Having picky eaters in your family can put a strain on meal prep and trying to adopt healthier eating habits. My daughter is very picky, but, luckily for me, she is picky for the right reasons (most of the time), and prefers healthier foods, but for many, “healthy” food can sometimes get a bad reputation for having less taste which is not true. Just because something is good for you doesn’t make it our enemy. Here are a few tips that can help you overcome the battle with the picky eaters in your family. The 3 M’s:
Mix it Up – Part of being a picky eater and turning away food is having a certain set of meals that you really enjoy. A good, easy way to ease picky eaters into branching out is finding something a meal that they really enjoy and mix in something new. A new healthy choice for a side paired with a favorite meal will give the eater less stress and anxiety of trying a new food and their taste buds will not be thrown off completely.
Make it Fun – Often times picky eaters are scared away from a food without even tasting it because of its look, texture, color, or smell. By incorporating shopping for the food and making the meal a fun experience, some of those fears can be erased. My daughter enjoys shopping trips, and we use the shopping list as reading and spelling practice as well. Being hands on with a food the picky eater has hesitation about can turn a scary eating experience into a fun memory that they can build on, creating a healthy eating plan.
Motivation – When all else fails, motivation can do a lot of good. Using motivational tools such as positive rewards can help nudge someone into trying something new. This tactic can be especially helpful with children but do not hesitate to use it with adults including yourself. Find a special meal, healthy dessert, or desirable experience like a day trip somewhere as a way to encourage embracing a new food choice.
Use these 3 strategies as tools to assist in expanding the menu of a picky eater.