I recorded this video on How to Stop Preparing Separate Meals in order to help my clients and other parents who are struggling to please their fussy eaters. Many of them end up spending hours in the kitchen preparing 2, 3 or more separate meals every day. The point I am trying to make in this video is that it is enough to have just one or two foods on the table that your child can manage. The rest of the food can be something other family members enjoy. The goal of this strategy is to teach your child to pick and choose from what is available, without making a big deal about the presence of less likes and unfamiliar foods on the table. In this video I discuss concrete steps to transition to this feeding strategy. Believe me, once you have seen it work, you will not want to go back to the old ways!
Are you tired of cooking a few separate meals to keep your family members happy? Are your kids demanding alternatives to what you have prepared? Are you tired of serving the same old pizza and chicken fingers to your children every day? Here is how you can prepare just one balanced meal for the whole family to enjoy and avoid spending hours in the kitchen or handling tantrums at dinner table. It is a 5 step process that will streamline your meal planning and cooking and reduce mealtime pressure.
Step 1: Make a list of everything your child typically eats. Divide the list into food groups: protein, starch, vegetable and fruit. For example, your child may enjoy the following protein rich foods: chicken fingers, burger, cheese, boiled eggs, the following starches: mashed potato, pasta, bread, the following vegetables: tomatoes and broccoli and the following fruit: strawberries and apples. If your child likes milk add it to the protein category or just keep it separate.
Step 2: Include one or two foods that your child typically eats. It can be foods from any food group. For example, you may start planning the meal with one of the preferred foods: for example chicken nuggets.
Step 3: Round the meal with food from other food groups: starch, vegetables, fruit and maybe milk. These food do not have to come from your child’s preferred foods list. It can be something that you or other family members enjoy. So you may end up adding some purple potatoes, salad, and fruit to the meal.
Step 4: Repeat the process for each picky eater. If you have more than one picky eater in the family, make sure to include one of the foods they typically enjoy into the meal. For example, your second child may not like chicken nuggets, but be a big fan of rice. So you would want to include rice as a starch choice for the meal so that everyone can find something to eat from what you offered.
Step 5: Serve plenty of bread. If the meal is particularly challenging for your picky eaters, serve plenty of bread so that kids can fill up on this safe option if they are not in the mood for other foods.
What do you get as a result of your efforts?
– One balanced meal with most food groups represented that will work for everyone in your family.
– Your children will be more willing to come to the table at mealtimes if they know that you served something they can handle.
– You will also reduce mealtime stress as every child will know that you will not pressure them to eat other foods that they are still learning to like.
– You will also provide an important exposure to new and more challenging foods that kids need in order to develop taste for them.