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How to Satisfy Picky Eaters In One Meal!

No Shortage of Opinions…..

How many times have you exhausted time and energy preparing dinner, only to be met by mass opposition:

“I don’t like onions!”

“I don’t want that!”

“Ew, this is gross!”

“Why does it taste mushy?”

“I don’t want to eat my vegetables!”

As a parent or anyone living with picky eaters (this includes picky adults!), the resistance and excuses can go on and on. If you are tired of catering to strong opinions and sick of preparing multiple meals to satisfy individual tastebuds, this blog is for YOU!

As a busy mom and coach, I understand time is limited but that everyone likes what they like. After years of preparing multiple meals for my husband and two kids, I discovered THE BEST trick for satisfying my entire family in one quick and easy meal: build your own meal templates!

MIND BLOWING, right?!

To make life easier, I have compiled my top 8 go-to meal templates for build-your-own-style meals to satisfy all your picky eaters in just one meal while ensuring your loved ones are happy, healthy and fueled! Each recipes includes a fully balanced meal containing all 3 macronutrients (the foods you want/need to be eating with each meal):

  1. Protein!

  2. Smar Carbohydrates!

  3. Heart-healthy fats!

And, let’s not forget – veggies! For most, protein and veggies are the most overlooked meal components. However, it is important to make both the main event of all meals and then build the remainder of your plate with smart carbs and heart-healthy fats. If you’re not yet familiar with macronutrients no worries, I am providing you with tons of options below!

In this coaches’ blog, you are getting 8 of my go-to, well-balanced, family friendly recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Each recipe is kid tested, mother/nutrient coach approved, guaranteed to satisfy the pickiest eater in your household. And bonus: these fool-proof recipes will help you maintain sanity, save time and enjoy meals supporting your health/fitness/nutrition goals while keeping you energized and feeling your best throughout the day.


Breakfast of Champions

Let’s start with breakfast options. Choose from recipes you can make it advance or in real time.

PANCAKES & WAFFLES: There are a handful of high-protein options for easy-to-make pancake and waffle batters, with my personal favorite being the Kodiak Powercake Flapjack and Waffle mix. You can find/buy Kodiak mixes at most grocery stores (Giant Eagle, Marc’s, Target, Aldi’s, Costco). Simply follow the directions on the box and prepare either pancakes or waffles that are packed with protein! If you prefer a homemade version, I’ve included two protein packed recipes below for making your own batter.  Adjust serving sizes based on your needs and if able, make a little extra to have throughout the week.


#1. Cottage Cheese Protein Pancakes (makes 1 serving)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats

  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend for 30 seconds.

  2. Pour batter onto a heated skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.

#2. 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Pancakes (makes 1 serving)

  • 1 medium ripe banana, mashed

  • 2 eggs

  • 4 Tablespoons powdered peanut butter such as PB2 or PBFit (found at most grocery stores next to the nut/almond butters and peanute butters)

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, mash the banana and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well. 

  2. Pour batter onto a heated skillet and cook for about 1 minute on each side.

Once you have your pancakes or waffles prepared, top off with a smart carb and heart-healthy fat. Below are ideas to get you started:

SMART Carbs

  • Sliced bananas

  • Strawberries

  • Blueberries

  • Raspberries

Heart-Healthy Fats

  • Natural peanut butter

  • Natural almond butter

  • Sliced almonds

  • Chopped walnuts

OVERNIGHT OATS: a Koger family favorite! The base of your oats can be prepared several days in advance and later topped off with additional goodies once you are ready to eat. Below is a quick recipe for an overnight oats base. Make as many servings as you like and have a quick breakfast option ready to go each morning. Along with the recipe, you can find a list of smart carb and heart-healthy fat toppings to add.

#3. Overnight Oats Base (serves 1)

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 1/2 cup milk of your choice

  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well to combine. 

  2. Place in a sealable bowl or, 12-ounce mason jar with a lid. Refrigerate overnight and add additional toppings when ready to eat.

Once you have your base prepared, top off with a smart carb and heart-healthy fat right before eating. Below are ideas to get you started:

SMART Carbs

  • Sliced banana

  • Strawberries

  • Blueberries

  • Raspberries

  • Diced peach

Heart-Healthy Fats

  • Natural peanut butter

  • Natural almond butter

  • Sliced almonds

  • Chopped walnuts

  • Pumpkin seeds


Lunch & Dinner

Next up, lunch and dinner build your own meal templates. Each recipe can be used for either and includes tons of options/variety for your family.

TACOS! Who does not love tacos? Below are two protein options you can prepare once and then use multiple ways throughout the week for added variety. At the Koger household, tacos are the most requested build you own meal template but to shake things up, we also use these protein recipes to make quesadillas, burrito bowls and salads. Don’t forget to add your smart carbs, heart-healthy fats, and veggies to create a well-balanced meal (ideas below).

