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Most households will have at least one fussy eater. Fussy eaters are those that only eat very specific things and have very little variety in their diet. Because they don’t like the taste or look of many foods, they will not eat outside of what they know.
If you live with such a person, it can be hard to make them food which they eat but also provides them with a nutritious or balanced diet. So what can you do to help? How can you cater for a fussy eater as well as the rest of your family or household?
By employing just a few simple tactics, you may find that broadening the diet and palette of a picky eater is easier than you think. Plus, all these tactics, when employed over a period of time, will add up to a big difference. It may not seem it at the time - as they will likely not create an immediate change - but soon you will find that your fussy eater is being that little bit more adventurous.
Getting a picky eater involved in cooking is an easy way to get them to try more foods. By getting involved in the preparation of food, particularly with children, they become more interested and therefore far more likely to try what they made. It takes the unknown out of what is put on their plate too. Using meal delivery kits can be a good option in employing this tactic as the easy to follow recipe cards are good even for children - plus the preportioned ingredients makes pulling together a meal that much easier again. It leaves you and your fussy eater with more time to enjoy preparing a meal together.
Another way that you can increase what a fussy eater is happy to eat is to offer a wider variety of meals. In doing so, they are more likely to try something new once in a while. That once in while will soon encourage them to try new foods to such an extent they may not even notice they are eating something that just a few weeks earlier they thought was disgusting. Again, this is where meal delivery kits can come in useful. There are so many different recipes available on the best meal kits, that providing variety is easy and not an onerous meal planning task.
Included in that variety, it is a good idea to prepare foods that you know your fussy eater will eat. That can mean offering those foods with the new dishes you prepare (ie serving a old favourite such as peas as the vegetable along with the new chicken dish you offer). It also helps take out the overwhelming feeling of having a plate of food put in front of the fussy eater that they know they do not want to eat. Once they start eating the peas, you’d be surprised to see that they may try the chicken. But, if they don’t, you at least know that they’ve eaten something.
It can be so tempting to cook two different dishes at every meal to provide food for every family member. However, that is totally exhausting behaviour for you. Plus, it’s expensive and also prone to a lot of food waste which we are all trying to minimise these days. Additionally, it enables the behaviour of the fussy eater. It means that no change is likely to happen, if the fussy eater knows they will be given another plate of food they do like. They will never have the motivation to try something new therefore. Plus, by mixing in days where you do make their favourites, you know they will at least be eating something.
If you are really worried about the fact that they won’t eat anything unless you cook them something else, ask them to help meal plan with you. Using meal kit delivery services are a good option here as you can work through all the images your provider has on its menu that day. It’s more interactive and interesting picking recipes this way, and your fussy eater is more likely to eat the finished product having had some control over what is prepared each week.
While meal planning, with or without the help of your fussy eater, try to come up with meals that provide options. Meals like fajitas mean that a fussy eater can pick and choose what they do like eating from what is put in front of them, without feeling pressured to try something new. It also means you get to cater for the adventurous eaters amongst your household at the same time. Make sure that providing options to all your family does not end up in you cooking twice, which is so common in a household with a very fussy eater.
As briefly mentioned above, it is important to be realistic about the changes your fussy eater will make - and the speed at which those changes are made. Trying something new each and every day is highly unlikely to happen, but by implementing all these small changes, you should see some modifications in your fussy eater’s diet over a sustained period of time. Make sure your expectations are not overly optimistic therefore. You’ll find that you’ll only be disappointed and therefore become despondent. The result is that you won’t keep up with any of the above tactics which can have such a positive effect on your fussy eater’s diet if only you had stuck with it for longer. A varied and balanced diet is so key that if you can help get your fussy eater to a place where they are eating many different foods you can help both their mental and physical health.
Make no mistake, changing the habits of a fussy eater is difficult, but if you take the softly, slowly approach, you should find that small changes add up to a big difference over time.