My household is filled with picky eaters, especially right now. My husband likes to eat a Paleo diet and says that it isn’t dinner if it doesn’t have meat. McKenna, well she’s a toddler #enoughsaid. And lately I am even picky! Due to my pregnancy I have been having food aversions all over the place. I’m trying to figure out how to balance all of our food needs right now and here is what I have come up with so far.
It may seem a bit dramatic to put it this way…. but I gotta feed me first. It’s sort of like putting the air mask on myself first in a plane crash. When I’m not pregnant food is whatever to me. When I’m pregnant I HAVE TO HAVE FOOD OR ELSE. It’s a really big deal that I eat when I need to and that I get the protein and other nutrients necessary. What I do is make sure that I stock up on some quick proteins that aren’t disgusting to me currently (greek yogurt, some protein bars, protein powder that I mix in smoothies, peanut butter, hardboiled eggs and a few others). Having these quick foods is really helpful when you are super busy… and on days when you are just plain super exhausted from being pregnant. I eat far more of these types of food than I’d like to admit but I’m doing my best. When I have more energy I will make myself bean and cheese burritos or if I can muster eating meat I will heat up leftovers from the night before.
The good news is that because I have so many aversions and I’m sticking to those quick foods I can get food to the others much quicker as well. McKenna is picky in a way where I really have to play some mind games. She loves almost all food, she really does. However, sometimes she decides that “it’s too hot,” “it’s too spicy” or my favorite “I don’t like it right now”. Ugh. Kids are crazy. It’s a good thing they are cute. Generally, I will start by giving her two protein options both of which she usually likes because protein is the hardest thing to get her to eat. After she eats that I will offer up fruit, veggies, etc. She happens to love her fruits and veggies so those are pretty easy to get her to gobble up. If she eats all of that I will give her a treat of sorts, like fruit snacks or crackers. When she eats like this it’s a good day. There are also days where she refuses to eat anything but O’s (cheerios) but she is figuring out that I’m just as (or more) stubborn than she is. After some soul searching mommy always wins 🙂
Brandon is the pickiest of us all. He tries to stick to a Paleo diet (if you aren’t sure what that is – here is a great resource). Because the two biggest restrictions of this diet are dairy and carbs we (the diet and I) have a hard time getting along for the long term. In order to keep up with his mostly Paleo lifestyle we make simple lunches ahead of such as “a dump” – which we named because we just put ground meat and anything else that we think would taste good in it to bulk it up. We almost always add mushrooms, jalepenos, greens, garlic, etc. We change up the seasoning each time so that he doesn’t get bored with it. Otherwise we cook up chicken and a veggie and call it good. For dinners we have found some favorite Paleo meals that I enjoy as well. Because I save them in my Paprika app it’s easy to see which recipes are Paleo and then skim for the ones that we have rated highly.
Dinner is by far the hardest to accommodate us all but the preparation ahead of time to ensure that we all have some food available helps a lot. There are nights where I make a meal and although I usually like it, I just can’t. I blame the baby in my belly. Those nights my tummy is usually in charge and I eat whatever it says, even if it’s pizza rolls, ha! There are also nights where I can’t even begin to look at a piece of meat and Brandon needs to cook, eat leftovers or one of the lunches we’ve cooked ahead of time. McKenna generally eats most food we make for dinner but she definitely eats the most in the morning and the least at night. I’m comfortable with it since I know what and how much she eats during the day.
So, the key is flexibility and preparation. Honestly, that’s all it takes. Sometimes it’s hard to get stuff ready ahead of time but when we do everyone gets fed and enjoys it!