#4. Salsa Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 pounds chicken breast

  • 1 large jar of salsa

Directions:

  1. Place chicken breasts in the bottom of a Crockpot.

  2. Top with a jar of salsa and mix to combine.

  3. Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours.

  4. When the chicken is cooked through, shred it with two forks.

#5. Taco Turkey 

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey

  • taco seasoning

Directions:

  1. Brown turkey in a skillet.

  2. Drain off any excess fat.

  3. Sprinkle with taco seasoning and mix well to combine.

Taco Seasoning Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons cumin

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  1. In a small bowl, whisk all spices until mixed well.

Once you have your base prepared, top off with veggies, a smart carb and heart-healthy fat right before eating. Below are ideas to get you started:

SMART Carbs

  • Whole-grain tortillas

  • Brown rice

  • Quinoa

  • Black beans

Heart-Healthy Fats

  • Avocado

  • Pepitas

  • Cheddar cheese

  • Feta cheese

Veggies

  • Shredded lettuce

  • Tomatoes

  • Bell pepper

  • Cabbage

PIZZA! Ok, show me a kid who does not like pizza! Impossible, right? Well, guess what? It is super easy to make homemade pizzas that are satisfying AND healthy! Because the base (crust) of pizza is a source of carbs, you will need to add a lean protein source and heart-healthy fats to balance this meal out and don’t forget your veggies! A quick side salad or, veggies as a pizza topping is an easy way to squeeze in a serving (or two!) of much-needed veggies.

#6. Flatbread Pizzas: For the crust, opt for a whole-grain Naan or already-prepared sprouted crusts which are available in many different options at any and all grocery stores. My favorite options include Angelic Bake House’s thin and crispy 7 sprouted whole grain pizza crust, Ezekiel’s sprouted grain tortilla’s and Whole Foods’ sprouted wheat pizza crust.

Lean Proteins

  • Chicken or turkey sausage

  • Grilled chicken

  • Pulled pork

  • Lean steak

  • Ham

Heart-Healthy Fats

  • Pesto

  • Fresh mozzarella

  • Part-skim ricotta cheese

  • Olive oil

Veggies

  • Peppers

  • Mushrooms

  • Tomatoes

  • Spinach

SANDWICHES & WRAPS! Doesn’t get much easier does it? Like pizza, sandwiches are an easy sell to kids and there are tons of combos for creating and building any sandwich or wrap to please everyone come lunch/dinner time.

#7. Sandwiches/Wraps: Start out with a whole-grain wrap, whole-grain bread or large leaf lettuce as your base. From there, sandwich (pun intended!) a bunch of healthy goodies in and enjoy a quick and easy dinner!

Lean Proteins

  • Lean deli meats such as turkey, ham or roast beef

  • Rotisserie chicken

  • Tuna

  • Egg salad

  • Non-fat, plain Greek yogurt (this an alternative on the classic PB&J)

SMART Carbs

  • Whole-grain wraps

  • Whole-grain bread

  • Smashed chickpeas

  • Sliced apples

  • Sliced bananas

  • Smashed or sliced berries (blueberry, strawberry, blackberry)

Heart-Healthy Fats

  • Hummus

  • Avocado

  • Cheese

  • Pesto

  • Almond / nut butter

Veggies

  • Lettuce / leafy greens

  • Sliced bell pepper

  • Grilled mushrooms

  • Grilled eggplant

  • Tomato

  • Cucumber

  • If opting for the PB&J alternative, add veggies on the side: carrots, sliced pepper, sliced cucumber

SALADS! This one *might* be a harder sell for kids (and some adults!) but, when given plenty of options, you may be surprised by what picky eaters are willing to try. I present this to my kids as a bowl instead of a salad to disguise it (#mindgames) knowing a bowl is more digestible than a salad. When you think of “building a bowl”, it becomes way more fun (they can add what they like best!) and is more appetizing for your anti-veggie eaters. Salads are a great way to jam in a ton of veggies and get plenty of nutrients in one bowl.

#8. Salad Bowls-There are many different salad blends (textures, taste, etc.) to choose from in most grocery stores. When building your base, aim for plenty of leafy greens such as spinach, kale, cabbage romaine, butter, spring mix and microgreens. 

Lean Proteins

  • Taco Turkey

  • Salsa Chicken

  • Grilled chicken

  • Lean steak

  • Lean deli meats such as turkey, ham or roast beef

  • Shrimp

  • Salmon

  • Hard boiled eggs

SMART Carbs

  • Quinoa

  • Chickpeas

  • Roasted sweet potato

  • Butternut squash

  • Beans

Heart-Healthy Fats

  • Homemade olive oil based salad dressings

  • Nuts

  • Cheese

  • Hummus

  • Guacamole

There you have it: my top 8 go to build your own meal templates to satisfy the pickiest eaters in just one meal! Get creative and give your family options so they feel in control, eating doesn’t feel like a chore and preparing meals does NOT consumer all your time.



 

Stay Fueled!

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