Got a picky eater? A simple solution to get kids interested in healthy meals is to use a divided portion plate. The portion plate is a helpful tool that shows what a healthy diet should consist of.
I know how frustrating it can be when you have a picky eater.
Kids all have very different eating styles and no one wants to make different meals for different members of the family.
Also, if your goal is to have thriving children, mac and cheese every night just might not cut it.
This is why I love using MyPlate for kids.
Kids love it because 1) their food doesn’t touch, and 2) they are more interested in eating a variety of fruits and veggies when they use a portion plate.
So, what’s the easiest and best way to create healthy meals for your picky eaters? Here are 5 big tips to keep those picky eaters happy and your stress levels greatly reduced.
TIP 1: Start with a list of favorite dinner ideas
Find out what meals they really love…I mean REALLY, love.
When we know what our families love we can easily incorporate it into our weekly meal plans. This will not only make them happy but it will give you one less day to figure out what will be served.
There is nothing wrong with having consistent meals. Some people simplify meal planning and have Taco Tuesday, Pizza Friday, etc. Serving favorites and modifying them with different veggies can help picky eaters enjoy new tastes without the anxiety about a fully new meal.
TIP 2: Combine a familiar food with a new food
Use MyPlate to encourage your kids to share their favorite food ideas with you.
Divide a plate (you could use a paper plate, this DIY portion plate, or MyPlate and ask your kids how they would fill the plate. Encourage them to name their favorite fruit, vegetable, grain and protein.
Then serve something new, combined with something familiar from their selection.
By using a visual such as MyPlate while planning weekly meals you can also get your family used to meal planning in general, and this is a life skill all kids need.
TIP 3: Try new situations to encourage new foods, rather than always at dinner.
Find a different place and time to serve food items your kids are simply not choosing.
Plan a taste testing party with the neighborhood kids or at your next family festivity. Bring out the MyPlate and some new (and familiar) food options. Have kids place the foods where they belong on the plate and then offer samples for everyone to try.
This will get your kids used to seeing the new foods under a less stressful situation and they will eventually give it a try.
TIP 4: Add new foods in a smoothie
Whip up a smoothie by having your kids add ingredients to the blender.
I know smoothies are all blended up, but the important part is for your kids to see and feel the new food. It may seem like something you would do with a baby (all pureed and blended) but it’s truly all part of the process. Kids want to know what they are being served and feel OK about new foods.
One step at a time and eventually you can add those new foods to their plate and watch them gobble it up!
TIP 5: Involve the kids
Plan and prepare meals with your kids by your side.
Give kids the reins when it comes to meal planning and meal prepping. They love to take control and when they become more involved in the kitchen they will see those new foods in a different light. They will eventually serve it to themselves and either enjoy it, or have a true dislike to it because they have tried it enough to know.
Just by using something as simple and fun as the MyPlate and by getting kids involved in the process of meal planning and prepping, can make for a less stressed momma and happy, healthy kiddos.