What To Make For Breakfast, Lunch And Dinner For Even The Pickiest Kid
My daughter has had difficulty with eating since she was born. This started with breastfeeding challenges and has kept going from there (a story for another day). I worry about her diet on a daily basis and of course as many mothers do, I wonder what I could have done differently to prevent this. So I have had to take a deep breath, regroup and start small…..
What to make for breakfast? Breakfast menu ideas
She has always been good at eating breakfast so I figured that would be a good place to start. Sure some days she just eats a bowl of cheerios, but most days I try to get as much into her breakfast as I can. I often make what she calls “special breakfast”: oats, almond milk, plain Greek yogurt, flax seeds or chia seeds with banana and berries and a touch of maple syrup. This meal supplies her with fiber, protein, fat, omega-3s, calcium, thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, selenium, iron, potassium, vitamin b, c and antioxidants…that’s a pretty long list of benefits for one meal! She loves it and will often ask for a second serving.
I often make what she calls “special breakfast”: oats, almond milk, plain Greek yogurt, flax seeds or chia seeds with banana and berries and a touch of maple syrup.
I have tried to ensure that her snacks are balanced and nutritious: apples & peanut butter, carrots or peppers and almonds, grapes and cheese, oranges and whole wheat crackers. You get the idea. I try to make my own cookies, muffins and other treats as much as possible. Doing so allows me to control what’s in it – I can choose a fruit, veggie or oatmeal base, throw in some flax seeds or add whole wheat or spelt flour instead of white. All these little things help. Of course sometimes the snacks include store bought goldfish crackers or other convenient snacks, and if only once in a while I am okay with that.
I try to make my own cookies, muffins and other treats as much as possible.
Lunch ideas for toddlers like mine
Lunch often consists of a sandwich or eggs with a side of fruit or veggie. Good lunch ideas are grilled cheese, peanut butter & Jam, cucumber & cheese, tuna and cheese (yes the picky eater will eat tuna…weird right?) or scrambled egg. Not a lot of variety, and nothing fancy, but we try to rotate through the week so she isn’t always eating the same thing every day. If she says she doesn’t want something she won’t eat it so we need to respect that and change the plan that day. My goal is to make mealtime enjoyable for her and offer her something she will eat, not enforce my power as a parent. As with life, it is best to choose your battles.
Not a lot of variety, and nothing fancy, but we try to rotate through the week so she isn’t always eating the same thing every day.
Good dinner recipes – do they work?
Most of the literature out there says she should be eating what we eat and not meals made specifically for her. I have tried this tirelessly with little success. The odd meal sticks and that is a win, but for the most part I have switched my approach. I am firm believer in doing what works for you – read all the research, get advice from family and friends, but at the end of the day you have to do what works for you and your child. If I give her a plate of our dinner her initial response is more often than not “gross” and she won’t take a bite. She is strong willed and no matter how many times we do this or what the food is, this is the result 90% of the time. She likes the control of her food (as most children do as there is so little they can control). Getting tired of mealtime fights and her not eating anything, I have started making her plate a bit of a buffet! I will give her a bit of what we are eating and then provide her with some other choices. This could mean she has a plate with our chicken caccitore, along with some broccoli, red pepper, boiled egg and brown rice. We encourage her to try what we are having and then eat a few bites from each group of food. It takes the pressure off mealtime for now and eliminates me feeling like a short order cook when she rejects whatever it is we are having.
I am firm believer in doing what works for you – read all the research, get advice from family and friends, but at the end of the day you have to do what works for you and your child.
I give her a multivitamin, omega-3 and probiotics everyday and then take a step back and try to review what she has eaten over the past few days rather than looking at the day in isolation. It is far from perfect, but we’ll get there. Occasionally she will clear her plate and seem to really enjoy her food, it is a wonderful feeling…..hopefully more of those will come!
Have a picky eater too?
Check out smoothie ideas for kids, and nutritious pizza and hamburger recipes.
Allison Madigan is a holistic nutritionist. She has a strong belief in the power of food and proper nutrition to keep us in our best health and prevent disease. Allison’s goal is to empower people to make healthy and mindful decisions for themselves and their families to achieve optimal health. She has a keen interest in food sensitivities and allergies and helping families navigate this as she has gone through this with her own daughter.