In the past, DD1 used to take 1hr to finish her food. It was rather exasperating. I decided to implement a "Reward System". Whenever she finishes her food within 30min or less, I will give her a sticker on her chart(which comprises of good attitude towards doing homework, practising piano, taking care of her baby sister, clearing up her room, behaving herself). If she doesnt, she will be given a sad face. Upon getting 60 stickers, she will get a treat like extended TV/game time for a day. 100 stickers will earn her a movie or an excursion.
In preparation of her food, I would cook her most hated food with her favourite food to lessen her pain in eating. For example, I chop ‘yukky spinach’ into teeny weeny pieces, dump it into her favourite kombu and anchovy stock. When the soup is about to boil, I stir in her favourite egg together with some cornflour to make it a little sticky(aka her favourite-restaurant style). In this way, she slurps down her spinach smilingly.
Another way I do to entice her to eat faster is to play with her food! Haha as in use the different colours of her food to decorate it into a smiley face, a cat, a tree.(She’s into aesthetics of culinary preparation) She also likes her sandwich which is served in shapes of stars, hearts, teddy bears, dove(use cookie cutters). On weekends, I get her to help me prepare breakfast. Stuff like breaking an egg, watching the gooey egg flow into the bowl, stirring it- she loves it to bits!
So far, her favourite is a burger I made for her. I use minced beef(one of her top ten hated meat), minced onions, breadcrumbs and seasoning to make the patty, coupled with her favourite mayonnaise, ‘yukky lettuce, cherry tomatoes’ and her favourite seaweed, drizzled with homemade teriyaki sauce( mix soy sauce, sugar, mirin and sake together). On top of her burger, I used a toothpick disguised as a flag. On the flag, it says,"I love you, baby!" and a smiley face with three spikey strands of hair. Whenever she sees that, she will laugh uproariously,”haha botak hair!"
These methods work well for her. Nowadays, mealtime is no longer ‘war-zone'(though more effort is put into preparation of food, but at least I don’t feel like tearing out my hair anymore). After all, I want her to remember me as a mother who loves her and is like Remy in the movie "Ratatouille”(that’s what DD says and she wants to be a chef), instead of the mother who kept saying,” Hurry up, chew and swallow"(like a broken down recorder). The tricky thing is DH likes his food ”organic”(he doesnt go for those pre-packed seasoning stuff), so I always have to rack my brains, do research on the net for recipes to cook yummy food without using any MSG….