When I was a kid growing up in Denmark, one of the best foods I knew was fiskefrikadeller – or fish cakes. We would have them for lunch or for dinner, we would eat them cold or warm, but my favorite was actually when my mom took me downtown to the fishmonger who came in with his trailer every Saturday morning. My mom would buy me one that I could go munch on while we finished up our errands, and I was as happy as could be.
Fiskefrikadeller comes in many versions, and every family puts their own touch on theirs. This recipe is very simple and that is how I like them and luckily, my family seems to agree.
Hope you’ll enjoy them, too. But psst: don’t forget the remoulade – it’s the perfect finish!
Cut the fish into chunks and put...
And you just welcomed your new healthy lifestyle. You have decided to be a different person now, lose weight, exercise 3 times a week, quit the booze, and indulge in veggies. Congratulations!
Chances are that you will succeed. For the next couple of weeks.
But then every-day life catches up and the veggies don’t find their way to your plate as easily. It gets complicated, it takes time, you realize that you weren’t that good at creating amazing, tasty salads after all. Dubious snacks start to sneak in, and you notice that your mind-set has shifted to “I might as well just…”. Welcome to the downfall of your new year’s resolution.
What often happens when we set up our New Year’s resolutions is that we set unrealistic and too restrictive goals that we have no chance of living up to and at the same time demanding of ourselves to make the switch over-night. And when we find ourselves having a hard time achieving those goals, we quickly fall into...
My Dad always made me finish my plate when I was a kid. And that never hurt me.
Ever heard that comment before? Maybe you have tried talking to friends or family about being more gentle and respectful at mealtimes with your little ones. Maybe you have talked about how it feels wrong to pressure your little ones into eating?
And then comes that sentence. And you start doubting yourself: “Maybe I am being too soft on my child? Maybe they are right? Maybe I ought to let my child know who is in charge here?”
I want to say this to you: Stand firm and stay gentle. You are on the right track when choosing a respectful approach. Because forcing, manipulating (like bribing and rewarding), and punishing are strategies that will never build trust.
That someone else survived (!) the old-fashioned approach doesn’t mean that it’s the best approach for you and your family. Especially if you:
- want to establish a respectful relationship with your child.
- want your...
When dealing with young selective eaters, it can sometimes be very frustrating when they again turn down the broccoli or the fish without having tasted just a tiny bit of it. Sometimes, we, therefore, resort to strategies that I have chosen to call mealtime manipulation strategies. Those strategies include food bribing, food rewards, punishing with food, or regulating emotions with food. But in this article, I’ll focus on when we sneak certain foods that our kids don’t like into a meal without telling them about it. Some examples are spinach in smoothies, cauliflower rice, or squash muffins. I’ll admit that I’ve engaged in this sort of manipulation, too: When one of my daughters declared that she only liked chicken, I would call pork “chicken-pork”, and it worked – she tried it. And I had it my way. But with time, I’ve also come to realize that this was not a victory. If I want to create a food hero and if I want my kids to be curious...
Have you ever said to your child, “Just one more bite, and then you can have dessert!”? If you have, you’re one of the many parents using the so-called “one-bite rule”. To be honest, I used to do it myself, too, but I have skipped it for good, and I’m going to tell you why.
The one-bite rule usually arises from a principle that most of us have been brought up on: that you must taste the food to be able to tell if you like it or not. Other times, though, parents enforce the rule out of a nutritional concern that their child is not getting enough to eat – they wonder if maybe their child will be hungry again before bedtime, or if they’ll wake up in the middle of the night crying for more food. So, we try to squeeze in just a little bit more dinner using the one-bite rule.
But using this rule is something I strongly discourage as a psychologist, mainly because mealtime rules are about pressure and forcing our kids. And in my...
When thinking about the values we pass on to our kids, we as parents want to do it right. We want our kids to have a solid foundation for making good choices. We want them to be able to navigate their lives in a healthy way when they grow up and have a family of their own.
When thinking of the values and traditions shaped in my own life, I often think back to the mealtimes in my childhood and the traditions surrounding these. And I don’t doubt for a minute that much of what I lean on today was founded in the conversations around that dinner table. That was where we talked about what was on our minds, how to process what had happened at school that day, what was on the news, or if somebody’s mood was a little off. Because what happens when we have conversations about those micro details of our day, is that we form the ground stones of our moral and our values. We mirror our parents and the people around us. And we navigate on that background.
In our family, there are 3 kids under the age of 10. That equals a busy everyday life: playdates, homework, pick-up, drop-off, sleepovers, sports, our own work, etc. You probably get the picture. We are all in the house every day at some point, but rarely at the same time. Our kids and their friends run in and out of the house as if they got a dollar for every time the door opens. Sometimes, we are 2 people in the house, sometimes 9 (when we count their friends, too). And as much as I love that, it also underscores the importance of picking out a time every day, where we sit, talk, and share. All of us, at the same time.
Shared meals every day
At our house, dinner is mandatory. Not only on Sundays. Every day. Looking back, I can’t remember one single time, where we were not all gathered around the table for dinner. Unless of course, if someone has sports, or is having dinner at a friend’s house. Otherwise, it would almost require a doctor’s note for somebody...
Just the other day my daughter decided to hate (and push away) her chicken veggie taco (although she happily ate two servings of that meal last week, but it turns out that a 3-year-old gives no guarantees – surprise!). Having spent time and energy on preparing the meal, my husband, Jens, and I quickly fell into the all too familiar 3 step trap: entice (“yummy, it is chicken, you love that!”), distract (“look, an airplane is bringing your chicken! Wrooom!”), threaten (“if you don’t eat your dinner, there’s no dessert!”). And where did that get us? Absolutely nowhere! Yup, not even a tiny corn went into that little stubborn (and tightly closed) mouth.
Even for me, a child psychologist, it is sometimes hard not to fall into this pointless trap even though I should know better. And this situation illustrates how much pressure there is on parents to feed their children nutritious and healthy foods. And how sometimes our children...