How to feed picky eaters
I was so fortunate this week to have been gifted some beautiful produce from friend’s and family’s gardens. We don’t have space for a garden in our yard, so it’s always a special treat when people share their harvest with us.
A friend passed on some zucchini to me earlier this week and asked me if I’d make something with zucchini noodles on What’s for Dinner Wednesday, and of course I was happy to accept the challlenge!
This friend mentioned how she would love to make a zucchini noodle dish for her family, but her kids are picky and she didn’t think it would work.
I totally get this! I’ve got picky kids too – there’s 4 of them, and NONE of them like the same things. Making a meal that everyone is going to like, is basically impossible. So I’ve had to figure out a way to adapt our meals so that I’m only cooking one thing, but everyone has the power to choose within that meal, what parts they are going to eat.
Usually, what that ends up looking like is a bit of a buffet. I try to prepare most of the meal elements separately, so that everyone can choose the parts they like to put on their plate.
I believe it’s really important for kids to be exposed to new foods, and encouraged to try them, but I DO NOT believe in forcing kids to eat anything. Kids have immature taste buds and truly don’t have the palate we do. Forcing children to clean their plate teaches them to ignore their own body cues, and can lead to all kinds of problems with food down the line. Plus, I think every human, no matter their age deserves the right to choose what goes in their mouth. Pickiness is a developmental part of growing up, and eventually they start to become more adventurous if we just keep offering new things in a non-threatening way. I see this with my 16 year old, so I can tell you the hard work does pay off!
Now, having said all that, what do you do when you’re preparing a one pan meal? Last night I decided to try this One Pan Zucchini Noodle Lasagna from Life Made Sweeter.
I definitely wanted to try this recipe but I was concerned that the children wouldn’t have as much choice with everything being in one dish.
So here’s how I problem solved this:
1. I substituted all the veggies in the original recipe for ones that I know my kids all like (carrots).
2. I made the recipe meatless with lentils instead of ground turkey, so that if they didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have to throw out the leftovers (I don’t eat meat). My kids like lentils, so we made that switch no problem.
3. The kids were most concerned about the zucchini itself. So I had some leftover rice in the fridge, and told them that once they tried the zucchini, if they decided they didn’t like it, they could pick it out and add rice instead.
4. I also steamed some fresh beans and made a simple salad, so they had other options to fill up on.
You can see all this in action in the video below.
And the final verdict……
1 kid ate it all up and asked for more
1 subbed the zucchini for rice and enjoyed the dish quite well
and 1 wasn’t a big fan at all but tolerated it.
(the other was working so we didn’t get her opinion)
The adults were both happy, btw 😉
Here is my version of the recipe. Hope you give it a try – comment below or tag me in social media if you make this and let me know what changes you made to make it work for you!