No doubt it’s easier to meal plan for the week when your family doesn’t consist of picky eaters. But, there’s a good chance that your family has at least one, so if you want to have an organized week and stay on budget, you’ll want to have an arsenal full of meals for picky eaters so that you’re armed and ready to go!
Meal Ideas for Picky Eaters
For starters, let’s talk about how to plan a meal for picky eaters.
1) Make a list of everything that your picky eater does enjoy
It might feel like your picky eater just won’t eat anything but, I can almost guarantee that there are things they will eat. Even if it’s only mac ‘n cheese and grilled cheese, those are things they enjoy.
2) Build off the list of things that your picky eater will eat
So, using grilled cheese as an example, if your picky eater will eat that, this presumably means that your picky eater will tolerate bread, cheese and butter. Maybe you work in a grilled him and cheese, or a grilled turkey and cheese into this weeks menu.
The following week, try adding a small amount of soup to dip the grilled cheese (that they already know and love) into.
Small steps like this can add up to some pretty big changes.
3) Offer plenty of variety
Using grilled cheese as an example, here again, make sure you’re offering plenty of options along with your main meals. The way to a picky eater’s heart is by giving them what they want, but when you offer variety in small offshoots of what they already love, you’re looking to open up their palate as well.
Offer different chunks of cheese on the countertop while you’re making dinner for them to try out. Try and add a different type of cheese on one side of the grilled.cheese to see if they like it. If they don’t, it’s pretty simple to whip up another grilled cheese or offer something they do like on the side.
4) Have a planned meal time
This is HARD. I aim to have a sit down, prepared meal for my family 2-3 times per week. And, in the busier seasons, it’s not even that often. Sitting down and eating, no tv, no games, no phones allows us to focus on just the food and the people.
Picky eaters can see the condiments that people choose, rolls dipping, when to take drinks to wash food down, etc.
5) Enjoy the conversation
Make a game out of dinner to start conversation. Maybe it’s a rhyming game letting the details of the day unfold.
Or, maybe it’s a letter game, each person comes up with a description of the day starting with certain letters of the alphabet.
We play “rose and thorn” where each person at the table (yes, even the kids friends!) say a rose (good part) and thorn (bad part) of their day. The good part could even be dinner, and the bad part could even be clouds, or a bug … and sometimes you’re even able to uncover things that make for some deeper more meaningful conversation.
That’s where the real gold comes in!!
Use these steps as you’re planning for picky eaters (this even works for fussy adult eaters!)
Let me know what I might have missed in the comments!