job than we think!’ 

Charlotte posted on her Instagram page @sr_nutrition about the ‘not perfect’ meals she sometimes makes for her children when she doesn’t have time to cook a fancy meal

Charlotte made sure to explain how, with a little bit of quick thinking, parents can still pack nutrition into so-called ‘easy’ meals when they are too busy to cook for their children. She used her example of a sandwich, crisps and carrots to show how she has given her children carbohydrates, protein and vegetables

Relieved parents responded to Charlotte’s post saying they ‘needed to hear’ the message she had to share. 

One mother wrote: ‘I love this! Sometimes it’s easy to think the basic meals aren’t good enough, I’m so guilty of putting pressure on myself to cook fancy home cooked meals all the time and feel awful when I let it slip.’

Other people commented on the post revealing what they cooked for their children when they didn’t have time to make anything fancy.

One mother wrote: ‘Sometimes after nursery if my little girl has eaten well I just give her a bowl of Weetabix, milk, peanut butter and chia seeds. She loves it.’

Another posted: ‘Beans on toast is always a winner!’

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