Preparing food for children and teenagers can be quite a task, especially when you have fussy eaters at home.
Besides having to plan and cook meals for picky eaters, you have to convince them to eat. That must take a lot of your energy in itself.
It is also difficult to plan a wholesome well-balanced meal for such fussy teenagers. They are at an age where they need energy-rich food for proper development.
Here are some recipes and tricks to help you make your fussy teenager eat. You may also read our ten teenage food choices.
7 Meals Fussy Eaters Would Savor with Pleasure
It can become really difficult to make a choosy teenager eat everything. Hence, here are some dishes that promise to satisfy your picky eater’s choice.
Burritos are easy and quick to make. They use a lot of ingredients making it a tasty and filling meal. For a picky teenager, you can add their favorite ingredients.
Some chicken, cheese and other things they like. You could include some healthy greens and beans. The tortilla gets rolled so it will hide the greens.
2. Mexican Mixed Skillet
Mexican food is a mix of flavors. And when the flavors work well together, people usually care more about the taste than the ingredients.
A Mexican mixed skillet can be one of those tasty and healthy dishes for your kid. A famous Mexican mixed skillet recipe is “chili con carne” or “chili with meat. It is usually prepared with chili peppers, beans, pasta, garlic, cumin, and other spices.
Stir-fries are the best way to feed healthy food to a teenager. Having been a fussy eater in the past myself, I remember eating stir fry veggies.
You can add colorful vegetables to make them look more appealing. Add baby carrots, pepper, onions, greens, broccoli, chicken, or any other ingredient you like.
4. Slow-cooked Beef and Noodles
Slow-cooked beef is anyway a dish to cherish. Adding some form of carbs to this takes it to another level.
You could make a champion out of this dish by adding a few extras like some spice, or some crunchy bacon on the top or even a little cheese.
Don’t hold back or hesitate to add bell peppers or other colour vegetables. The color makes the food more appealing.
Empanadas are basically baked pastries with filling inside them. I have experimented a lot with the fillings and so can you.
The way the empanadas hide the filling gives you a scope to include healthy-nutrient dense ingredients. You could start with the most common recipe – one with beef and cheese filling inside it.
6. Whole Wheat Vegetable Pizza
Pizza can never go wrong. Everyone loves a warm slice of gooey cheesy pizza, even most fussy eaters!
And there’s a healthy way to make this dish for your teenage kid. A whole-wheat pizza with some veggies under a healthy amount of cheese can do the trick.
7. Healthy Quesadillas
When you think of quesadillas, it’s usually a cheesy and unhealthy image that comes to mind. But the thing with quesadillas is that no one ever dictated what goes in as a filling.
So instead of making it unhealthy with all the junky bits, give it some nutritional value. Add some cooked lean chicken along with veggies or some avocado spread and salsa.
Understanding Fussy Eater Psychology
Looking at the recipes, you’re probably thinking “I’m already doing all this, but he/she still won’t eat”. Well, let me begin by saying I understand your frustration.
I’ve made my poor mother go through the same feeling. Even now as an adult, I do not enjoy when others prepare my meals. I usually make my own meals because I know what I like and how I like it.
It is the same psychology for most picky eaters. And there’s a way to help them out.
Understand Your Teenager’s POV
Most parents worry about their child’s health and hence they are worried about their eating habits. You need to understand that by pressuring your child you are only making them more averse to the item.
You are also undermining your relationship with the kid. Your role here is to understand what problem the teen is facing. Your job is to support and encourage them more than pressuring them.
Encourage Them to Try More Things
Most teenagers will resent you for forcing them into something. These are young adults going through a lot of physical and emotional changes.
Teenagers like to believe they are mature enough to make their own decisions. So pressuring them into things won’t get you anywhere.
Encourage them to try out new taste profiles, new dishes et cetera. Encouragement can make them want to explore things.
Ask for Suggestions and Plan Meals Together
I just spoke about how I still do not like when others make meals for me. I do not want others to make an assumption that I like Zucchini and make a Zucchini soup for me. I like to pick my own ingredients and plan for a meal.
It is a similar thought process with most picky eaters. Asking for their suggestions and planning a meal with them can make them feel included in the process. This also makes them open up to you more about their choices.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Food do Picky Eaters Like?
Researches and studies say most teenagers like snacks. Some of them crave sweet snacks, some like savoury. There’s a way to give them snacks and a healthy form of it too.
Give your teenager some greek yogurt and berried when they are craving sweet snacks. Give them Tomato chips, or popcorn if they are craving something savory.
What to cook for lunch for a picky eater?
Ask the picky eater about their favorite veggies or favorite dish. Use this information to come up with a healthy dish.
For instance, if a picky eater likes chicken and cheese. You could make a chicken and cheese wrap and include some lettuce in it.
Is being a picky eater a disorder?
Most toddlers or teenagers are picky eaters. There’s nothing wrong with this. With some encouragement, most picky eaters overcome their habits.
In some cases, however, for some teenagers, the picky eating habits can get severe. It is mostly the anxiety of trying out something new, something out of their comfort zone.
This disorder has been called ARFID – Avoidant/Restrictive Eating Disorder. Doctors are still looking for ways to treat ARFID.
Picky eating is a common thing with most children. Chances are, even you or your parents were fussy eaters at some point in life. There are ways to encourage your fussy teenager to try and eat new dishes or ingredients. But in case the condition seems severe, a doctor consultation is the way to go.