How to feed your fussy eater

Sometimes it’s tough. Toddlers often don’t know what they want and almost never know what they need when it comes to food.

Fortunately for me, being an 'old dad', I have a little bit of experience in the kitchen cooking for my three other children, albeit a long time ago.

So, from time to time when my little one gets fussy, I think of the food I was given as a child in the sixties (I was a very picky eater apparently) and turn to the recipes that have been passed down from Nana to Mum to my Sister to me.

These dishes could be described as comfort food, but they are still reasonably nutritious, and most three year olds will happily gobble them up. In fact, if I served these meals to Matilda’s older siblings today they would devour them.

The first is a good start for breakfast, and is my late mother’s version of ‘Coddled Egg’.

  • Cut the crusts off a fresh slice of white or brown bread. Shred bread into pieces and put in a bowl with a small knob of butter.
  • Place one egg into a pot with enough water to cover, and bring to the boil.
  • Once in a rolling boil, cook egg for three minutes then remove from heat — pour cold water over egg to stop the cooking process.
  • Having cut the top off the shell, scoop the soft-boiled egg into the bowl. Mix with the bread and butter adding a little salt/pepper.
  • Some shredded ham and cherry tomatoes can be added at this point if desired.

A favourite of the family through the years has been ‘Nana’s Hamburger Noodle Casserole’, and we still have a copy of the original hand — written recipe from the 1950s at home.

Born in Melbourne in 1896, my Nana (Matilda’s great grand Nana) worked as a journalist before eloping to marry and becoming a housewife. She was a stern but loving lady, and a dab hand in the kitchen.

Nana’s Hamburger Noodle Casserole

You need…

  • 450g of good pork and veal mince.
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • 1 x 450g can of tomato soup.
  • 1 cup of water
  • 100g of spaghetti or noodles (I use spaghetti) 
  • 450g can of creamed corn
  • 1 cup of fresh sliced mushrooms.
  • 1 cup of grated sharp cheese.
  • Salt and pepper.


  • Heat oil in oven proof pot, large enough to hold all the ingredients.
  • Add onion and cook until lightly browned.
  • Add mince, cooking and stirring until beef is no longer pink.
  • Add the soup, water and uncooked spaghetti and simmer until the pasta is tender, stirring often. Season to taste.
  • Add corn and mushrooms to the mixture and combine well.
  • Top with grated cheese and bake in a moderate oven (220C) for 45 minutes.

The children may dislike some of the ingredients, (mushrooms for example) but I have found that once combined it is so delicious that the picky ones don’t notice.

This article was originally published on 9Honey.

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