4 Tricks to Get Picky Kids to Eat Faster
By David Zinczenko
“My 4-year-old only eats beige food,” said my friend Kelly recently. “Also, none of the beige food can touch any of the other beige food, or he also won't eat it. I can't afford boarding school. Any thoughts?”
Relax, I told her. There’s nothing wrong with living on a diet of chicken fingers, mac & cheese, bananas, and peanut butter—that’s a pretty well-balanced meal. The key is to make each of these things as healthy as possible until such time as your child accepts the reality of broccoli. I asked the staff at Eat This, Not That! magazine for their best tips on satisfying picky preschoolers.
Grill a bunch of chicken strips and keep them on hand for easy reheating. Avoid breading at all costs. You want your child to think of a chicken finger as being made entirely of chicken.
Mac & Cheese
Melt 2 Tbsp butter, stirring in 2 Tbsp flour, and then slowly whisking in 2 cups of 2% milk. Add 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar and ½ cup parmesan. Once the cheese is melted, add ¼ cup Greek yogurt and some cooked pasta and coat. To make it fancy, you can put it in a baking dish, top with panko bread crumbs, and broil for 5 to 7 minutes. (The average restaurant mac & cheese is almost 1400 calories. This one comes in at 360 a serving.)
Select peanut butter that’s made without added sugars or fat. The only ingredient in your child’s peanut butter should be “peanuts.”
Whenever your child is particularly set on carbo-loading from beige side of the spectrum, trick her with a simple chocolate shake. Mix ½ cup almond milk, a scoop of chocolate vegan protein mix, a tablespoon of peanut butter, 1 tsp of ground flax seeds and ½ frozen banana. Blend this treat and suddenly your child’s meal is packed with protein, fiber and, most important, no more tears.
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