Some children will eat exactly what they are given without complaint. I envy their parents. My son, while not rejecting everything outright, does not always share my taste in food which means I need to meal plan with him in mind. It is not practical to have two separate meal plans each week but it is possible to choose dinners which can easily be adapted to suit both of us. Here’s how.
What Does Your Child Eat?
Write a list of all the foods you know your child will eat regularly, such as pasta, chicken, cheese, broccoli, potatoes, etc. This will be the basis for your weekly menu. If you have a really fussy eater focus on getting the best quality food into them that you can. Write down the foods they absolutely hate and will not eat. You may have to find a substitute for these if they are a critical ingredient in a dish the rest of your family likes.
I plan at least five evening meals a week that I know my child will eat without fuss. I am determined to broaden his palate but I can’t face more than two nights of protests and tantrums a week! On these nights I always include something I know he will eat, but which isn’t his favourite.
Kid Friendly Meal Plan
If you have never meal planned before you may find the process a little slow, but trust me that it does get quicker and soon you’ll wonder how you got by without it! I start my meal plan with my calendar near me so I can see what after school activities we have during the week. I then look to see what ingredients I have that need using up, and base my meal choices around that. A typical week could be:
- Cottage pie with sweet potato and cauliflower mash (guess who doesn’t like mashed potato!)
- Minestrone soup with haricot beans
- Homemade chicken nuggets (schnitzel for the adults) with vegetables
- Chicken pilau rice
- Make your own wraps (grilled meat or tofu, chopped raw vegetables, grated cheese, etc)
- Sesame and beef (or other meat, depending on what’s in the freezer) noodles
- Pasta with homemade vegetable sauce and cheesy garlic bread
- Slow cooker jacket potatoes with a choice of toppings like baked beans, cheese, or leftovers
The one thing all these meals have in common is that they are made up of several parts so I know that at least part, if not all, of the meal will be eaten by everyone.
Child Approved Shopping List Staples
Items I always have in my kitchen are:
- Tinned tomatoes
- Tinned haricot beans
- Tortilla wraps
- Frozen veg, including chopped frozen onion and cauliflower
- Spices and stock cubes
- Coconut milk
- Cheddar cheese
- Chicken breasts
- Minced garlic
Another weapon in my fussy eater arsenal is batch cooking. Homemade chicken nuggets, while infinitely better than processed rubbish, take time to prepare and cook, however you can make three batches in virtually the same time as it takes to make one. Eat one now, and you have two “fast food” meals in the freezer for those nights when you just can’t be bothered cooking. The same goes for things like bolognese sauce, or shepherd’s pie. Double up and freeze – either in family or individual sized portions – and you always have a healthy meal to hand.