Meal Planning Ideas
Planning meals can be a challenge at the best of times. Add picky eaters to the mix and it can sometimes become even more difficult.
Making a menu plan for the week can really help you become organized in the kitchen. Not only does it take the pressure off each day from deciding what you will serve, but it also helps you keep organized with grocery shopping and time management too.
If you decide to menu plan, you will find a groove that works best for you. I tend to plan on the weekend for the following week and do my groceries at the beginning of the week in order to have all of the ingredients in the house needed to cook each meal. I also do a 5 day plan instead of 7 days. I do this in order to maintain some flexibility in our schedule for leftovers, eating out and choosing weekend meals as a family (or to allow the opportunity for my husband to cook–lucky me!).
One idea to help picky eaters in your family is to dedicate one night each week for them to be in charge of the meal. Depending on their age, they can either choose the meal, assist in food preparation or take over all together. This will teach the children how to work in the kitchen, become more independent and give them life skills that are important later on. It will also allow them to have control of one meal and will in turn teach them about healthy eating (as you will guide them to include healthy choices in every meal).
Another suggestion to include children in meal planning and preparation is to allow children to make a healthy choice at the grocery store, perhaps in the fruits and vegetable section. When it comes time to prepare their choice, allow them to help either by washing it or giving them a butter knife or a small spreader knife to “cut” the food in preparation for a meal. Children love to help in the kitchen and when you give them control over a food item, it will often increase the changes of them consuming the food.
One website that I have found to be very helpful with regards to meal planning is Menus 4 Moms. You can sign up for their weekly newsletter where they will send you a meal plan for the following week along with recipes. If anything, it gives you some good meal ideas to add to your repertoire.