5 Parent Hacks For Picky Eaters

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Disclosure: I was compensated by Campbell's Soup but all opinions are strictly my own.
Healthy recipes for kids

The amazing thing about kids is how their tastebuds tell them that they love a certain food at lunch, but by dinnertime that same food is assumed to be laced with poison. There's not much more aggravating than a kid that won't eat. Unless you count a child who has a meltdown because they are exhausted and hungry, and then still refuses to eat. The other night one of my kids got up from bed crying, begged to eat, was offered some fruit, refused, then starting laughing...for no reason whatsoever! He is one of my picky eaters so I can relate to your frustrations. However, there is hope. 

The good news is that kids have so many awesome things that make up for this one thing. I also have some great hacks to help you get over your picky eater problems. So if you have a picky eater, or just had a nightmare that your next child will be, read through my #RealRealLife parenting tips and let me know if you have some of your own!

1. Don't Serve Separate Meals.
This is called playing the long game. Serving them a separate meal sounds like a terrific idea until they are fifteen and still eating off the kids meals at restaurants. You think I'm joking? I have worked with teenagers for fifteen years and many still do this. We are firm believers that once kids are old enough everyone gets the same food. Except for the wine. And coffee. Ok, the good chocolates belong to the adults as well. 


#realreallife


2. Be a Vegetable Ninja.
Parents are expert food ninjas. How many times have you been proud that you were able to sneak something for yourself in the kitchen without the kids hearing? Sure they can hear a bag of chips open from fifty feet away, in a thunderstorm, with headphones on, but you are pretty good at secretly devouring a treat in under four seconds. Just apply those same sneaky skills to recipes. Try hiding fresh spinach in fruit smoothies for breakfast. When it comes to dinner we have a superstar recipe below that my kids can't get enough of, even though it's loaded with veggies. We call it our Chicken & Biscuit Ninja Casserole because we hide vegetables in it and our picky eaters don't even care!

#realreallife

Chicken & Biscuit Ninja Casserole
Ingredients: 1 can Campbell's Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup, 1 can Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup, 2-3 cups fresh or frozen vegetables, 16 oz. cottage cheese, 9 oz. shredded cheddar cheese, 2 lbs. chicken breast cut into 1 inch cubes, 2 Tbsp. butter, 1 can ready made biscuit dough, cut in thirds.

Directions: 
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Melt butter in pan on stovetop. Brown chicken, set aside. Cook vegetables if raw.
3. In bowl place Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom and Campbell's Condensed Cream of Chicken soups together. Stir well. Stir in chicken, cottage cheese, vegetables into bowl. 
4. Spray 9x13 inch pan with nonstick spray. Arrange cut biscuit dough on bottom of pan. Pour chicken and vegetable mixture over biscuits. Top with shredded cheese.
5. Bake in oven for 45 minutes.


3. Give Two to Three Healthy Choices.
We will decide on two or three healthy options for our kids to choose from. My kids get to pick which one they would like in their meal. For example they might have the choice of grapes, apples, or blueberries. For dinner it could be peas or broccoli. The kids get to be part of the process and chances are they will be more likely to eat the food that they picked out. For a great idea where your kids can put this idea into action try my amazingly simple make-it-yourself soup bar.


4. Presentation Matters.
When was the last time someone haphazardly threw a pile of food on a plate, shoved it in front of you, and you exclaimed, "I can't tell you how excited I am to eat this right now!" In a perfect world our kids would give us an award after every meal, but let's be honest, sometimes we just don't put ourselves in their shoes. How food looks matters to us and it matters to our children. This is one reason why I introduce new foods to them in fun school lunches. Make it fun and they are more likely to try it.


5. Dips Can Be a Life Saver.
I just want to come out and say that celery by itself is about as exciting as reading that one book that your kid picks to read for the 50th gazillion time. You know the one. It's the book you desperately try and hide but somehow it keeps showing up at bedtime. However, if you dip celery in cream cheese or peanut butter, it comes alive. Try using fruit and vegetables with dips like plain yogurt and honey, humus, or cream cheese. Kids have way more fun dipping their food and you might be surprised how many healthy items they gobble up at the same time.

There you have my 5 Parent Hacks for Picky Eaters. This is not an exhaustive list, but it is meant to get you started on your road to mealtime sanity. Let me know what your ideas for picky eaters are and make sure to search #RealRealLife on social media to find even more tips from other families!

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