3 min|Rhiannon Lockhart

Meal Planning for Picky Eaters

Wellness, Nutrition, Health

Do you have a household full of picky eaters or are starting to introduce foods to toddlers?

Making meals work for picky eaters can be easier than we expect when you have the right tools. If you're trying to make meal prepping and planning more streamlined and enjoyable for the whole family, test out some of these tips and tricks.

5 ways to make meals work for picky eaters and toddlers: 

1. Let kids help "choose" the meals. 

Give kids a few options for dinners that week, and ask them to pick what they'd like. Sure, they might change their mind before dinner gets on the table, however having them engaged in the process gives them some empowerment. 

Even better: get them involved in the preparation process. Depending on their age and abilities, have them rip up lettuce or the ends of beans, mix a sauce, add ingredients to a bowl or cut up some vegetables. 

2. Make some simple (and sneaky) swaps

Kids hate eggs? Mix them into a frittata or quiche with their favourite vegetables, cheeses and meat or meat substitute. 

Not a big fan of vegetables? Omit them at major meals, but try making a smoothie with hidden cauliflower or spinach with their favourite fruits - banana is the easiest to hide any other flavours!

Blend the vegetables into scrambled eggs, a pesto or tomato sauce. 

3. Add new foods in small amounts

Just because they don't like it right now, doesn't mean they won't like it soon. Heck, they might even like the food tomorrow! That means every meal is an opportunity to introduce a new food.

Give it a small place on their plate, surrounded by other foods they do enjoy. This way, you know they'll eat most of what's on their plate - even if they only lick the new food! 

4. Talk them through it

Be encouraging, but also accept when they won't keep going. 

Ways you can talk your child through a new or disliked food: 
  • Explain what you think it tastes like
  • Explain the texture of it when it's in your mouth
  • Show examples of how you eat it (biting, chewing)
  • Demonstrate your enjoyment of the food
  • Ask them to only have one bite and they can try again another day. 
If you feel yourself getting frustrated with your child's palate, walk away for a minute or focus on something else. If it's not working, leave it be! 

5. Make a meal that is easy to have alternatives

  • Use spaghetti squash for yourself, and normal pasta noodles for your child
  • Make a soup and pull out a serving for your child before you add the broccoli
  • Mash your child's potatoes vs. roast yours.
The main goal to aim for is to make nearly identical meals for you and your child rather than having completely different plates. Minor swaps are, unfortunately, a typical part of the parenting-job. However if you start young enough, creating an entirely separate meal can be avoided!

Looking for more tips and tricks to plan meals for your family? Schedule an appointment with Integrative today.
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