If you've got a fussy eater who has no desire to stray from his two favorite foods, Mighty Mommy has 6 tips to help him become more adventurous with some new, healthy options.
Growing up, I was never a fussy eater. Aside from refusing chicken liver or steamed Brussels sprouts, my mother says I was a breeze to cook for. It was just never an issue.
But when I became a mom and had 3 kids with sensory issues who couldn't tolerate certain textures, I discovered a whole new world of food pickiness. I had to get creative to make sure my kids ate healthy foods.
See also: 12 Tips to Get Your Picky Toddler to Eat
Well, 8 kids and 20 years later, Mighty Mommy has learned a few tricks to help entice even the pickiest taste buds. Today I have 6 tips to help the fussy eaters in your household become more adventurous and try new foods..
Tip # 1: Make the Most of Mornings
Breakfast is the perfect opportunity to set your kids on a healthy track for the day. While a plate of scrambled eggs might not entice a picky eater, an egg sandwich might do the trick (much less slimy and goopy).
Mini bagels come in healthier options such as whole grain or high fiber. Add an egg and a slice of turkey bacon or cheese and you’ve got a filling and healthy breakfast.
Whole grain pancakes and waffles are also an easy fix in the morning, especially if you make a batch or two ahead and freeze them for a quick treat on a busy school morning. I add extra fiber, flax seed and even shredded zucchini into my pancakes to sneak in more nutritional value. Offer a couple of different toppings besides syrup so your kids feel like they have a choice. These can be cinnamon, fat-free whipped cream, sliced strawberries or bananas, and even peanut butter.
When my kids were toddlers and pre-schoolers, I invested in large cookie-cutter shapes of dinosaurs and teddy bears and poured the pancake mix directly into the cutter to make the pancakes even more fun to eat.
Tip #2: Plan and Cook Meals in Advance
When busy parents scurry through the door at the end of the day only to find an empty fridge and hungry kids, we often fall into the trap of heating up frozen chicken nuggets or whipping up a box of mac and cheese.
But it doesn't have to be so.
If you invest some time on the weekend or during a less hectic time during your week to plan and cook and freeze a few meals, not only will you save your sanity, you’ll also have a much better chance of introducing new foods to your family because you’ll have the ingredients on hand.
Start with 2-3 meals so you don’t get overwhelmed planning out an entire week. If your kids already like baked chicken, think of a new side dish they could try with it, like grilled vegetables sprinkled with parmesan cheese or fruit kabobs with a yogurt dipping sauce.
Try and have at least one item that you know they’ll eat and then mix it up with a new side like cous cous or whole grain rice pilaf with pieces of grilled chicken or fish that they like added in.
Even if they only have a little taste of the new dish, that's something to build on for next time. This way, if you add something new into the repertoire every week or even every other week, within a very short time you will expand their palates substantially.