Picnic Food for Picky Eaters
Debbie | On 14, Sep 2013
We’ve probably all come across picky eaters in our time and we probably all have things that we’re picky about eating. However, a child that’s a picky eater can cause parents a great deal of worry and stress. If your child will only eat about three different things, you probably worry yourself sick about making sure he/she has enough of the right sorts of foods to develop and grow properly. I know when my daughter went through a phase of only eating plain pasta, I was often beside myself despite the fact that she always looked the picture of health. It hasn’t done her any harm in the long run and she’s now grown up to be a brilliant cook who’s always trying new stuff!
Picking a Picnic
Going on a picnic with picky eaters can be a whole new challenge – how do you prepare food that is easy to transport, doesn’t need any extra preparation and will satisfy your little one’s discerning taste? Obviously, the first thing to consider is that you need to provide the child with something he/she will actually eat. The sandwiches don’t have to be sophisticated – if the child doesn’t like tuna or cheeses or any of the tasty fillings that most of us would welcome, then jam or peanut butter is acceptable. Make sure you use good wholegrain bread and a jam sandwich becomes a healthy part of the picnic.
Carrots and Sticks?
What about vegetables – although lots of kid profess not to like vegetables you’ll be surprised at how many eagerly accept raw carrot sticks, pieces of celery, strips of pepper and small cauliflower or broccoli florets. If the kids prefer the vegetables raw, then go with the flow – these veg actually contain far more goodness before they’re cooked and taste much better too. Small packs of sugar snap peas, mange-tout peas – any of those small packs of ready to steam vegetables in the supermarket – most of these taste much nicer raw than when steamed and are eminently ‘dippable’ in mayo, humus, salsa, you get the idea. Prepare a box of raw vegetables to take on the picnic – great crunchy little treats to munch on alongside the sandwiches.
Instead of sandwiches, you could make some pastry and cook some quiche tarts to take along – great to look at and if you involve the kids in the baking process, they will be much more likely to eat them on the picnic out of a sense of pride if nothing else. Tarts can be baked with a variety of fillings or try baking them blind and take them on the picnic in a Tupperware box with a selection of sandwich type fillings so that each child can fill their own little tarts.
Fairy Cakes and Fruits
Get the kids to help out by making fairy cakes for desert – with a variety of toppings they’ll be a welcome treat at the end of your meal. A selection of chopped fresh fruit can be a healthy end to the picnic – just make sure that you choose fruits that include something that the picky eater likes. Grapes, cherries, strawberries, chopped melon, pineapple chunks – all of these should last well in plastic containers (take cocktail sticks to pick up fruit chunks with). Sometimes a picky eater will eat fruit only if dipped in sugar – don’t worry too much about this – it’s only about a spoonful of sugar and if gets some healthy fruit into their tummy, it’s well worth it.
Picky eaters can present a challenge at all times, not just when preparing for a picnic. One of the secrets of dealing with a picky eater is to make food fun, get the child involved in choice and preparation and, above all, don’t worry too much they do grow out of it eventually.