Sometimes food gets a little bit complicated and you need the best meal prep ideas for picky eaters in order to meal plan successfully.
When your food preferences don’t match the people you cook for, things can get challenging. And that’s when you can use some picky eater meal plan tips. Don’t worry, I’m here for you. I’ve gone through it too!
Sometimes it can feel like going out to eat is just easier, because then everyone can order exactly what they want. But what a budget buster!
My husband will pretty much eat anything, but when we had kids, I had to change the way I meal planned completely. That’s when I had to start changing the way I meal plan.
We went from eating whatever struck our fancy to dousing broccoli and everything else in sight with cheese just to get our kids to eat it.
While that’s tasty for a while, meal planning and making sure everyone is happy with a meal can seem downright impossible sometimes.
But you CAN meal plan and you can make great meals that even picky eaters will love.
Sometimes it’s just finding the right combinations that will make dinner work for your family and your picky eaters.
Here are the best meal prep ideas for picky eaters so you can meal plan and gain some sanity back.
Make Meals The Whole Family Will Enjoy
This might seem obvious, but it’s one of the things that keeps people from meal planning successfully.
I like to try new things and often forget that my kids won’t even try a new dish unless it looks like mac and cheese.
We can enjoy our dinners as a family and throw out less food when we make meals that everyone looks forward to. (Uh, duh! I often have to remind myself of this.)
There are plenty of things we all will eat, so I know that this will be a go-to solution every time.
So that’s where I start my picky eater meal planning for families meal plan.
If you don’t know what your family likes to eat, ask them now! Get their input!
Then ask them again in a couple of weeks.
Over time, this answer might change, so be sure to ask often.
Why? Because we forget? Yes! And our children are often tempted to try new things at their friend’s house (without fussing, I might add!) and they learn to like something new! Oh, my goodness. And no teeth were probably not even pulled either!
The best meal prep ideas for picky eaters is to write those ideas down! With the bustle of life, we often forget those meal ideas that our family likes. Because who can remember everything?! I know I can’t!
That’s why I write it down in a list, so the meal or side dish doesn’t get forgotten.
I use at least one guaranteed side dish that everyone will eat for your picky eater meal plan tips. If you make at least one side dish, you know that you won’t be wasting your money with this dish.
Stumped? Check out these 30 dinner ideas to get your brain going!
Make Easily Customized Meals
Sometimes it’s easier to do buffet style and start with a simple protein-based meal. We make a nacho, burrito, or pizza bar setup on our kitchen counters and give everyone the opportunity to make their own.
Then, get the family involved as to what items to include as toppings. This picky eater meal plan tips starts with the the picky eaters choosing their very own toppings!
It’s one of the best meal prep ideas for picky eaters because they get to choose which helps them to feel more like a grown up. Win!
And it’s a great way to get your kids in the kitchen and spend quality time as a family.
If you have picky eaters or kids with special diets, this can be a great way to get them involved without making separate meals.
Start your picky eater meal planning for families meal plan with different protein-based bars.
- Chicken nuggets (or turn them into nugget sliders)
- Pork chops
- Steak bites
- Burgers or sliders
- Baked Potatoes or Mashed Potatoes
- Grilled Cheese, Cubans or Paninis
- Burrito Bowls
- Salad or Mexican Salad
- Mac & Cheese
Don’t think you have to do always do dinner foods either. Mix it up with a breakfast for dinner bar with waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, breakfast tacos or wraps, yogurt parfait or biscuits!
Get more details on these kinds of meals with these ideas!
Make Meals That Will Challenge Their Taste Buds
Don’t make new foods as the main dish with your picky eater meal planning for families meal plan; this can be a surefire way to make sure your kids won’t eat it.
Try baking chicken and they get to choose the sauce they put on top. Then make different side dishes to go with it.
Make the main dish a simple one but that is also customizable.
However, the best meal prep ideas for picky eaters is to understand that they won’t love every single meal that you make.
I like to plan what I call an adventure meal.
This means we whip up something different that will allow my family to try new recipes, flavors, and new kinds of food. If they don’t like it, we never make it again. Simple as that!
But they at least have to try it! I tell them, you never know what you are missing out on if you’ve never at least tasted it.
Dare to be blindfolded? Our eyes can sometimes deceive our taste buds so encourage your kids to not determine the taste just by sight. It’s a great way for everyone to try a new dish! And it’s something exciting and different for dinner time!
