Menu Plan Monday ~ Jan 23/12 – menu planning with picky eaters

Happy Monday everyone!  Glad to see you are back for another organized week!  I’m so sorry if you are experiencing errors when you visit on Mondays.  Sometimes with everyone trying to get on the site at once it acts up.  I’m going to be upgrading servers as soon as I figure it all out.  Thanks for your patience!

If you are looking for a yummy dessert sometime soon, I highly recommend this Cinnamon Roll Cake.  I made it for church potluck yesterday and it was so good!

Another recipe I tried last week was this one for Classic Orange Julius, I couldn’t resist.  Go check it out and I dare ya not to want to make it right away 🙂

Stumbling Block:

Menu planning when you have picky eaters:

I’ve heard this one many times from readers.  They spend time making dinner that everyone then complains about eating.  That is frustrating for sure.  The last thing we want to do though is operate a restaurant style kitchen.  It’s hard enough to get one meal on the table never mind four or five.  The best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten to this regard was from a book by Ellyn Satter called How to Get Your Kid to Eat: But Not Too Much.  Her golden rule is this: parents are responsible for what is presented to eat and the manner in which it is presented. Children are responsible for how much or even whether they eat.  Of course this sounds easier said than done I know but following her advice worked really well for us.  My youngest (6) is my pickiest but he finally understands that their will be no substitutions.  I think this is why leftover night is so important to him.  He calls it “picking night” and he loves to be able to pick and choose for himself his favorites from the leftovers.  He really looks forward to this night and makes the other nights he doesn’t get to choose a little more bearable.  In the latest issue of Today’s Parent they also suggest, in addition to the above golden rule, the following tips:

  • offer two choices: one familiar, one new, in small portions
  • play with presentation (although I’m not a big fan of this one)
  • don’t worry your child won’t starve.  Even one bite (or a lick) of a new food is a start and maybe the next day it will be two or even more

The one other thing I want to recommend to you, especially in the case of a picky husband, is to get your family involved in the weekly menu planning as much as possible.  Sit down as a family and let them be a part of selecting menus and recipes.  I do this with my husband each week myself and sometimes he has no suggestions and other times he really has a craving for something that he’d like me to make for him (like this week and beef stew!).  Another tip that might help is to simply select 5 recipes for the week but don’t assign them to a particular night until the morning of any given day.  That way your family can decide based on what they feel like eating that day rather than it be pre-determined.  Also get your kids involved in the prepping of meals.  It helps reduce your workload and also gets them more excited about what they are eating.

Additional Resources:

The Science of Picky Eating and a podcast ~ @ Meal Makeover Moms

Picky Eating Series ~ @ Raise Healthy Eaters

Anyway hope that helps a little.  Feel free to add what works for you in the comments!

My Menu Plan:

Monday:  All-in-One Pork Chop Bake served with broccoli

Tuesday:  Thai Chicken Pasta served with spinach salad

Wednesday:  Slow Cooker Beef Stew served with bread machine Buttermilk Wheat Bread

Thursday:  Leftover buffet

Friday:  Bacon Cheddar Quesadillas

Saturday:  Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage

Simple Supper Sunday


Menu Plan Guidelines, banner selections and recipe helpers are here.

More family favorite recipes here.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Have a great week everyone!

Filed under: Menu Plan Monday


48 Responses to Menu Plan Monday ~ Jan 23/12 – menu planning with picky eaters

  1. 1
    Rita says

    Cinnamon roll cake sounds like an easier way to make cinnamon rolls. Thanks for hosting MPM.

  2. 2
    Susieqtpies says

    Thanks for the linky! Have a super week.

  3. 3
    Lynn says

    That cake looks so good. And we love homemade orange julius. So easy and so good.

  4. 4
    Michelle @ Getting Through the Day says

    We had a big problem getting our son (adopted at 2) to eat anything besides bread and rice for the first year and half home. We would give him all of the food every meal, but only a bite or two of things that he didn’t like. He’d sometimes sit for an hour sulking over the bite or two that wasn’t bread and rice. His least favorite food was probably tomatoes. About a month ago, I prepared a cucumber and tomato salad, heavy on the cucumbers for him, very light on the tomatoes. I was SHOCKED when he went straight for the tomatoes and said, “OH, tomatoes! My favorite!” Yes, even the pickiest eaters can learn to eat their veggies!

