As awesome and delicious as we know our meals are, change is scary! While you have made the commitment and set your mind to try something new, you might get some push back from the other members of your family, especially the littlest ones!
The good news is that most meals can easily be tweaked, rather than making entirely separate meals!
Obviously, there is a no set solution we can provide that will satisfy all kids and at the end of the day, if your kids won’t eat the healthier food options you will be exploring, you basically have three options:
1. Make two meals
2. Serve them healthy food and put up with protests until they get used to it. Usually, it’s just the unfamiliarity that they are responding to.
3. Eat the food your kids like.
My kids are super picky as well! Here’s what I do:
1. Add carbs and cheese and sometimes omit veggies while they get used to the new meal. For example, we have zucchini noodles and sauce they have pasta with the same sauce and tons of cheese.
2. Pick one or two healthy meals that they somewhat tolerated and keep offering it until it’s a staple. Then introduce a new one.
3. Don’t force anything – they will rebel. The best thing you can do is keep offering veg even if they don’t eat it and demonstrating that this is how YOU eat.
4. I have extremely picky kids but sometimes they surprise me. A lot of transformers have been gobsmacked to watch their kids eat up some of our recipes. So just experiment! You might be pleasantly surprised!
Based on our experience, and what previous challengers have shared with us while doing the program, here are a few hacks on how to make our vegetable-centric healthy meals more palatable to *most* kids and save you from making two meals!
– make a side of regular pasta (rather than zucchini noodles)
– cook up some white rice (rather than cauliflower rice)
– Plonk the meal into a taco shell, etc… etc…
– if you know your kids are sensitive to spice, dial down spices for the kids servings. (pre-portioning their meals, then adding the “heat” spice)
– make them additional veggies you already know they will eat.
– separate out the protein before mixing it with other stuff then hopefully you only have to cook one protein food, but the kids can have it plain and you can enjoy with the sauce, trimmings, etc.
– condiments are your friend! While YOU won’t be partaking, a dollop of ketchup or a sprinkle of cheese are perfectly acceptable forms of culinary bribery!
Another trick is to give them ownership of part of the meal. Let them choose the side veg. Let them help prepare part of it. (cut up veg, toss salad, stir the pot, etc…) There is a certain pride in participation, plus because they were part of the processes, there is a safety net of nothing “hidden”.
We also find that when you simply present the meal without discussion of it being “healthy” or “on plan” just a new recipe you’re trying, the push back because it’s “different” isn’t as quick.
If you come up with some other suggestions or wins, let us know in the group and tag it #kidhack so we can add it for future exasperated parents!