Healthy Meals for Picky Eaters

Do you have a picky eater at home? I had one who ate nothing but pizza, spaghetti and white meat.  She loved tuna out of the can, but eating that five times a week is just bad news. I used to trick her with chicken out of the can. I didn’t like that either, but it appeared it was the only thing she’d eat.

My next child would taste just about anything I put in front of him. He might not have liked it, but he would at least taste it. Not really normal toddler behavior.

If you have a child who seems to have focused on just one or two foods, there is no real reason to be concerned.  Pediatricians and Nurse Practitioners (like me 🙂 ) advise their patients to continue to offer foods to their children and eventually they WILL open up and try something new.

Problems happen when children are forced to eat what’s on their plate. I don’t know about you, but on occasion I’ve heard:

“You aren’t getting off the table until your plate is clean.”

“There are starving children who would love to eat what you have on your plate.”

“You have to eat as many bites as you are old. You’re 3? You HAVE to eat 3 bites or you don’t get anything else!”

. . . and other similar statements.

Two things happen when children are forced to eat something. They rebel and refuse. If they have a strong will, they may be able to out wait you. They’ll be sitting at the table until the following morning.

The second thing that happens is that children associate food with either something negative or positive.

Food is something we need to survive. It shouldn’t be a reward or punishment or your child may become an emotional eater, leading to obesity.

Accept the idea that your child has their own notions about what tastes good and what doesn’t, just like you do.

Let’s move on.

What’s Healthy?

June9WatermelonThe American Heart Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society, FDA and numerous other agencies have their own ideas about what’s healthy. And truthfully, to prove they’re wrong would take a four part article series you’d probably never read.

The short version will mean you’ll want to do some of your own research about what is and isn’t healthy.  I’ve found some of the best ways to dig out research is to use the efforts of some of the best authorities on nutrition I can find.
Mark’s Daily Apple

Read their articles and then look through the reference links attached to the articles.

The basics:

  1. High fat meals fill you up, are good for your heart and don’t increase your cholesterol. But NOT trans-fatty acids in baked goods. Healthy fats in grass fed beef, avocados, nuts, seeds and coconut oil. Remember, while peanuts has “nuts” in the name, they aren’t real nuts and don’t have the same nutritional value as walnuts, almonds and other nuts.
  1. Reduce your carbohydrates and sugar intake. Both spike your insulin and increase your risk of insulin resistance, also known as type-2 diabetes. And, sugar and carbs are responsible for rising cholesterol numbers.
  1. Drink enough water until your pee is light yellow. Not soda, carbonated drinks, fruit juices or anything else. If your kids like flavored water, then flavor it yourself with fresh berries or lemon.
  1. Eggs are good for you and your children. Most kids love eggs. They are easy to make and easy to clean up after.

There are definitely more factors that go into a healthy diet, but this is a great place to start.

Healthy Meals Picky Eaters

They are picky, you don’t have hours to prepare meals that are worthy of a Pinterest picture. They love fun, you need fast and easy. They want the food to meet their taste needs, you want foods you can eat too so you aren’t cooking two meals every night.

Remember that eating breakfast at night is fun, different and isn’t against the rules. I took some time to search out links to the meals I made for my picky eater and found even more I think you’ll love.June9Corn

This first one is mine.  My children love smoothies and I love making them for breakfast for them – fast, easy and very nutritious.  Get rid of the fruit juice and substitute water, they don’t know the difference and you get rid of the extra sugar.

Frozen fruit – banana, strawberries, blueberries are all great
Greek yogurt – plain or mix half vanilla and half plain

Blend and enjoy. You’ll find the amounts that work best for your kids. Sometimes I make it very thick and then pour it into ice cream forms. Dessert is suddenly very healthy. My daughter’s favorite. You can chop a few onions and mushrooms fine to improve flavor for the kids but they’ll never know the veggies are there.  Freeze the leftovers!    Ask them to try your new green chips – they will love them and you won’t mind the grilled cheese sandwiches with chips.  Consider ditching the jalepeno pepper in the dressing unless the kids love spicy The kids may not like the veggies but they’ll probably love the pineapple   Make a second pan of lasagna for the freezer at the same time. Chop vegetables fine and the kids won’t know they are there. Make it with red pepper to blend with the sauce. I like it with more mozzarella and parmesan cheese.  Granola bars are a snack staple, but the store bought bars are filled with chemicals and sugar. Control what does and doesn’t go in to yours. Try coconut, high in fat and very healthy. Your kids may surprise you!  Don’t use the box mix for these. It’s the sauce that makes these great. Switch up with ground beef, ground turkey or pulled chicken. Freeze the leftovers for a quick meal on another day. Add chopped zucchini and the kids won’t even know they’re getting their veggies!



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