I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as too many hacks for getting picky eaters to, you know, eat. Parents of picky eaters need to work a little harder at providing healthy, balanced meals that their kids will eat without an epic battle every morning, noon and night. Sure, food picks might be all it takes for one kid to start spearing and devouring melon. But the next kid might be better persuaded with “tasting plates.” Or maybe you’ll have better luck by thinking of your family’s meals in Venn diagrams.
Chances are, if your kid is picky, you’ve already tried a couple of different tactics with varying success. I am here today to offer you one more option: Create breakfast, lunch and dinner “menus” for your little kids.
The idea comes from Chrissy Teigen, who says in a video on YouTube, “Trust me, I know this is ridiculous. Like, I’m very aware this is crazy.” But I think it’s no crazier than putting food on a stick, creating a maze with their food, or flipping a coin. And, hey, it worked for Teigen’s daughter, Luna. Does that mean it will work for your kid? Who knows! They’re picky! But I think it’s worth a shot:
Teigen used a three-ring binder and a laminator (but you could also use sheet protectors instead). She took pictures of a variety of healthy, balanced meals she knew Luna liked, such as cereal with fruit for breakfast, baked fish sticks with broccoli, or spaghetti and meatballs. At meal times, Teigen flips through the binder and lets Luna pick what she wants.
Could this backfire? Yes, of course it could. If you leave in the picture of Cheerios with blueberries the day after you run out of blueberries, you’re asking for trouble. Do a quick flip-through yourself before you hand over the menu to make sure you take out any options that have ingredients you don’t have on hand (or the time/energy to make).
Teigen also went ahead and laminated a bunch of one-dollar bills, too, so Luna could “pay” for her meals. (Seems like maybe she was having fun using her new laminator.) Go ahead and do that if you also see this as an opportunity to practice counting and using money, but it isn’t necessary. Just getting them to eat a little something healthy would be enough of a win.