I’m always on the hunt for good vegan recipes because I imagine Cami would like it if we switched up the meal rotation every once in a while. I found a recipe that I was soooooooo excited to make because I just KNEW Camille was going to love it. We went to THREE different stores and one farmer’s market to buy the freshest ingredients. I made the dish and Camille absolutely hated it. I was crushed. I never pegged her as a picky eater, but I’m pretty sure that dish is still in the back of our freezer. It’s obviously not financially smart for me to continue these culinary experiments with Camille. So what do yo do, when you have a picky eater and you’re on a budget???
Meet them where they are
This is most likely not the first time that you’ve heard this, but you know your child better than most. At this point, you have a pretty good sense of what they enjoy eating and what they do not. When sitting down to map out what the week’s meals will consist of – let the foods that they enjoy be the anchor for your meal planning. This does not mean that you should avoid new foods, but let the core of the meal be something familiar. Although you may be using the same ingredients, find ways to mix them up and create new, fun meals. It doesn’t all have to be so one-note. Having foods that they enjoy in stock also serves as a backup plan if things don’t go as planned.
Give your picky eater … more variety!
Even if you have the pickiest of eaters, you still have to introduce new foods. This is the only way to chip away at the picky eater antics! Your little one needs to be exposed to lots of variety. With more exposure, their food repertoire will expand. Introducing new foods will not always be easy (in fact, it may feel like war sometimes), but keep in mind that the payoff is pretty dang sweet!
In our household, it’s the norm that Camille has to try new foods at least once. Even if she doesn’t fall head over heels in love with the food, we’ll integrate it into our food rotation at least three more times. It’s easy for her to not want to eat a new food the first time, but if after four separate occasions she’s still spitting it out, it’s pretty safe for us to assume that she’s not a fan of that food.
Chunk up all the newness
Embrace deconstructing meals. The idea of deconstructing meals is just what it sounds like. Keeping the ingredients separate and adding what each person enjoys. Think fajitas – keep the primary ingredients available for all to cherry pick what s/he, they wants. You can also substitute some ingredients. If you love a dish that has an ingredient that your child abhors, try subbing the offensive ingredient for one that they’d prefer. Finally, it would be wise to include more “buffet” type meals in the meal rotation.
Pro-Tip: It’s never ever a good idea to plan meals for your picky eaters that you wouldn’t eat yourself. That is rule number 1 for budget meal planning 101. In the event that all of your efforts fail – at least one person in the home will eat it – you. Above all, check in with your child’s pediatrician to ensure that your little one is meeting all of their nutritional needs and is happy in doing so.
The Kitchn published 5 Flexible Dinners for Picky Eaters & I’m a believer! Check it out!