Raising Kids Who Eat a Variety of Food

Even though I’m a professional meal planner, I can still find myself stuck on what to feed my daughter.

Coming up with ideas day after day, meal after meal is no easy task, so it’s natural to fall into a rut. At the end of a long day, it’s often easier to say, “That grilled cheese was eaten and easy to make. Let’s just do it again.”

But if you read our 12 Habits for Raising #KidsWhoEat Well, I put helping your kids create a vast food memory bank in the #1 slot because I think it’s the most important one. This doesn’t mean you should abandon your go-to hits (because grilled cheese is pretty awesome). We just need to find inspiration to help us build a longer list of hits.

One simple way to do this is by injecting a little creativity into meals. Jess S., our Lead Meal Planner has twin girls and shares some of her ideas for lunches in this blog post 6 Ways to Bring More Fun to Sack Lunches. The best part is her video at the end where she shows you how to create an entire week’s worth of lunches with the same 12 ingredients.

Another way is using the same cooking formulas over and over again but just rotating through the ingredients included. For example, I roast a pan of veggies, make a huge stir-fry and / or soup almost every single week. Every roasted veggie, stir-fry and soup recipe follows about the same formula but I just swap in a different combo of vegetables and proteins. When I feel stuck and need a reminder of all the possibilities out there, I reference our Guide to Enjoying Veggies, Fruits by the Month, Guide to Vegetarian Protein and Guide to Whole Grains infographics.

As a result, even though my daughter doesn’t love everything we offer her, she has tried a lot of foods! You might have missed this link in the 12 Habits blog post but here’s a spreadsheet of almost everything she’s tried in her first 14 months of life. I am hoping it can give you some ideas for the times you feel a bit stuck.

And lastly don’t underestimate the convenience of a meal plan service. Over the years, we’ve had many young ones grow up with our dinner ideas. They get exposed to a wide variety of meals and their parents don’t have to spend any time coming up with those ideas — a true win win!

If Cook Smarts’ meal plans aren’t right for you, there are plenty of other services to check out, like eMeals, The Fresh 20, Gathered Table and PlateJoy. Hopefully one can provide you with the wide variety of hits you’re looking for!

Here’s to raising #KidsWhoEat a wide variety of foods!

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