I happen to come from a family of extremely picky eaters. As a child I was one of the pickiest. Now that crown has been passed over to my brother. As I began to try and help my mom jump into healthy eating one of her biggest struggles was to make meals everyone could be happy with. So I came up with these three ways you can make healthy eating work for everyone.
Option one is talk it out and compromise. Whoever is in charge of cooking, I am guessing it would be you reading this right now. Talk to everyone in the family. Have them list 4-5 of their favorite meals made at home. Then when you have each person’s list create a schedule of dinner options. Create this schedule so that one meal from each list makes it to that week. When you complete the schedule, post it in your home for everyone to see. Plan out weekly or monthly. Why does this option work? It works for three reasons. One you are getting everyone’s input and considering what they would like. This ensures that at least one night out of the week they will have a favorite meal. Second you are planning ahead which means no last minute questions or options, everyone knows what will be for dinner and has the whole day to wrap their head around it. And last but not least, you are going to get so many ideas for dinner! This can open the door to new meals and open the eyes of picky eaters. Get in there and make it happen! Talk, Plan, Eat!
Option two make it plain with additional options. Make a base meal and then have all the fixings/favoring on the side. For example make a plain veggies with quinoa, keep everything separate veggies, quinoa, and sauces and then allow each person to create their own meal. All you need to do for this option is to choose the base meal and then allow everyone to add what they like. We did this just a few weeks ago. We had some family coming over so we cooked veggies and chicken and quinoa. We did a light seasoning on chicken and left all separate for each person to create their own dish. Having some side sauce options too. Why options two works? This works because each person gets to make their own choice, leaving everyone happy. Option two also takes away the pressure to create this wonderful meal, all you need to do is choose that base meal and let everyone else comprise the rest.
Option three is actually my favorite! Get those picky eaters in the kitchen with you cooking. This works well especially for little picky eaters. When we take time to make the meal we are more likely to try it and like it. This one is my favorite because it adds to time spent together. Give out tasks and enjoy preparing the meal together. In all honesty I was hesitant at first to let my little one help me, but when I did it was awesome! He was happy to be a part of the cooking, he was learning, and he started to open up about eating foods. Give option three a try; it will surprise you.
Picky eating is a mindset. Take time to sit down with family and assist them in opening their mind to new foods. Option one and option two have worked well in my house hold. We have found that eating any meal can be fun and exciting. Try out one or both of these options with your family. Plan, Prepare and enjoy each meal!