Saturday, 8 October 2016

Family Meal Times With The Chiappas

When it comes to feeding a young family, it can be difficult to know where to start.

It seems like the most natural thing in the world of course, but with so much varying advice around on what to avoid and how to approach it - it can be pretty confusing.

And that doesn't change whether you're a first time parent or whether, like me, it's your third time around.

The worries are just the same, and in some ways I have found it more difficult third time around as I'm already busy planning and preparing meals for our children and so knowing what can be adapted for Sailor is sometimes tricky.

Another difficult aspect of mealtimes for us is finding meals that suit the whole family in order to save time - we are a very busy family with a hectic schedule, and often cooking extravagant dinners which only end up in the bin because the toddler didn't like them can be an extremely annoying waste of precious time!

I find myself relying quite often on the convenience of childrens ready meals, as on a particularly busy day (most days!) it's just too disheartening to spend an hour or more cooking something only to have it refused...but of course these ready meals are not cheap and so not an ideal solution.

A few weeks ago, we received a new cook book by family cooking sensations The Chiappas..."Baby At The Table: A 3 Step Guide To Weaning The Italian Way"...Considering I have rarely used them in the past I do love a cook book and can flick through them for hours drooling over the beautiful looking recipes that sound divine but that seem far too complicated for me to ever attempt - but this book was different.

As well as being visually gorgeous, it was also so informative - with pages dedicated to how to get started with weaning, understanding what nutrients your child needs, what equipment you should have in your kitchen to prepare you and so on.

The recipes were broken down into sections such as Baby, Toddler, Speedy Family Dinners, One Pot Meals and Desserts & Bakes which makes it easy to find what you're looking for.

The recipes are also interspersed with pearls of wisdom from the Chiappa sisters on how to encourage positive eating habits in children - a lot of these are approaches I already take such as keeping plenty of variety in meal times, and only offering one option - but others such as staying realistic and allowing for the fact that emergencies and delays happen and how to combat this were very helpful to me.

What I love most about this book is how simple most of the recipes are...a lot of them are nothing that you probably don't already feed your child, but the way in which they prepare and present it makes it a bit more special and therefore more appealing - for example "Our Way With Toast" is really just Egg on toast but the way it is prepared makes it so much nicer and more interesting to a child.

There are also some great tips on getting the kids involved in the cooking process too, which I think is a vital part of helping them learn to enjoy and experiment with food.

Our favourite recipes from the book so far have been the Cheat's Risotto (Perfect delicious risotto in 20 minutes, what's not to love?!) and the Baked Mac n Cheese which the kids can't get enough of!

Over the coming weeks I have decided to challenge myself to be more adventurous with our dinner times and really encourage the children to try new things...and because these recipes are so quick and easy to follow I don't feel concerned about wasting time on doing this, instead the book has me feeling excited about broadening our horizons with mealtimes....we will be trying the Salmon & Broccoli pasta, Chicken Pot Pie and Broccoli Balls and I'll be sharing how we get on with them on my Instagram.

If you would like to try this fantastic book out for yourself, head over to my Facebook page where I am giving away a copy (signed by the Chiappas!) to one lucky reader.

To find out more, please visit - and don't forget to stop by The Chiappas YouTube Channel!

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