    • 4.1
      Tammy says

      Hi. That’s great that he’ll eat more. I’m sure that he wanted to eat what he was used to eating.

  5. 5
    Miz Helen says

    Good Morning Laura,
    Your meal plan and the All In One Pork Chop Bake looks very good for this week. Hope you have a wonderful week and thanks for hosting!
    Miz Helen

  6. 6
    Gaby @ Tmuffin says

    I have this issue with my 2-year-old. He is very picky, but he is willing to try anything. For lunch, I usually give him a PB&J (which I know he’ll eat) along with some other items that he may pick at or whatever. Sometimes he eats 2 PB&J sandwiches during the day. So if he doesn’t eat dinner, at least I know his tummy is relatively full. Because although I used to give him tons of options at dinner, now I just make dinner and he can eat it or not. Sometimes he surprises us.

  7. 7
    [email protected] says

    Why am I always excited to see Menu Monday roll around? Oh yeah…it’s because there are a TON of great ideas to incorporate into OUR menus 🙂 thanks, everyone, for contributing!

    We have a super picky/texture kid + a Dad who is super picky about particular foods, so it makes meal planning even harder for me sometimes. We have a set rotation of meals that everyone likes, a few new meal nights, and a few meal nights for a particular person. For the picky kid, if it’s a meal full of foods I know he hates, I do offer him a substitution or make a modified version of the meal for him (Mexi-mac-n-cheese just means I pull out some of the mac-n-cheese for him before adding the taco meat into it for everyone else).

    As far as Hubby – we make Daddy happy, and try not to put the foods he can’t handle in a meal where it’s the bulk of the meal. We save some of those meals for when he’s away, or make sure I don’t add onions to anything, or make sure there’s a chicken breast or slab of meat available for him on a mostly meatless night for us.

  8. 9
    Suzanne says

    I made the cinnamon roll cake this weekend – it’s fabulous! We’ve nicknamed this dessert/breakfast food “Cheater’s Cinnamon Rolls.” For the first time in many years, we had chili and cinnamon roll night!

  9. 10
    Cindy says

    I have a 3 yr old who is pretty picky. She’ll gobble down a new dish one night, only to refuse it the next time I make it. She use to love cheese and now will not touch anything with cheese in it. Casseroles aren’t her favourite, so when I make those, I try to incorporate veggies she loves and I’m OK if she only has a few bites. She’s gone to bed with only a few bites in her tummy a few times, and she’s still healthy and happy.

    Thanks for hosting MPM!!!

  10. 11
    Miranda says

    Those bacon cheddar quesadillas are right up my alley! THanks for hosting!

  11. 12
    No Ordinary Mess says

    I really, really struggle with a picky eater at home. I appreciate you addressing this issue and will really try to implement some of those suggestions. My problem is often that he will refuse to even try one bite of something. Looking forward to seeing everyone else’s comments, too!

  12. 13
    Storms Stories says

    My husband is our picky eater! I am slowly getting him to come around, but it is a SLOOOOOW process. Thankfully, our eight month old, who just started eating solids, has not turned away anything I have offered him thus far (turkey, bananas, cucumbers, apples, sweet potatoes, avocados, ground beef, chicken stock, mashed potatoes and strawberry banana smoothie!). Here is to hoping my husband comes around before our little one picks up on the fact that daddy does not eat everything he is served!

  13. 14
    Heather says

    At our house, the picky eating seems to go through phases. Sometimes the kids are less resistant at trying something new, and other times they simply refuse. I always have at least one or two healthy food items on the table that I know they will eat. I also insist that they at least try a new food – sometimes just one bite of something new turns into their favorite.

