I was talking to a friend the other day and she was sharing her frustration on having everyone eat the same thing for dinner. Her and her husband are on Weight Watchers and trying to eat healthy, but sometimes the kids do not want to eat what they are having, yet she does not want to play short order cook after working all day!
I have a picky eater too and the last thing I wanted to deal with at the end of a long day was her telling me she was not going to eat because she did not like what we are having. Growing up, I would not have had a choice but to eat what was there, sit at the table hungry, etc... But, I do not have the energy to deal with a hungry child at the end of the day who still has homework to do, etc.
So, there are 3 choices I always have available in my refrigerator that are relatively healthy and easy for my daughter to make herself and just in time for everyone to sit down together. Because again, my goal was to have a family dinner - who cares what everyone ate, as long as I did not play short order cook and we were all together.
Choice number 1: The Italian:
Cook a box of pasta - shapes hold up the best - penne, bowties, macaroni, etc. Drain, add a touch of olive oil so it does not stick, pour into a ziploc bag and put in the fridge. When your little one does not want whats for dinner. Pour into a bowl, add his/her favorite sauce or butter and parmesean with cracked pepper ( the favorite of my picky eater!) and dinner is ready. The good news here, if the pasta does not get eaten by the end of the week, you have the beginning of a pasta salad, pasta side dish - just toss with some pesto, or a pasta dinner - make a pan sauce and dadah!!
Choice number 2: The Cuban:
One of my time saving tricks - along with the pasta, is to cook a few cups of rice early in the week, enough for at least 2 meals. Leftover rice works well for picky eaters too! I never had this growing up in my Italian family, but my Cuban husband did. Heat up the rice in the microwave - I always put a damp towel over and it comes out perfect. (my mom's trick ) Then top with a fried egg or two. Followed by a ketchup happy face! It might not sound good, but I promise - it is delicious. Your picky eater will have protein, carbs and according to my daughter a vegetable - if you put a big enough happy face!
Choice number 3: The American:
Who says sandwiches are just for lunch? Keep some lunchmeat in your fridge and a quick sandwich with a piece of fruit or a few pickle strips is satisfying enough for anyone!
Eventually, my picky eater made a deal with my dad, when he spent a summer with us, that she had to try at least one thing on the table if she was not going to eat the entire meal and every now and then she was surprised at the foods she liked!
Not sure why, but I just realized that my Dad's name was Sam and this made me think of
Dr. Seuss' s Green Eggs and Ham - One day our picky eaters will say: "I do like this Sam I am!"- and I will eat it - in a ....and on a ...