You got the right stuff? {Baby}


A sponsored post for Cenovis Kids

I was asked to undergo a week-long “Good Stuff Challenge” to coincide with the launch of Cenovis Kids latest range of multivitamins. I had to prepare 3 nutritionally balanced meals for the family for a week. Well DER. This is what I am “meant” to do all the time isn’t it? Except that we all know that sometimes life gets in the way and more often than not a toasted cheese sandwich is thrown at my kids at dinner time because I have simply run out of time. Knowing that someone was watching me make an effort, well for one meal at least, but then again, life (that whole personal breakdown thing was especially poorly timed) went and got in the way and reality kicked in. Best you see how things “really” are anyway, right?

I am NO meal planner. I am not an organised mother who has tupperware containers of fruit cut up for trips to the park and more often than not, I forget water bottles so will be seen spending outrageous amounts of coin at service stations on bottles of water. But what we DO have is a great local supplier of organic fruit and vegetables delivered each week and we also have to very fortunate position of being able to eat dinner 5 nights a week together, around a table, as a family at about 5.30pm.

Breakfast & Lunches are standard practice: a sandwich and LOTS of fruit and water. Breakfast is toast and fruit, or weetbix and fruit. I am not adventurous. I am not fancy. This is no frills, day in and day out easy for me or Rob, easy for the kids.

So what does dinner time look for our family 5 times a week? Well the usual stuff: pasta, a stir fry, some meat and veg, some meat and salad (foods which I hope will boost their intake of calcium, iron and vitamins) and usually once a week a cheat dinner like a toasted sambo or boiled eggs with soldiers and a eat out at the pub or take away pizza. It’s hard to get the balance right of nutrition, taste, variety and of course something that Rob and I will enjoy. And did I mention it’s RELENTLESSNESS? Yes, that. Of course, let’s not mention the fact that little kids need SO much of the good stuff to help them grow and learn. I also have a hefty serve of guilt thrown in for good measure, just to beat myself up that even if I AM doing the right stuff, it’s probably not enough of the right stuff.

For us last week it looked like this:

Monday: Steak, kale chips, haloumi & cherry toms
Tuesday: Chicken noodle soup
Wednesday: Lamb racks with roasted vegies
Thursday: Pizza at the pub
Friday: Roast chicken & veggies

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I have a usual rotation of about 10 different dinners that are on week in, week off and I will put my hand up and say that I am HOPELESS at trying new things. I have books and BOOKS of recipes that I rarely touch, it’s an unfortunate side effect of poor time management that sees the same stuff hit the trolley every week. Many of you would know the effort it takes to make something nice and nutritious only to have a little person’s nose turned up at it. I’ve thrown perfectly delicious meals in the BIN, just trying to make a point. Note: this rarely works and occasionally results in you eating food OUT OF A BIN. Just saying.

But growing up, my Mum was an excellent home cook and one of the many gifts she gave me was making me help in the kitchen from a very early age. She had me chopping and identifying fruit and vegetables and helping her out with her corporate catering job she had from home in the 1980’s. There were always people at our house for meals and dinner parties and soirees and it just became part of my “normal”. I’ve tried to do the same with my own girls – making them help out and get involved as much as possible. A kid that has helped out in the making of a meal is SO much more likely to have a go at eating it. I also think that sitting down together to eat a meal makes a huge difference. If Daisy and Harper see Rob and I eating the same thing as them, they will normalise the vegetables, haloumi, olives, or whatever it may be.

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Whenever the fruit & veggie box arrives I will get Daisy or Harper to help me unpack it. I’ll make them go through and tell me the name of everything that comes out.

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I’m getting a job done and they are learning too. I do the same in Harris Farm or the supermarket – I’ll ask Harper to grab some basil, or garlic and watch her run through the aisles trying to work out which is which. Making them smell, taste, feel – all the things kids love to do – helps them learn.

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I’ll also get them to help out with dinner preparation. A plastic knife and some cutting will keep a 3 year old entertained for at least 4 minutes. And that’s pretty good in 3yro time. Tongs are fun, mixing, measuring and adding is pure kids delight. It’s messy and it takes longer to do, but if you can get them involved, dinner WILL be eaten (or at least tried) if they have had a hand at preparing it.


Feeding your family is RELENTLESS. And it can be boring. And it is SUCH a responsibility to make sure the food they are eating is healthy, full of nutrients and varied, while also encouraging them to try something new. I know some kids will eat NOTHING but a sandwich, and it’s sometimes just plain HARD WORK. When I’m throwing nuggets at the girls for dinner, chop up some tomatoes or cucumber on the side, it always makes me feel less guilty. Cheese sambo? Whack on a side of nutrient rich kale chips.