    Oh… and presentation doesn’t have to be fancy. In the past, my kids refused to eat potatoes unless they were French fries. That is, until I made them try “Baby potatoes.” Simply boiled – nothing fancy. Maybe it’s the name Baby Potatoes, or the smaller size, or that I let them sprinkle a little salt on them. Whichever, they tried them and now say they love them!

  14. 15
    Debbi Does Dinner Healthy says

    I wish I had been more diligent about making my kids eat what I made, now I’m stuck making two meals all the time or they end up eating junk while I eat the “good” food that I made. Thanks for all the awesome menu ideas!

  15. 16
    Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

    Luckily I had only one picky eater- the other was not, so they didn’t gang up on me or wear me down. 🙂 My daughter is in her teens now, but I remember sometimes I swear she only ate a piece of bread for dinner! I never made any special meals, but always included one thing I knew she’d eat on the menu. I wasn’t worried about her starving- she could choose what she wanted for bfst, lunch and snack – but the rule was she could not have a snack after dinner.

    It wasn’t easy- there were lots of battles – but she gradually started eating more variety. Now she’s into sports and it’s easy to use the “you’ve got to give your body good fuel” motivations, so she sometimes chooses good food, though she still only likes two fruits and 4 veggies. 🙂 Lots of education and prayer and not giving in to their limited likes when they’re little, that was my three-pronged attack against pickiness. 🙂

  16. 17
    Lisa @ Cheap Thrills says

    My son learned how to make Orange Julius in his foods class last week, and he put the ingredients on my shopping list about twelve times. (Hope there’s a sale this week.)

    I was exposed to lots of food variety growing up, and have done the same for my kids. Other than a few quirks (mushrooms, fresh tomatoes), I must say they’re good eaters. For that I’m grateful.

  17. 18
    Adelina Priddis says

    an orange julius sounds so good right now! Too bad my blender chewed itself up 🙁
    I agree with menu planning with the family. My kids really get into it. They don’t always pick the meal but having something, anything to look forward to during the week has really helped turn my picky eaters around.

  18. 19
    Barb @ A Life in Balance says

    We struggle with picky eaters a bit. It’s hard not to when there’s 7 of us in the family. Someone is bound not to like something someone else likes. To make it more difficult, my dh loves to cook and gets a bit offended if the kids don’t want to eat something he spent time making.

    I heard of Ellyn Satter’s advice a few months ago, and I’ve been working on it recently as a way to end our frustration as parents. Basically, when my kids start saying they don’t like something, I tell them that my job was to cook the meal and their job is to eat it. I’ve done my job, and now they can do theirs. We only try to accommodate pickiness in providing choices. One of my kids doesn’t like sausage so we’ll put chicken on his plate instead. Everyone does have to eat their veggies, but usually it’s just a few bites. We’re okay if they don’t want the onions.

  19. 20
    Miranda @ A ThankFULL Heart says

    Oh – I have a picky eater so thanks for the tips!

    I shared my mostly slow cooker menu this week – thanks for the link up :).

  20. 21
    MemeGRL says

    Thanks for addressing this–I started doing MPM because of my picky eater! It was really helpful to see what he tried and when, and what he liked. It’s great to have proof that I’m not crazy, once upon a time he did eat _____. And I keep a sidebar of Recipes that Worked to remind/inspire me when I’m having trouble pulling ideas out of my brain. Thanks for all the help in this meal planning department!

  21. 22
    Linda Stoll says

    As a mom of 2, grandma of 6, and from a counseling perspective, here’s a few thoughts on picky eaters that I’ve learned along the way.

    1. Don’t make mealtime into a drama.
    Cook what you’d like to cook, and allow your kids to eat what they want to eat from what’s on the table. Do try to include something you know they’d enjoy, but don’t make every meal into a buffet! When they are done, simply excuse them from the table and let them go on their way. No begging, pleading, bargaining, arguing, cajoling!

    2. Try “no thank you” helpings.
    A “no thank you” helping simply means that your child is willing to take a spoonful or two of something new. If they can do that pleasantly, a little treat at the end of the meal is in order!

    3. The “no snacks between meals” policy.
    If your child refuses to eat at the table, this policy will work … probably sooner rather than later!

