|Taming Picky Eaters
How to Handle Picky Eaters on Hectic Nights
Any parent with a Picky Eater will tell you that getting them fed on hectic nights is a massive challenge. While we offer what
our subscribers call "miracle solutions" in our Kid Friendly recipe series, hectic nights are not the time to address your Picky
Eater and introduce change. The goal on nights when you barely have time to breathe is to just .... get.... dinner... in... their..
mouths. Bonus points for a remotely healthy meal.
First things First. Your Picky Eater is craftier than you think. They pick up on your crazed and desperate dinner choices on
hectic nights and weasel in their requests for their favorite easy foods or take-out. Because you're harried, you cave - leaving
you in a position of creating a separate meal for your Picky Eater.
Not to mention that (whether you realize it or not), you've lost control of the situation.
By the same token, it doesn't seem fair to make your whole crew eat chicken nuggets every crazy night simply because you
only have time to cook one lightning fast meal.
We can (and will), however, provide you with some solutions that will help on 15 Minute Dinner nights. Even Parents of the
Pickiest of the Picky will find real solutions that work here.
If you have a Picky Eater, there are ways to "feed them what they'll eat" on busy nights, while still maintaining a little control.
Consider a New Version of "Control" on Hectic Nights
This method requires a little bit of faith, and is truly intended only to be used for super hectic nights. It gives your Picky Eater
some sort of control in food selection, while allowing you the authority to make the ultimate dinner selection for your
Picky Eater on crazy nights.
Step 1: With your guidance, sit down with your Picky Eater and come up with a list of dinners your Picky Eater will eat
without a fuss. Think outside the box with this exercise (like breakfast for dinner for example).
Step 2: Take a look at the list you created and whittle it down to meals that are either 1) superfast (like 2-3 minutes fast) or
2) can be made ahead and reheated superfast (we're talking 2-3 minute fast). If you're having to play "diner cook" for your
Picky Eater, the meal needs to be ridiculously easy.
We have provided below some suggestions.
Step 3: Each week, you pick 1 or 2 items from the revised list specifically to have readily available on crazy nights.
It is important that you make these final weekly selections. Why? For starters, your Picky Eater loses the option of choosing
from an unlimited array of choices. Your decision needs to be based on what is convenient for you (or whoever is preparing
dinner). This seemingly small detail ensures that you retain the ultimate control over dinner selection.
It is equally important that the weekly list be generated from meals from their "approved" list. Since you're feeding your Picky
Eater food from their personally created "approved" list, there will be less whining.
Essentially, the system is a Win-Win.
Word of Caution
This method is truly intended to be used only on super hectic nights. This is not a true Picky Eater solution, nor a 7 day a week
plan for a Picky Eater. This is simply a solution for crazed parents on hectic nights.
If (like many), you have a truly Picky Eater and are concerned, find a Picky Eater solution that works for your selective eater.
We provide some suggestions in our Kid Friendly Breakfast, Lunches and Snack program, but you can readily find
Picky Eater suggestions online. However, we recommend you implement solutions on nights when your household is a bit
calmer - when you have the time to be patient.
Expect Some Push-Back
Expect a little backlash if you typically allow your Picky Eater complete control of their meal on hectic nights. Once they
don't have complete control over what they are eating for dinner, you might be surprised to find your Picky Eater(s) growing
bored with his/her limited options. If they ask for something other than what you selected for them (from their list), simply
remind them that you selected meals from the "approved" list they created. And that your kitchen is no longer a diner. They
can either eat what you prepared or eat what you made for the rest of the family. Because you will obviously be in a hurry,
let them know the decision needs to be made quickly.
Always offer them some of what the rest of the family is having. Don't push, simply offer.
Older? Let them make their own meal
If your kids are over 8 or 9 years old, put them in charge of making their own dinner if they aren't eating what everyone else is
eating. In this case, you can decide whether or not it is important for you to retain any control of the situation. For some
parents, it might be easier to allow them to make whatever they want, as long as they can make it within the allotted time
frame. For other parents, it might still be important to retain control over selected the dinner from the approved list.
Another suggestion for Picky Eaters is easily modifiable meals. For instance, many of our recipes start off with the plain
chicken you pre-cooked. Serve your Picky Eater plain chicken with their favorite dipping sauce. If your Picky Eater will eat
plain chicken or ground beef, most of the recipes we'll be providing you are modifiable.
Let your Picky Eater build their own quesadilla or taco with ingredients they'll eat. Let them top their own quick pizza (like the
English Muffin Pizza recipe we provide today).
Having the flexibility to offer plain chicken or ground beef will make life significantly easier for you. So, if your Picky Eater
won't even eat plain chicken or plain ground beef, consider making it a goal to works towards introducing these two foods
on nights when you have more time. We can tell you that (if they will eat these two foods), hectic nights will be much easier.
Today's Recipe: English Muffin Pizza
NEXT NEWSLETTER: EMERGENCY MEAL
Some Suggestions for the "List"
- instant oatmeal
- boiled eggs
- egg in a mug
- peanut butter and jelly sandwich
- microwaveable chicken nuggets
- deli meat and crackers
- make your own deli meat sandwiches
- tortilla with melted cheese (microwave)
- Ready Pasta with jarred marinara or butter and parmesan
- Soft Taco (use pre-cooked ground beef, sprinkle with taco seasoning and water- then microwave)
- grapes and chunks of cheese
- English Muffin Pizza Quick Version (pop muffin in toaster, then top with sauce and cheese then
microwave for one minute).