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If you have a picky eater, Meal Planning for Kids is the way to go.  Creating a weekly meal plan and grocery shopping list is a practical way to save time and money. When your children (or husband) won’t eat what you’re making, it can seem like it isn’t worth the effort though.
meal planning for kids

When I married my husband, he was a surprisingly picky eater for an adult. (At least from my perspective.) My kids were pretty typical eaters when they were younger, too.
We got to a point where kid meltdowns at the dinner table were not unexpected.   They were happening more and more.  There were always leftovers – and nobody ate them. We were wasting money on food.  I remember thinking  that it would be easier to just let everyone eat cereal every night!
 Slowly, very slowly, I made changes.
If you are tired of your current meal time drama, I hope that these tips can help. I have been there and it isn’t fun. It can get better!
Meal Planning for Kids tips
1. Let the family help plan meals.
Most kids just want to have a little control over their daily lives. There are so many decisions that are made for them that it’s easy to say no to dinner. Ask for suggestions when you’re making your grocery list and meal plan. You might have to say no to cookies for dinner, but there’s nothing wrong with waffle night or breakfast for dinner.
2. Create a weekly routine.

Sometimes it’s the constant changes that upset my own kids. They like routine and if we’re being honest, I do too. It’s comforting and familiar. Making every Friday “pizza night” or every Tuesday “something with pasta” can add some predictability.


3. Let them say no.
Nobody likes everything. There are probably foods that you don’t eat for no other reason than you just don’t like them. It might be texture, flavor, or something else. My kids each have foods that they just don’t have to eat. It needs to be a short list, just one or two things, but there’s no point in arguing over peas when your child will happily eat green beans instead.  (Check out our favorite loaded nachos!) 
4. Eat separate meals.
You don’t want to become a short-order cook, making something different for every person every night. If the kids won’t eat your favorite food, you don’t have to give it up. Plan an at-home date night with your significant other. Feed the kids a meal they enjoy and once they’re in bed (or quietly reading), have a separate adult meal.   We do this at least once a week (usually we order Chinese, since the kids won’t eat it!)  
5. Try new things together.
The best way to encourage your child to try new foods is to demonstrate it yourself. Make it a family activity to pick up something new at the grocery store. Learn how to cook it and try it together. Maybe nobody will like it or maybe everyone will. Either way, it can be fun.  Maybe you can even ask your child’s teacher if you can send in the new food for the classmates to try. 
6. Don’t give up.
Trying to feed a child who won’t eat anything seems like a battle you can’t win. For most kids, it just takes time. Don’t push too many disliked or new foods at once. Stick to family favorites and slowly add the others.
I love planning my weekly meals and making dinner now. My kids usually have a suggestion or two or they ask to help me cook. Once during dinner, to my amazement, my son even said, “I don’t like this, but I’ll eat it anyway.”
Now that’s real progress.



CHICKEN SALSA CROCK-POT (eat them with chips!)
slow cooker chicken


Keri is a married mom of two from Texas and blogs at One Mama’s Daily Drama, where her goal is to help parents navigate the chaos of family life one day at a time.

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. We have a five year old daughter that is extremely picky and has diet restrictions. She is also a BIG fan of cooking. We let Thursday be her night to make a meal. She loves the responsibility of planning every week, cooking the meal, and setting the table. Of course my kitchen is a little messier at the end and I always do the cutting and opening the oven. But this experience and memories are something that we look forward to every week. We also let her pick out a movie that night and have family movie night.
    Love your ideas! Thanks!