    4. Snacks should be healthy.
    Fruit, veggies, yogurt, whole grain crackers, cheese, water.

    5. Kids can live on air.
    Check with your doctor – a daily vitamin might be a good idea. But it seems like little ones can go through periods where they barely eat anything … don’t panic! If you know that what you serve them is healthy and attractive, sooner or later they’ll agree with you by eating. (Even if they never give you the satisfaction of saying, “hey mom, this is GOOD!”)

    • 22.1
      Laura says

      Thank you so much for sharing these awesome tips!

    • 23.1
      Laura says

      Oh I’d forgotten about this awesome resource…love Meal Makeover Moms! I’ve updated my post, thank you!!

  22. 24
    [email protected] Budget Savvy Mommas! says

    I just started getting the familiy into joining in on the meal planning. Since i have two children ages 7 and 9 I make meal that are kid friendly in the kitchen so they can help. They seem to love meals more that they get to help out with.

  23. 25
    Amy says

    Thanks for hosting. Love the ideas.

  24. 26
    [email protected] says

    Thanks for the link to my Bacon Cheddar Quesadillas. Hope you enjoy them! 🙂

  25. 27
    Skinny Mom's Kitchen says

    Better late than never 🙂 Just added my menu plan along with make ahead instructions and all the calories. Phew!

    I totally agree with your picky eater tip of a couple selections and in small portions. When I give my kids something new I always do a little at a time. That way they do not get overwhelmed by the new food.

    As always thanks for hosting mama!

  26. 28
    Queen of the House says

    Funny that you mention “picky eaters” today…I already know that tonight’s menu will receive some groans from the kids! Good tips to remember though. Thanks! 🙂

  27. 29
    Amy Turner says

    WOW, definitely going to try the Thai Chicken Pasta and Orange Julius this week. Thanks for the wonderful menu ideas. Hopefully my picky eaters enjoy dinner this week!!!


  28. 30
    Emily @ Random Recycling says

    What is working for us is offering the same healthy foods for everyone as soon as possible when kids are little. We never went down the path of offering a different option for the kids, with the exception of a meal that might be a choking hazard! Some nights the kids may not be totally into the dinner, but I’ve found that as long as they eat a balanced amount of food throughout the day, I feel confident that they are getting all the nutrients they need.
    Oh, and homemade chicken nuggets always work 😉

  29. 31
    Tammy says

    Great ideas, Laura!
    I do change the presentation of foods…tonight, I made my taco salad, but I put individual servings of everything (meat, cheese, lettuce, chips, guacamole, etc.) on my boys’ plates so that they could make their own…they actually made “sandwiches” with their chips instead.
    I have given my sons a food 12-20 times even before they really ate it or liked a new food. They always do try one bite. I even tell them that they can spit it out in the trash can if they don’t like it.
    My 5 year old eats things at different times. He pretty much only likes fresh fruit when it’s in season, with the exception of raspberries. He’ll choose a fave, and, then, when he tires of that, he’ll eat something else. I guess that I’m pretty blessed that they’ll eat protein, veggies, and fruit without much hassle.
    When they eat fast food, etc., they crave it, so I try to reduce that type of food. I think that’s what spoils us from eating what is healthier for us because all of the added sodium, etc. in those foods (It’s so tasty!)
    A rule that we also use – “No desserts until after lunch.”
    Jan. 22nd – Salad & crudités served
    S – Grilled pork chops, black-eyed peas, cottage cheese, peaches
    M – Taco salad, chips, guacamole, cheese dip
    T – Southwestern pasta skillet
    W – Ham & pasta or ham omelets or grilled ham & cheese
    Th – Leftovers
    F – Pasta e fagioli
    S – out? GC

    • 31.1
      Tammy says

      Oh, forgot to add….They love it when I call a food something else (i.e., “Superhero ______”).

  30. 32
    Stephanie's Mommy Brain says

    Great tips! My kids aren’t picky but they aren’t fans of new foods. I am not a restaurant. I do not make meals to order. You eat what I cook or you don’t eat. It’s really that simple. When my 4 kids choose not to eat they always eat hearty at breakfast. I also don’t force my kids to eat at a meal. If they want dessert they must eat everything on their plates, but other than that we don’t do meal time drama.

