An astounding 20 percent of children are considered picky eaters.
The good news is that most often, they end up growing out of it. By their teens and twenties, their new favorite food is the one they used to detest growing up!
Sometimes, though, picky eating can be a sign of other hypersensitivities – which can sometimes cause social anxiety, and maybe even depression. Of course, no one wants that for their child!
Regardless of the type of picky eater your child is, you know it can be a nuisance. How can you expose your child to more foods, even if they’re not ready to eat them? What can parents do to ensure their children are still getting balanced diets even if their tastebuds aren’t quite there?
In this guide, I’ll cover a fun, healthy snack idea that doubles as meal prep and has been a lifesaver with my own picky eaters. The next time you’re in the kitchen prepping food for the week, or tonight’s dinner, try this method, too. Your child will love the options, the colors, the cute arrangement and it should take you no time at all.
What am I talking about? Keep reading to find out!
The Muffin Tin Strategy
The muffin tin strategy? But wait – I’ve never heard of that one, you think.
That’s because it’s new, and it’s innovative.
The muffin tin strategy does exactly what you hoped for: makes meal prepping for your child easy, healthy, and varied. It gives them options and the ability to make their own decisions. What child doesn’t love that feeling of autonomy?
Let’s break down what the muffin tin strategy is.
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Grab Your Muffin Tray
Now, I’m not suggesting you feed your child a tray of muffins. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Grab a muffin tray with as many sections as you want, ideally twelve. You can choose to line the slots with cupcakes liners or not.
Then, fill in the slots with your snacks of choice. That can include anything in your fridge, such as:
- 2-3 carrots
- A handful of chocolate chips (because kids love a little sweet treat)
- 2-3 strawberries
- A handful of something fun, like Goldfish
- 2-3 apple slices
- A small handful of their favorite seeds or nuts
- An actual muffin!
Of course, you can mix it up, depending on your child’s tastes!
Do they dislike strawberries? Sub out some blueberries or some pieces of melon. If their go-to snack is crackers or fruit gummies, try that instead of Goldfish.
The point is to have a varied selection of some fresh fruits, some healthy legumes or nuts, a fun treat, and more. It’s okay if your child doesn’t like everything you’ve placed in the muffin tin. In fact, that’s the point.
Even if they’re not eating it yet, they’re at least getting exposed to it. You’re providing them the opportunity to see what’s out there. Who knows, maybe one day your child will reach for the healthiest slot on the muffin tin without your prompting!
The Compelling Benefits of the Muffin Tin Strategy for Picky Eaters
As a parent, you know how the situation goes:
All day long, your child begs for snacks. It seems that their appetite is insatiable!
However, when dinner time rolls around, your child is suddenly not hungry. Now, instead of having a balanced diet, they’ve had treats all throughout the day with nothing substantial in the evenings. This method of eating is setting you (and them) up for some trials and tribulations, with food and otherwise.
The muffin tin strategy gets rid of the neverending snack battle and ensures that your child is snacking on healthy things throughout the day. Their snacks shouldn’t be so filling as to cancel out dinner. By placing snacks in place of muffins, you’re ensuring the snack portions never get out of hand.
Additionally, it’s easy to prepare.
Every morning, you can get out your muffin tray and peruse the cabinets and fridge. If you have some items that are expected to go bad within the next few days, you can finish them off. Throw some fun goodies in there to make it that much more appealing for your little one. In my house, my kids are a huge fan of a few chocolate chips in at least one slot.
With this strategy, you’re not stuck in the kitchen all day to the beck and call of your child’s stomach cravings. Instead, you’ve got a clearly laid-out choice of snack options.
Well, when your child is exposed to other foods, they’re more inclined to try them later. They may skip the healthier options now, but they’ll more accepting and open-minded about food down the road.
Last, you’re instilling your child with the ability to make decisions.
When your child is making choices independently, led by you, it can help to eliminate any ‘snack battles’ or food problems. They’ll understand that you’re allowing them to be individuals in charge of their diets!
Do Away With Picky Eating
With the muffin tin strategy in your household, you can all but say “Farewell” to picky eaters.
It may not happen on day one. It may not even happen the first week. But over time, you’ll start to notice subtle shifts in your child’s diet.
Maybe that’s more curiosity about different items. Perhaps it’s even trying (and liking!) new things. But you’ll never know until you expose your good to a healthy variety and that’s exactly what this strategy accomplishes.
If you’ve got more food-related questions, keep scrolling the blog. From diabetes-friendly dessert options to easy snack ideas for healthy bones, you’ll find everything you could need. Good luck with your food journey!