If your kid is a picky eater, you’re certainly familiar with the struggle. Conversations between parents more often than not revolve around sharing tips to get their kids to eat right.
According to this survey of fussy eaters, almost 89% of children in the US go through at least one phase of fussy, picky, or faddy eating. If you were concerned you were the only one dealing with this problem, this should put your mind at ease.
Don’t be mistaken though, age is definitely not a factor when it comes to picky eating habits. Your 3-year-old, as well as your 10-year-old, may be picky eaters. According to a study on picky eating during childhood, 13% to 22% of children between the ages of 3 and 11 were reported to be picky eaters. Moreover, almost 39% of them were identified as picky eaters at some point during the study.
Stop losing sleep over your picky eaters’ fussy eating habits. Here are 5 recipes that will help you entice your child to the dinner table.
#1. Cinnamon French Toast Sticks
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And with picky eaters, it’s the most difficult meal too. Between the morning rush of prepping lunches and getting the kids ready, this is the one meal that often gets neglected.
That’s when this super quick and easy recipe comes to the rescue. Prep ahead of time if you will, freeze it in a storage bag, and reheat in your oven, toaster, or on a skillet whenever you need it.
Ingredients: (Makes 2 to 3 servings)
• 2 large eggs
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 4 slices of bread
• 2 tablespoons butter
• Optional: Confectioners’ sugar
• Optional: Cinnamon sugar
• Optional: syrup (for serving)
• Whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla together in a deep bowl.
• Slice your bread in whatever shape your kid likes.
• Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.
• Soak the bread pieces in the egg mix briefly.
• Once the butter heats, add the soaked bread strips to the skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides.
• Top it off with some confectioners’ sugar or cinnamon sugar and serve with butter and maple syrup.
#2. Sloppy Joe Pasta
Take the two things kids love — Sloppy Joe sandwiches and pasta — and put them together to create this epic recipe. This creamy, spicy, yummy recipe is sure to help your kid settle in for a quick snooze after too! If your child is not too great with heat, don’t forget to tweak the spice and tang to their preference.
Ingredients: (Makes 6 servings)
• 1 pound ground beef
• 1 packet sloppy joe mix
• 1 package (7 ounces) cooked small shell pasta that is drained
• 1 can (8 ounces) of tomato sauce
• 1 can (6 ounces) of tomato paste
• 1 cup 4% cottage cheese
• 1 cup water
• 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
• Cook the beef in a Dutch oven over medium heat till you don’t see any pink on it and then drain.
• Add the sloppy joe mix with tomato sauce and paste as well as the water and stir and heat it.
• Remove the mix from heat and stir in the pasta.
• Spoon half into a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish. Add a layer of cottage cheese followed by the remaining pasta mixture. Shred on some cheddar cheese too.
• Bake it at 350° uncovered for approximately 30 to 35 minutes, or till you see it getting bubbly and the cheese melts.
If mealtime involves a lot of chasing your children while they’re running from pillar to post, this recipe is definitely going to catch your attention. Give your child a little responsibility as they take charge of their own meal with these walking bags of tacos. Curious? Let us explain.
Ingredients: (Makes 5 servings)
• 1 pound ground beef
• 1 packet of reduced-sodium chili seasoning mix
• 5 bags (1 ounce each) of corn chips
• 1 can (10 ounces) of diced tomatoes and green chiles
• 1 can (15 ounces) Ranch Style beans (that is, pinto beans with seasoned tomato sauce)
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• Shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, and sour cream for toppings
• Cook the beef in a large skillet over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes till it’s crumbly. Then drain the excess liquid.
• Add beans, chili seasoning mix, tomatoes, and pepper, and boil the mixture.
• Simmer on reduced heat, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes till it thickens.
• Open up the corn chip bags and add in the beef mixture.
• Let your kids pick their toppings and just like that, they’re good to go!
#4. Tater Tot Casserole
Tater tots are an all-time hit with kids. They’re a great way of sneaking a veggie into your kid’s diet without them throwing a fit! This tater tot casserole is perfect for those who have trouble with getting their kids to eat some veggies and greens. A recipe that can be a make-and-bake-later meal too. It’s an extremely easy dinner fix on days when you just don’t have the energy to put in too much effort.
Ingredients: (Makes 6 servings)
• ½ onion diced
• 15 ounces of canned corn, drained
• 10.75 ounces of condensed cream of mushroom soup (1 can)
• 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
• ½ cup milk
• ¼ cup sour cream
• ½ teaspoon garlic powder
• ½ teaspoon onion powder
• salt and pepper to taste
• 20 ounces frozen tater tots (1 bag)
• Veggies and greens of your choice
• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
• In a large skillet, sauté the onion over medium heat until translucent.
• Stir in the corn, soup, 1/2 cup cheese, milk, sour cream, veggies, and seasonings.
• Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
• Add the frozen tater tots in a single layer, followed by the remaining cheese.
• Bake it uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes, or till you see the cheese getting bubbly.
#5. Healthy Ferrero Rocher
Chocolate and desserts are two things that all kids are crazy about. Be it a little piece of sugary Halloween candy or a nice plump slice of rich chocolate cake, sweet tooth cravings must be fulfilled.
With a whole crunchy hazelnut in the heart, surrounded by a creamy soft hazelnut filling, packed in with a crisp wafer shell covered with chocolate, Ferrero Rocher is simply irresistible. Here’s a healthier homemade version of this classic dessert that your child is sure to guzzle down in seconds!
Ingredients: (Makes 12 bites)
• 8 pitted dates
• ¼ cup almond meal
• 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder (make sure it’s refined sugar-free)
• 1 cup hazelnuts
• ¼ cup water
• 1 tbsp chia seeds
• 1 tbsp unsweetened cacao powder
• 3 tbsp desiccated coconut
• 43 grams 80% dark chocolate (about ½ a bar of chocolate)
• Soak the dates in 1/4 cup water for 10 to 15 minutes or until soft.
• Roast the hazelnuts in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.
• Keep a few almonds aside; they will be the center of the chocolate balls.
• Place the soft dates, the water used to soak the dates, almond meal, roasted hazelnuts, cacao powder, protein powder, and chia seeds in a food processor, then blitz and mix.
• Roll this delicious mixture into balls, making sure to place a hazelnut in the center of each ball.
• Coat balls in a layer of desiccated coconut.
• Place balls in the fridge to harden for 1 hour, and then dip the balls in melted chocolate.
• Refrigerate for up to 8 hours or freeze them to let the chocolate harden quickly. Serve cool.
If you’re on the lookout for more of such recipes, you’ve got it all right here.
Satisfying the ever-changing and extensive list of preferences of your picky eater can definitely pose a challenge. If you find yourself struggling too often, here’s a tip or two that you can be helpful.
• Get creative with foods, don’t keep it monotonous.
• Involve your child in the process, from grocery shopping to mixing batters.
• Make food fun with different-shaped molds and colors to make your kid intrigued.
• Add condiments to your food, nobody likes plain old, boiled broccoli.
• Serve smaller portions to avoid wastage and encourage your kids to develop sound table manners.
• Force-feeding to the point of tears and yelling is a big no-no.
• Don’t lose patience, give them time.
A Few Parting Words
Always remember to stay motivated. Your child’s eating habits are in no way a reflection of your parenting skill. Eating habits take quite a while to get better; you certainly won’t see any changes overnight.
With every step you take to encourage your child to eat, they’re a step further in the right direction. Don’t forget to recognize your little wins along the way to keep you going. The parenting hustle never ends!