  31. 33
    Tara says

    I really appreciate all of the picky eaters resources. My 4-year-old is incredibly picky (even though she used to eat everything!), and she often won’t even touch the foods we give her. I’m going to explore those sites and see what other solutions I can come up with.

  32. 34
    April @ Angel Foods Kitchen says

    I’m late posting my menu today, (explanation in my blog) But, better late then never! Thanks for hosting and have a great week!

  33. 35
    Dani says

    I think those bacon cheddar quesadilla’s may just be added to my menu next week!! Thanks for hosting this wonderful tool for all of us 🙂 I am always looking for new recipes and I think some of our favorites have been found through here.

  34. 36
    Kelly @ Dysfunctionally Functional says

    Laura, you’re a hard woman to link up to!

    Thanks for dealing with ALL of us, every week. I don’t know how you do it!

    I, for one, am eternally grateful…this link-up has given me my motivation to plan my meals every week, for the past 14 weeks…which is a HUGE deal for me, the longest I’ve ever stuck to meal-planning, and this coming from someone who used to rely ENTIRELY too much on fast food, Chinese take-out, pizza delivery, and Friendly’s.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I hope everyone has a spectacular week!

  35. 37
    Kelly Blackwell says

    It all looks good. We are big fans of making our own Orange Julius at home. Kind of had to as I grew up with them in California, and I just missed them sooo much! 🙂

  36. 38
    Becky says

    I forgot what orange juliuses were or even if i’ve ever had them until I saw the picture in that link. Memories came flooding back.

  37. 39
    Missy says

    Thanks for letting us link up here every week I am begging to realize how much work blogs can be and you must really work hard on yours. I have linked my menu plan that has an invite to another linkup and giveaway.

  38. 40
    More Than A Mom says

    I am SO glad to hear I am not the only one who has this frustration with picky eaters. My kids are 4 and 5 years old and it’s so hard to work on a great meal that doesn’t even get looked at. I’m going to try to get them involved in meal preparation. Great advice. Wish me luck!

  39. 41
    Rachel says

    I got very excited that you mentioned Ellyn Satter! When my first son was born, my auntie who is a dietician, sent me Ellyn’s book ‘Child of Mine – Feeding with Love and Good Sense’ which covers infancy to adolescence. I can’t tell you how many of my friends I’ve lent that book to. I would recommend it to anyone with picky eaters in the family. Ellyn really goes in-depth about the subtle ways we put pressure on our kids to eat without even realizing it. I always strive to maintain that division of responsibility in feeding with my two boys. I always have bread with meals so they can eat that if they don’t like what I serve. My oldest is nearly 5 now, and he eats fairly well. He refuses some foods, but I don’t sweat it. I still keep offering it and if he doesn’t eat it, maybe he will next time. I try to set the best example I can by sharing mealtimes with my boys. They might not like some foods now, but if they see you enjoying it they will expect to enjoy it someday, too.

  40. 42
    Janet says

    In our home we always had a “no thank you helping.” The kids tried something new with a teaspoon sized helping on their plate. If asked if they wanted more the could reply yes please or no thank you. It worked out well for us.

  41. 43
    Crystal says

    My husband is seriously one of the pickiest eaters I’ve ever known. Celery, peas, ham, baked beans, etc etc etc. So I thought I’d get him involved with our menu planning. His suggestions? Frozen Burritos (the cheap ones wrapped individually in plastic) and Encore frozen meals.


  42. 44
    Danielle says

    My husband ‘s really picky. I’ve tried to include him in menu planning, but he says he doesn’t know what he’ll want days from now. So I left a piece of paper on the frig. I asked him to write down a meal/side/veg he liked or wanted. After a couple weeks, I had a pretty good selection to choose from. So now when I make my menu plan, I choose a couple from his list. Works really well for us. My daughters, however, are another frustration all together. Sigh. 🙂


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