Do you have a picky eater living in your house? I have two! Both daughters have gone through many transitions since they were babies. They have gone from eating or at least trying any food, to eating only a handful of foods. I tried introducing healthy foods like fruits and vegetables into their diets early on when they were babies, and they liked most of the foods I fed them during that time. Now that they are eight and ten and can voice their opinions very well, they are very selective of what they eat.
The following is a list of a few must haves I keep around that I know are popular with my kids and their friends, and maybe they will help you win the daily battle with your little food critic:
Fresh and frozen fruits: watermelon, kiwi, strawberries, grapes and apples are the most well received fruits in my house. Frozen mangos are a wonderful healthy alternative to ice cream. You can also use frozen mangoes to make fruit smoothies. Just add your favorite fruits along with frozen mangos in a blender to make a delicious and healthy snack.
Chicken nuggets: you can purchase organic chicken nuggets from Sprouts if you have one in your neighborhood. Most large supermarkets now carry frozen chicken nuggets made from chickens that were not given added hormones. This is a quick snack that kids love!
Fresh vegetables: baby carrots, raw broccoli and sliced cucumbers with a side of ranch made from yogurt are popular with my kids. Another veggie favorite is sliced celery served with creamy peanut butter. Avoid this one if your child is allergic to peanuts.
Spaghetti and meatballs. This is a quick and healthy meal or snack I make with frozen meatballs. Keep a jar of Marinara sauce and spaghetti in your pantry. Heat the meatballs in the marinara sauce until cooked. Pour it over cooked spaghetti and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. This is by far a favorite dish at my house. Serve with a simple salad and a healthy dressing like lemon juice and olive oil.
Nuts and dried fruits: Walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews and sunflower seeds are a great source of vitamins. Dried apricots, dates, cranberries and raisins (make sure to get the kind with no sugar/oils added) can be combined with your favorite nuts to make trail mix. Add some dark chocolate and your kids will love it!
Make it fun: My kids love it when they are involved in food selection at the grocery store. Recruit your child’s help while shopping to make it an interactive experience. Ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. At home, encourage your child to help you rinse veggies, stir batter or set the table.
Last but not least, don’t buy or keep anything in your house that you don’t want your child to eat.
Consult your pediatrician, nutritionist, or American Academy of Pediatrics if you need more information to create a healthy, well-balanced diet to satisfy your little finicky eaters.