Despite parents’ best intentions, I was surprised to learn over a third of Aussie children are not eating the minimum recommended daily serves of fruit and vegetables.* Over a third of 4-7 year olds aren’t getting enough veggies in their diets, while a quarter of 8-11 year olds don’t eat any veggies at all. It’s food for thought I’ve been lucky to have kids that do try things and love to get involved which has helped a lot with their education and love of eating. It’s important for me that they have an appreciation for and sitting around a table and sharing a meal with people that you love, and I’m happy knowing that we are moving towards this. Every day.

Some tips from me:

  • Get kids INVOLVED
  • Teach them the names of the foods you use everyday when preparing meals
  • Get them to grab the food from the fruit & veggie shop
  • Try and eat meals together
  • Get them to help out with dinner every night even if it’s just ripping lettuce leaves off
  • Keep trying different stuff: one day kale will even seem normal if they’ve seen it enough
  • Loose the options. If they don’t like it, then they don’t get anything else. They’ll eat if they are hungry
  • Get messy and have fun!

So how did I find this challenge? Well it highlighted a few things – for me. Despite trying hard most of the time, there are still times where I’m sure I fall short of providing the right amount of servings of fruit & veg to the family. It did however, show me that we are on the right track, the girls are aware of what they eat, are willing to learn about food and cooking as well as experiment and try new flavours and textures. I need to keep their nutrition stuff front of mind, all the time. I have to keep reminding myself…it’s my job as their Mum, their cook, their teacher… to keep on keeping on, especially with this important stuff that will shape their eating and love for food for the rest of their lives. However, we are on the right track, the girls are aware of what they eat, willing to learn about food and cooking as well as experiment and try new flavours and textures.

To help parents teach kids more about where their food comes from and the importance of eating well, Cenovis® Kids recently ran an initiative called “Good Stuff in the Garden”. The free garden starter packs contain a My First Garden kit, $20 Bunnings voucher and 2 x Yates seed packs.

Valued at $100, I’ve got a pack up for grabs! Just leave a comment below – let me know your tips and tricks for getting the good stuff into your family. What are the challenges you face and did you realise how much of the good stuff (vitamins and minerals) your kids need every day? See here for Terms and conditions.

Cenovis Kids Vita Fizzies and Vita Tingles are free from artificial colours and flavours, a supplement designed to fill the nutritional gap.

*Research was conducted by Pure Profile on behalf of Cenovis® Kids between 20-25 February, 2013 and surveyed 1000 Australians nationwide.


  1. I try not to keep junk in the house, that way the kids don’t pester you for it. That being said I always have a decent stash of ‘cooking’ chocolate hidden in the back of the pantry! Once a week the kids and I do a bake which includes biscuits and muffins or pikelets and that does them for lunch boxes and after school snacks. And if they are hungry in between, I tell them to grab an apple to munch on, which they take great pleasure in choosing one and washing it themselves- that tells me I must be doing something right!

  2. Margaret Fraser says

    My son comes to the Vic Market with me and loves doing the fruit/veg shopping then looking at all the fish and deli things. That said some of the most painful outings have been dragging a toddler to the market, but I love the market and will live close by.
    Like you Beth we cook together. Now 4 he loves to tenderise meat- something to whack! and is quite good at the flour, egg and crumb.
    The rule here is you must “taste” the food. I’m not going to serve something disgusting.

  3. flyingdrunkenmonkey says

    My biggest tip is definitely meal planning. If I didn’t plan we’d have toasted sandwiches or two minute noodles every night.
    Another great thing we did was Baby Led Weaning – instead of starting Lily on purees we just started her on normal food – food she could pick up and gum on until she was able to actually eat it. She tried a huge range of food before she was even 9 months and loved all of it. Of course, now that she is 3 she is going through the normal “I don’t like it” stage but I think we gave her a great start to her food “journey”. We’ll be doing the same with Chloe when she’s old enough.

  4. I love every little thing about your blog Beth. There’s nothing not to like! Harper especially melts ma heart (as does Daisy). If you looked up gorgeous in the dictionary there would be a photo of her!

  5. I don’t know where they get the idea veggies are “yucky” but from two this has been my son’s attitude. One trick I use to normalise veggies is make sure we include healthy food in our play kitchen games. I have also bought wooden veggies for the play kitchen. I also include him in food preparation and try to stay calm about the mess!

