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Do you have picky eaters?
If so then you, like me, are skeptical of lists that claim to be “kid friendly”. It’s especially offensive to click a link promising “10 recipes your picky eaters will devour” only to find it full of recipes with ingredients many adults I know wouldn’t even eat.
No Picky Eater I’ve Ever Met
To be fair, there is no one definition of a picky eater. My eldest would eat any variety of seafood you brought him. But reacts like a vampire to sunlight at the sight of cereal or (God forbid) peanut butter. We even went through a phase where he thought he didn’t like caramel.
Still, I think we can agree that, in general, picky eaters tend to prefer things on the plain side. Nothing weird or experimental. Nothing like, say…
Baked Polenta Fries
Asparagus and Gruyere Pizza
Cheesy Spinach Squares
Chopped Salad For Kids
Why is it that recipe creators think that adding the words “for kids” means that picky eaters will want it? Do they really think that a mom of a picky eating child will read their recipe for “Chopped Salad for Kids” (which looked exactly like every ‘adult’ salad I’ve ever seen, by the way) and think,
Finally! A salad recipe for kids. NOW he’ll eat all of these vegetables he hates. Why didn’t I think of telling him it’s for kids?!
That list of recipes (titled, Dinner Recipes for Picky Eaters) came from a parenting website of all places. Another site suggests their Mediterranean Chickpea and Feta Wraps or Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza recipes as things your picky eating kids might love.
Because what child, picky or not, doesn’t wish for more chickpeas and arugula in their life?
What really got me thinking on this topic was a Tweet I saw recently:
There are so many things wrong with this, not the least of which is the fact that every picky eater knows that “dish” is code for “all-mixed-together”.
Not Fooling Anyone
A search for recipes for picky eaters yielded this gem,
Crispy Kale Chips. For an after-school snack, try swapping bagged chips for Melissa’s better-for-you baked kale chips….
Perfect! No kid can tell the difference between dried out leaves and tasty deep fried chips. Have you met children, Melissa?
TV chefs are fond of saying that as long as you give kids something to dip they’ll love it. “Kids love my salmon-veggie patties because they get to dip them in the blue cheese dressing!!”
And don’t tell me that cutting things into “fun shapes” is going to help either. A hated food in the shape of a star is just as hated.
Of all places to actually get it, Food & Wine published a list of recipes for picky eaters that included things like,
Macaroni and Cheese
Penne with Tomato Sauce
Seasoned Chicken Breasts
Did you just sigh? I actually audibly sighed when I read that list after the ridiculous concoctions I’d been seeing on so-called parenting sites. As every mom of a picky eater knows, plain wins the game.
Recipes for Picky Eaters
Or maybe you get sneaky and hide things. Here are a couple of my favorite ways to do that:
Because there’s no one kind of “picky” what pleases my troops may not fit with what your kids eat. These are some fairly plain recipes that tend to go over well on the scale of pickiness and can be customized.
Chicken Parmesan Bites
(Crispy chicken-nugget-like bites that taste great plain or sauced)
Ground Beef in the Crock Pot
(This easy method lets you prepare a lot of ground beef that you can freeze in small batches to pull out as you need)
Sweet Chili Grilled Chicken
(This marinade adds flavor without an offending sauce)
(A perfect example of deconstructing a meal..everyone eats the parts they like)
(I’m including this one because most picky eaters have at least one vegetable they’ll eat. But it can get a little tiresome for everyone else. This recipe allows you to roast all different kinds so you get a variety and they get their one and only.)
Some other easy side dishes that have become old standbys for me include:
What are some of your go-to meals to please a picky eater?