Looking for more ways to keep eating at home fun? Check out these ideas!
Encourage your kids to retry foods every 6 months. As we grow older so do our taste buds! Encourage them to test their taste buds to see just how “mature” they are. Kids love pretending to be older so this might just be a way to get them into eating more options! (Hint, hint! Wink, wink!)
It’s a great way to release the stress of being a “picky eater” from them and you and onto their taste buds.
Ask questions about what they didn’t like about the dish. Get them to try and verbalize it. Maybe it was the texture, heat or it was the spices used. This will help you not to repeat a dish with similar issues.
Or what about changing how they eat their meals? Check out this great article on how standing may change kids’ tastebuds!
Let Them Eat Peanut Butter And Jelly On Picky Nights
Sometimes your family members will go through phases with meals.
This can mean they’ll only eat one specific thing over and over. As frustrating and weird as it sounds, let them!
My picky eater meal plan tips are if they are craving a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, let them eat it until the sight of jelly makes them want to throw up.
After a while, they won’t want to eat it anymore and they will happily take whatever you have to offer them.
One of the best meal prep ideas for picky eaters I can offer is to have them try the meal first. And make it okay if they don’t love it!
Some kids may never grow out of not liking something. And that’s okay!
Stock on those PB&J supplies when they go on sale. At least you know it’s a filling protein based meal that is cheaper than throwing those costly ingredients in the trash.
Pay Attention To What They Order When You Go Out
When you do go out to eat, pay attention to what your family is eating while they’re out.
Do they order baked potatoes instead of something else?
Do they eat the steamed veggies?
What textures do they enjoy eating out?
These can all be helpful hints into letting you know what to plan for at home.
Your picky eater meal planning for families meal plan should incorporate some of those restaurant dishes into their daily life. This will make eating at home seem more exciting and easier on you.
Allow Them To Cook With You
There is something about getting to cook with your kids that becomes such a bonding experience!
Helping in the kitchen becomes a rite of passage because they are old enough to help.
This can also be a great way to get them to eat their food!
One of the best meal prep ideas for picky eaters is to have them try the spices before adding them to the recipe. Each spice is a new flavor that their taste buds just might enjoy!
It might also lead you to find the spice that they can’t stand. You know, the one you’ve always put in all your dishes?! Wouldn’t it be crazy to find out, it’s only the spice they didn’t like all this time, not the actual meal?!
Another picky eater meal plan tips is to do a taste test while you are cooking the meal. It’s a great way to introduce the flavors of the dish before it gets to the dinner table. So they know what’s coming and you know what to expect.
If your child helped you make something, they are also going to feel proud of their accomplishment and may even demand to have some.
Only Offer Dinner-No Substitutions
If nothing else has worked up to this point, this is my final and best meal prep ideas for picky eaters to you mothers who are struggling with picky eaters.
At some point, your kids will get hungry even though you have thoroughly incorporated your picky eater meal planning for families meal plan to the nth degree.
They will complain and throw a hissy fit over the chicken and broccoli that they have eaten before. But if they get hungry, they’ll eat it. As my pediatrician has said before, they won’t starve themselves!
I love the saying, “You get what you get, and don’t pitch a fit”!
And truthfully, we as parents need to help them understand that this is part of life. Not everything will be handed to them in the fashion they want. They won’t always be served mac and cheese with a side of fruit snacks. They are going to have to go with the flow and roll with the punches and eventually eat what is put in front of them.
If you’ve allowed them to fill up on juice or soda, it is going to take them a while to get hungry because they are full of empty calories.
Wrap their plate up and put it in the fridge. Let them know it will be waiting on them when they are ready. But dinner is for dinner, and nothing else.
Remember that you are the parent, and your kids should not be forcing you to make five different dinners each night.
But making one meal that your family has helped in planning and preparing should be a good option that will satisfy all their tummies.
The best meal prep ideas for picky eaters can sometimes feel like nailing a fly to the wall.
If you are working with picky eaters, then all you can do is your best to suit everyone’s need of a nutritious meal without killing yourself making different meals each night.
Getting the family involved in the meal planning stages should help to cut out the dishes your family won’t eat. And leave only the meal options they will love.
These tips will not only help you plan meals easier but make a meal plan the whole family can stick to and enjoy.