Combat your child’s picky eating habits by having her help you prepare a few dishes or even meals. Children who help prepare food are more likely to eat it, even if it’s something new or unfamiliar. You can further encourage your child to eat a wider variety of food by setting a good example and eating the foods yourself.
A quesadilla is a simple enough meal to make and is sure to please even picky eaters, as it’s a fancy version of grilled cheese. Pour a drizzle of olive or canola oil in a pan on the stove and turn the heat to medium. Help your child place a flour or corn tortilla in the pan, then have her top the tortilla with shredded cheese and a selection of vegetables. Compromise with your child by adding one new vegetable into the quesadilla or one vegetable she’s certain she dislikes, such as finely chopped broccoli or some chopped onion. Top the cheese and vegetables with another tortilla and help your child press down. When the bottom tortilla is browned, help your child flip it over and cook until browned on the other side. Slice into wedges like a pizza and serve with salsa and sour cream.
A homemade smoothie can be full of vitamins, calcium and other nutrients your child needs to get through his day. If your child is old enough to use a blender, it may even be a quick meal he can make on his own on rushed school days. Pour 1/2 cup of milk or nondairy milk, such as soy or almond, into a blender jar. Add about 1/4 cup of orange juice. Chop half of a fresh or frozen banana and add the the jar, along with 1 cup of mixed frozen fruit such as strawberries, blueberries or mango. Puree until smooth and pour into a glass. Serve with a straw to make drinking more fun.
Quick Mini Pizzas
Most children, even the picky ones, love pizza. Have your children help you make your own healthier but still delicious versions at home. Slice a English muffin or pita bread in half. Have your child top with a few tablespoons tomato sauce, a sprinkling of shredded mozzarella cheese and any toppings she likes. If you have one, use a toaster oven to cook the pizzas. Set the oven to 350 degrees F and cook until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.
Children will have a blast wrapping up chicken and other toppings in a tortilla. Take your child to the grocery store with you and have her pick out the tortillas of her choice. There’s usually a wide variety available, from basic whole wheat to brilliantly colored spinach or sun dried tomato. Lay one tortilla on the counter top or cutting board. Help your child spread a layer of mayonnaise, mustard or other condiment on the tortilla. Place some cooked chicken in the center of the tortilla. Have your child top the chicken with tomatoes, shredded lettuce or any other vegetable she likes. Help her fold one edge of the tortilla over the chicken and vegetables, forming it into a cylinder.