If you’re busy like me, you’re always trying to find a way to make mealtime easier and more enjoyable for your family. But easy weeknight dinners for picky eaters can feel like an impossible order!
If your family would rather eat chicken nuggets and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,
Well, we’ve got a life hack for you: meal prepping.
It saves you money and time AND can help your entire family eat a healthy diet. Even if they’re picky!
Together, we’ll tackle the challenge of meal prepping for picky eaters head-on. We’ve gathered the most helpful tips and a wealth of creative meal prep ideas tailored to cater to your pickiest eaters.
So, say goodbye to mealtime struggles and hello to hassle-free, delicious meals that will make everyone in your family happy.
Mastering the Basics of Meal Prepping
It’s time to dive into the basics of meal prep so you can conquer the challenge of cooking healthy meals for picky eaters. Don’t worry if you’re new to this or had some bumpy experiences before. We’re here to break it down for you, step by step, to make meal prep a breeze.
Plan Your Meals:
First things first, sit down and think about the meals you want to make for the week. Consider the likes and dislikes of the picky eaters you’re cooking for. Write down a list of the dishes you want to prepare and the ingredients you’ll need. Before grocery shopping, check what you already have in your pantry and fridge.
Get Ready to Prep:
Once you have your simple ingredients, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get prepping. Start by washing and cutting your veggies, dividing your proteins into portions, and cooking grains or starches. By doing these tasks in advance, you’ll have everything ready when it’s time to assemble your meals.
Choose the Right Containers:
Invest in good-quality containers that are safe for the microwave, and freezer, and easy to clean. These containers will be perfect for storing your prepped meals. Divide the meals into individual portions, keeping them nicely organized and ready to grab whenever you need them.
Store and Label:
After prepping and packing your meals, it’s time to store them. Some meals can go in the fridge for a few days, and others can be frozen for later use. Label each container with the name of the dish and the date it was prepared. This will help you keep track of freshness and avoid any confusion later on.
Mix and Match Flavors:
Some picky eaters like to keep meals exciting with variety, so have fun with different flavors and ingredients. Experiment with spices and sauces to make each meal interesting. You can even create a menu for the week, mixing and matching proteins, veggies, and grains to keep things fun.
One of the best things about meal prep is its convenience. Whether you’re rushing to work, school, or activities, you’ll have a delicious meal ready to grab and go. No more stressing about what to cook or settling for unhealthy options. With your prepped meals for picky eaters, you’ll have nourishing and tasty food on hand.
So there you have it! With these meal prep basics, you’re on your way to becoming a pro at cooking for picky eaters. Remember to plan, prep, and get creative with flavors. Next up, we’ll share some fantastic meal prep ideas that will make those picky eaters happy. Get ready to level up your meal prep game!
Easy Meal Prep for Picky Eaters Your Whole Family Will Enjoy
Cooking multiple meals every night to please everyone at the dinner table can be a hassle. It’s even more frustrating when someone complains about each recipe you try! Meals can turn into a real drag. Instead of constantly searching for the perfect meals to please everyone, why not spice things up? Transform several nights a week into an easy buffet-style setup that guarantees each person gets exactly what they want.
By preparing these customizable dishes in bulk, you can fill your fridge with tasty and nutritious options that are always ready to eat. Whether it’s a busy weeknight or a laid-back weekend, having these buffet-style meals at your fingertips ensures that you can feed your entire family with a combo that matches their taste preferences and dietary needs.
With the freedom to choose their own ingredients and toppings, everyone can get excited about mealtime. And you can take a break from cooking daily (and take a break from picky eater complaints 😉)!
Personalize Your Pasta
When it comes to meal prep for picky eaters, pasta recipes are a fantastic option. Cook a large batch of noodles and divide them into individual containers for convenient reheating throughout the week. Mix up several topping options and everyone can dish up what they’d like. Here are some great ways to customize your pasta for picky eaters.
- Cook and Divide:
Start by cooking a generous amount of noodles, such as spaghetti, penne, or bowties. Once cooked, divide them into individual containers for easy reheating throughout the week. This way, each family member can have their own portion of perfectly cooked pasta at their fingertips.
- Sauce Selection:
Prepare an array of flavorful sauces to satisfy everyone’s taste preferences. Whip up classics like marinara, creamy alfredo, zesty pesto, or aromatic tomato-basil. Let each family member choose their favorite pasta sauce or even mix and match to create unique flavor combinations. Store the sauces in separate containers for easy access and customization.