  6. Prue Gilfillan says

    One reason this is important is if they end up working behind a checkout for any period of time (as I did) that they can correctly identify fruits and vegetables. I had a girl once hold up the zucchini and ask what it was :/

  7. Kristy Ryan says

    Great Post

    //quality – going through a only liking toast stage? – make sure it is a good quality sourdough with no preservatives smeared with real peanut butter//work to their strengths – Mr4 is a ‘fussy eater’ but loves tuna in olive oil, tuna pasta is a common meal//just try one – if something new is on offer a small bite or at least a taste with a tongue is required – if you don’t like it you don’t have to eat it, but it needs to be tried//ease the mother guilt, use a multivitamin, it is a ritual to get one after getting dressed in the morning, my kids think it a lolly and rush to get ready to get one!?
    I am going to try Kale chips 🙂

  8. Loving your tips and tricks, great post – thank you! Our 19 month old is just starting to refuse different foods that we’re trying to introduce – it’s a real joy! She is getting all of her nutritional goodness, but I don’t want her to be one of THOSE kids, that just eats X Y Z on high rotation. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve noticed that if Poet sees us eating it, she’ll whack it in her gob and give it a go, too! Quite simple really. Monkey see, monkey do 🙂

  9. Alli @ ducks on the dam says

    I found myself in the “same ten things for dinner” rut needed to get out of it. My Little Misses are a bit older than yours (8 and 10) and we all sat around the table and wrote down our favourite things for dinner. Came up with a list of SIXTY FIVE things that we all like. So now there is a list on the fridge of dinner options so we can keep rotating. The other thing that works in our family is that each of the girls has one night a week that they get to choose what is for dinner. Rules are that it cannot be takeaway, can’t be the same thing that they chose the week before AND can’t be the same thing that their sister chose. Most of the time they also help with the making

  10. Lisa Mckenzie says

    I always cook good dinners for the family ,on the days I feel like I am over it ,I whack something in the slowcooker ,like yesterday chicken soup with all the veggies I had in the fridge I like to vary what we eat and that includes something that everyone likes at least once a week and fish and red meat,pork and chicken and the fruit bowl is always full, easier to grab a banana than a packet of chips and I also cook biscuits or a slice on weekends and freeze leftover soups and casseroles ,good for nights when you are in a hurry.
    Your girls will learn loads from helping you now Beth ,you are doing them a great favour even if it takes more time.

  11. In our house, it’s eat healthy during the week and we can splurge at little on the weekend with a takeaway or an ice cream or something.

    The problem we have in our house is two of the kids are veggies eaters but won’t touch fruit and one kid who loves fruit but won’t touch veggies. I just keep plugging away and hope they’re getting some nutrition into them.

  12. alicia shrimpton says

    I am desperate, I am ashamed to say my 3 year old has never eaten veggies or fruit. He lies toasted chesee sandwiches and Vegemite sandwiches, dried fruit and chicken chips. Oh and soda water makes his day! I try him on new foods snd he turns his head & won’t eat. He helps mum or me but won’t try once he has helped us!!
    I would love to win as he loves the garden and going to bunnings… Maybe I should pop up there and get myself some seedlings…. I need a magic wand!
    Thsnk you for the positive post! I’ll keep trying, it’s my child’s future & it’s up to me to make it positive for him.

  13. ahoy.jenni says

    Every kid loves bolognaise sauce right? Add grated carrot, zucchini, capsicum…
    Home made baked beans. Buy fresh haricot beans, soak and let them slow cook on the wood heater all day, cook up with passata sauce. Great!
    Dahls are great for kids. Mine love pumpkin dahl. Throw in a few pappadums, yummo.
    I used to grind nuts and seeds and add to porridges for my daughter…
    Nutrition has been my passion for years…macrobiotics, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, raw food, you name it I’ve tried it!! I’m now on the Primal/Paleo thing , much easier with kids than raw food diet !!
    Oh and coconut in any form – flour, oil, juice, its great and works well with kids.

  14. HumbirdsSong says

    I find it so easy to integrate veggies into our dinners (especially in pasta!), but I find it’s hard to get Carter to eat fruit! So, we do frozen banana ‘ice cream’, berry/yoghurt icy poles and stewed apples and pears.

  15. When my daughter was just moving onto solids I made some ‘puree paints’ (basically just different coloured purees’ which she could use to finger paint with (usually in the bathtub). She’d invariably get it all over her, but have to ‘clean the brush’ by licking her fingers. My older son thought this was fabulous fun too and we sometimes still ‘paint the bath’ years later (just hose it all down to clean the slate). I use those same purees in my food too – pasta sauces, meatballs, cakes etc (although I also make sure there are ‘visible’ veggies on the plate that they have to at least ‘try’ for appearances sake!).

  16. I encourage my 5yo to at least try everything. He has to take a bite, chew and swallow it. Then decide whether he likes it or not, if he doesn’t he gets a piece of cheese.
    This has helped open up his appetite and willingness to try new things. Of course it all turns to shit when he is tired!
    The 3yo and 18month old will eat anything and everything, especially the 18month old, he eats sand by the spoonful!

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