My Favourite thing: “Build Your Own” Meals
I have a family of 5 with very different taste preferences. When preparing meals I do not cater our menu to please everyone because I feel continuing to expose children to different food (even if they don’t particularly like it) is important. Food exposure is beneficial because it helps children to develop a tolerance or enjoyment for a wider variety of foods. So even if they pick out the odd ingredient (ie. mushrooms in chili), even tolerating it on their plate to begin with is a first step in the right direction.
“Build your own” meals are a fun and great way to expose children to new foods (and it eliminates any complaining). Usually once a week we have a “Build your own” meal where I lay out the ingredients and everyone can create their own. I have been pleasantly surprised by how my children will naturally try new foods on their own when there is no pressure and ingredients are just laid out before them. Also, it can be a good way to use up random leftovers.
Here are some examples:
- Pasta (tomato sauce, cheese, extra veggies, chicken, chickpeas, beans, etc.)
- Rice bowls (broccoli, bok choy, peanuts, tofu, chicken, etc.)
- Salad wraps (rice noodles, shrimp, pork, cucumber, carrot, bean sprouts, lettuce, etc.)
- Salads (nuts, seeds, spinach, different varieties of lettuce, grape tomatoes, radishes, beets, chickpeas, beans, really almost anything!)
- Tacos, fajitas, quesadillas, burritos (chicken, beef, black beans, peppers, salsa, cheese, etc.)
- Burgers (tomato, lettuce, sprouts, onions, mushrooms, cheese, etc.)
- Pizzas (spinach, mushrooms, green pepper, olives, ham, pineapple, etc.)
- Yogurt parfaits (nuts, seeds, berries, other fruit, granola, etc.)
- Omelets (spinach, cheese, any veggie, ham, etc.)
- Crepes or waffles (fruit, peanut butter, yogurt, etc.)
- Ice cream sundaes (have fun!)