Meal Time: 7 Tips on How to Cook for Picky Eaters
Meal Time—Most of us have one or more children or a spouse who is a picky eater. You may even be picky yourself! Isn't it frustrating to cook for a picky eater, knowing they'll like what you give them, or that they'll feel much healthier if they'd just eat it?!
My boys have both gone through picky eating phases, and when they do I'm tempted in frustration to kick them out of the kitchen altogether. But according to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, that is exactly the wrong thing to do. They share a whole list of tips for overcoming pickiness, including serving meals and snacks at the same time each day, recruiting your child's help, and being creative.
Twitter "experts" at a Mom It Forward Girls' Night Out (#gno) three weeks ago agreed emphatically, and shared lots of "in-the-trenches," specific things they've done to make those tips work. Sponsored by Fisher Price and their new Dora the Explorer kitchen toy, it was a veritable feast of information from which we can all benefit.
4 Tips on Recruiting Your Kid's Help
- Have them be responsible for dinner one night a week. The whole thing from planning to making to clean-up if they're older, or just planning if they're younger. @formerlyphread does this and offers her help. @thegraciousgirl even has her kids create recipes before-hand and write them down. She says "It's really fun to see what they create in writing and in the oven. Some of our favorites have come that way."
- Make easy things they like with them, like popsicles (try this recipe for pumpkin pie popsicles from @marlameridith), or graham crackers (here's a recipe from @HuppieMama), or macaroni and cheese (here's @thegraciousgirl's recipe).
- Have them help you grow the plants or herbs that go into your dishes. @theSmartMama raves about the homemade ice cream with chocolate sauce that they make with leaves from their own chocolate mint plant.
- Serve common healthy things in different ways. This tried-and-true tip works for @kathielb, who serves a one-ingredient homemade ice cream made from frozen bananas.
3 Tips on Being Creative in the Kitchen
- Become friends with your crockpot. Try these popular recipes for Chicken Tinga (@phemom's simpler version entails a jar of barbecue sauce), and pot roast.
- Serve a variety of textures. @thegraciousgirl says, "I've found the key to helping my girls like food is texture! I continue to serve different textures... over and over."
- Serve salmon. It's easy to prepare, can be served in a variety of different ways, is very nutritious, and is the least "fishy-tasting" of the fishes. Try grilling it, wrapped in tin foil with lemon or lemon juice; baked and brushed with honey mustard and olive oil, as @spanglishbaby recommends; or with basil aioli, says @marlameridith.
With all these tips, I'm encouraged to not only keep my kids in the kitchen, but involve them more in my preparation process.
Who is a picky eater in your family? How do you prevail over the picky eaters in your family? What recipes do you like to prepare that the whole family enjoys?
Photo courtesy of Flickr.