Picky. Picky. Picky.
Do you know any picky eaters? You actually may have one in your home. You know I DO! Ava is one finicky eater!
She is the child who eats exclusively from the food group of grilled cheese, pasta, pizza and peanut butter and jelly. She is the student who brings the same food every day in her lunchbox and has strong feelings or meltdowns when you try to substitute the crust-less white bread for whole wheat. With recent reports revealing that picky eaters tend to have higher levels of depression, parents of these eaters struggle to expand to healthy food options while still maintaining peace in the family kingdom. Janet Little, Sprouts Farmers Market nutritionist and seasoned meal advisor, offers creative and sneaky ways to get picky eaters to broaden their lunchbox with some creative, delicious and great-tasting options.
If your child’s only acceptable protein is peanut butter, try substituting almond butter every now and then. Almond butter will expand her palate and offers four times more vitamin E, is higher in minerals calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc and contains more heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. How about adding string cheese to your snacks? Jazz it up by making the cheese the body of a cute little creature with arms of pretzel sticks, eyes of raisins and hair of beautiful julienned slices of red pepper.
Most kids love pizza, but you can turn their love for pizza into a love of fruit by making fun and yummy watermelon pizza. Think pizza shaped slices, sprinkled with cut bananas as “pepperoni” and other fruit delights to make even the choosiest eater into a fruit lover.
Show your kids some patriotic love with this American flag toast bread. Just toast bread, spread with low-fat cottage cheese or cream cheese, spread with strawberry jam and use strawberries and blueberries to adorn the red, white and blue.
Kids love choices. As an after school snack or evening meal, “make-your-own” tacos give kids a turn at playing chef and you get to sneak in some great healthy options. Line up bowls filled with diced avocado (protein) and cheese (ditto), as well as colorful veggies and small grilled squares of lean chicken or turkey, add in shredded lettuce and even the pickiest of kids will find something to love.
It’s a Wrap
Sandwiches are so 2014. How about a yummy wrap in the lunchbox that looks and tastes great? Easy to make, wraps are a wonderful alternative to sandwiches, and because everything is rolled together, you can add some new flavors and foods without them even knowing.
By giving kids some creative and visually fun ways to try new foods and flavors, even the pickiest of eaters may just broaden their palates with a few new items.