- Protein Options:
Amp up the protein content of your pasta dishes by offering various options. Grill some chicken, brown ground beef, sauté shrimp, or pan-fry tofu for a plant-based alternative. You can even include mushrooms or other plant-based protein sources. Having an assortment of proteins readily available ensures that everyone can customize their pasta recipes with their preferred protein.
- Lots of Veggies:
Add a burst of color and nutrition by loading up on vibrant veggies. Think peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, corn, spinach, onions, and more. Picky eaters might skip a few veggies, but offering ones they enjoy gives them a chance to include some healthy goodness.
- Crunchy Toppings:
Elevate the texture of your pasta dishes with delightful crunchy toppings. Toasted breadcrumbs, crushed nuts like almonds or pine nuts, or crispy bacon bits are fantastic options. These toppings not only add a satisfying crunch but also introduce new flavors and excitement to the pasta bar experience.
- Herbs and Spices:
Sprinkle an assortment of herbs and spices to awaken the taste buds and enhance the flavors of your pasta creations. Basil, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, chili flakes, or Italian seasoning can add a delightful touch. Encourage everyone to get creative with their herb and spice choices, allowing for personalized flavor profiles.
Set up your customizable pasta bar by arranging the various sauces, proteins, veggies, crunchy toppings, and herbs/spices in separate bowls or containers. Let each family member build their pasta masterpiece by choosing their preferred ingredients and combinations. Mealtime will become an adventure where everyone can unleash their culinary creativity and indulge in delicious pasta creations that cater to their unique preferences.
Create Your Own Salad
Not in the mood for pasta? No problem! Try custom salads, where you can mix and match ingredients to create a vibrant and refreshing meal. Before you start your meal prep, brainstorm a list of ingredients and healthy meals for picky eaters to enjoy. Consider their favorite vegetables, proteins, and toppings. This will ensure that everyone has something they love in their salad.
Here’s how you can meal prep salads to satisfy even the pickiest eater:
- Prep the Greens:
Wash and dry a variety of leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, or mixed greens. Chop them into bite-sized pieces and store them in individual containers or large resealable bags. This way, the greens stay fresh and are ready to be used throughout the week.
- Cook the Protein:
Cook or prepare your desired proteins in advance. Grill some chicken, hard-boil eggs or marinate tofu. Portion them into separate containers so that each family member can choose their preferred protein for their salad.
- Ready the Veggies:
Chop or slice an assortment of colorful vegetables, including cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, shredded carrots, or radishes. Store them in separate containers, allowing everyone to select their favorite veggies for their salad.
- Gather the Toppings:
Prepare an assortment of crunchy toppings like toasted nuts, seeds, croutons, or crispy bacon bits. Keep them in small containers or resealable bags so that each person can add their preferred toppings to their salad.
- Make the Dressings:
Make a variety of dressings to accommodate different flavor preferences. Prepare classic options like ranch, vinaigrette, or Caesar dressing. You can also experiment with homemade dressings like honey mustard, balsamic glaze, or creamy avocado. Store the dressings in individual containers or small jars for easy access.
By following these meal prep tips, you’ll have customized salad components ready to go, making it easier to accommodate the preferences of picky eaters. Lay out all the prepped ingredients and let each family member build their own masterpiece. The beauty of custom salads is that each person can create a combo that excites their taste buds.
Customize a Rice Bowl
Let’s explore the world of custom rice bowls, where you can create a mouthwatering meal that caters to everyone’s taste buds.
Here’s how you can meal prep custom rice bowls for even the pickiest eaters:
- Cook the Rice:
Start by cooking a large batch of rice according to your family’s preference. Whether you opt for fluffy white rice, nutty brown rice, or fragrant jasmine rice, make enough to last throughout the week. Store the cooked rice in individual containers in the fridge for easy access.
- Pack in Protein:
Prepare a variety of proteins to suit different palates. Marinate chicken, beef, or tofu with your favorite seasonings and cook them ahead of time. You can also include options like shrimp, salmon, or tempeh. Portion the proteins into separate containers, making it convenient for everyone to choose their preferred protein for their rice bowl.
- Include Tons of Veggies:
Chop an array of fresh vegetables to add color, flavor, and nutrition to your rice bowls. Consider options such as sliced bell peppers, steamed broccoli florets, grated carrots, sautéed mushrooms, or snap peas. Store the veggies in separate containers, allowing each family member to pick their preferred mix of veggies.
- Serve a Variety of Sauces:
Whip up a selection of delicious sauces and dressings to enhance the flavors of your rice bowls. Prepare classic options like teriyaki sauce, sesame ginger dressing, sweet chili sauce, or peanut sauce. You can also experiment with homemade creations using soy sauce, lime juice, honey, and other flavorful ingredients. Store the sauces in individual containers or small bottles for easy pouring.
