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.
Chuck the Chicken Strips
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.
Make Your Own 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.)
Upgrade Your Peanut Butter
Select peanut butter that’s made without added sugars or fat. The only ingredient in your child’s peanut butter should be “peanuts.”
Muscle Up the Carbs
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.
Authoritative advice, sensible food swaps, groundbreaking nutrition news, and the world’s most delicious collection of weight-loss recipes. Eat This, Not That! puts the power of food at your fingertips.