- Add More Toppings:
Offer an assortment of toppings to add texture and excitement to the rice bowls. Toasted sesame seeds, chopped scallions, crushed peanuts, or crispy fried onions are just a few options to consider. Keep the toppings in small containers or resealable bags for easy access and customization.
When it’s time to enjoy your custom rice bowls, set up a build-your-own station where each family member can dish their favorite ingredients. Start with a bed of rice, then let everyone add their preferred protein, veggies, sauces, and toppings. Encourage creativity and exploration to build unique flavor combinations and try new things!
By incorporating customizable meals like personalized pasta, custom salads, and rice bowls into your meal prep routine, you can create a dining experience that caters to the taste preferences of each family member, even the pickiest eaters. The convenience of having prepped ingredients at your fingertips is that everyone can build their own delicious combinations, making mealtime exciting and enjoyable. So, say goodbye to cooking daily and complaints from picky eaters, and embrace the freedom and creativity of customizable meals that the whole family will love.
How to Make a Meal Plan For Picky Eaters
Picky eaters can be kids or adults who stick to their favorite foods and shy away from anything new or different. But fear not, with a little creativity and patience, you can turn trying new foods into a fun and exciting adventure! Here are some helpful tips for picky eaters to make mealtime more enjoyable for both of you.
- Start small:
Introduce new flavors alongside familiar favorites. Encourage them to take a few bites and explore new tastes gradually.
- Create a fun atmosphere:
Make mealtimes enjoyable and stress-free. Focus on positive experiences rather than pressuring them to eat.
- Be an explorer:
Discover simple ingredients and an easy recipe together. Embrace the excitement of trying something new and expanding their palate.
- Expand horizons:
Encourage them to step outside their comfort zone and try different foods. You never know, they might discover a new favorite!
- Blend old and new:
Combine unfamiliar foods with their favorite sauces or dressings. Mixing flavors can make new foods more appealing.
- Conquer texture preferences:
Find creative ways to accommodate their texture preferences. Use a food processor to create smooth purees or try alternative cooking methods.
- Mix and match:
Combine new ingredients with familiar ones to create flavorful combinations. Let them customize their meals with their favorite seasonings.
- Buffet-style excitement:
Make meal prep fun by setting up a buffet-style spread. Offer a variety of carbs, proteins, veggies, and condiments for a personalized dining experience.
- Smaller portions, big variety:
Prepare smaller meal batches to allow for more flexibility and to cater to changing preferences.
- Introduce creativity:
Experiment with creative alternatives to make new foods more enticing. Surprise them with unique twists on familiar dishes.
- Snack time fun:
Don’t forget about snacks! Keep a selection of healthy and tasty snacks on hand to satisfy cravings throughout the day.
- Seek professional help if needed:
If picky eating becomes a significant challenge, consider seeking guidance from registered dietitians or eating behavior specialists.
Remember, patience and understanding are key when helping someone with picky eating habits. Celebrate little wins and focus on discovering new flavors together. With your support and a bit of creativity, you can help them broaden their food horizons and embrace a wider range of delicious options.
Weekly Meal Plan Ideas for Picky Eaters: Breakfast
Making a healthy breakfast is a must for everyone, but it can be challenging when dealing with picky eaters. Skipping breakfast sets them up for hunger later in the day, which can lead to unhealthy snacking or making poor food choices. Instead of skipping breakfast altogether, try meal prepping creative and nutritious morning meals that cater to their specific tastes. By planning ahead and preparing meals that they enjoy, you can ensure that they have a satisfying and wholesome breakfast every day. Here are some recipes for picky eaters to get you started with your weekly meal planner.
Weekly Picky Eater Meal Plan: Lunch and Dinner
I like to plan my meals ahead and consider how I can repurpose leftovers. This way, I can create delicious combinations that even picky eaters will enjoy. For example, I might prepare spicy chicken or beef tacos for dinner knowing that I can use the leftovers to make a fantastic lunch later in the week. By warming up the leftovers and adding fresh lettuce and corn tortillas, I can create a satisfying meal that caters to their preferences. It’s a smart and practical way to make meal prep enjoyable for everyone! Check out some of these easy dinner meal ideas for picky eaters kids and adults that help make the best meal plan for picky eaters.
Dealing with picky eaters during mealtime doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By following these strategies and being a little creative, you can turn ordinary meals into enjoyable experiences that satisfy even the fussiest eaters. Embrace the power of meal prepping, especially the buffet-style approach. By planning ahead and preparing meals in advance, you’ll have more flexibility and save time. Happy cooking!