As your little one enters their toddler years, you’ll notice they display strong preferences for various things including toys, colours, clothes and, you guessed it, food. When it comes to food, this strong preference can rapidly turn into a fussy eating habit.
If your child too is a fussy eater, you can find out what type of picky eater they are by answering this quiz. By knowing what type of fussy eater your child is, you can actually tailor meal plans to suit their preferences. Importantly, by doing this, you can ensure that your little one gets the right mix of nutrients that they might otherwise not get by rejecting regular meals.
If you’re the parent of a preferential picky eater1 then your child probably dislikes new or mixed foods. This means that they might miss out on important nutrients needed for growth and development, like iron, zinc and calcium. The way to work around this trait that’s particular to a preferential picky eater is to try and cover a breadth of food groups in your little one’s daily meals, while of course including some of their firm favorites. The following meal plan is specially tailored to suit a fussy eater who is also a preferential picky eater.
Recipes for your preferential picky eater
Breakfast: Cream of Mushroom Soup
Mushrooms are a wonderful source of important nutrients2 that are important for your child’s development. These include potassium, folate, zinc, calcium and iron. Even the fussiest eater won’t be able to resist a creamy, delicious and warm bowl of mushroom soup for breakfast. Parents will love how quick and easy this recipe3 is to make, knowing that their child is getting a healthy start to their day.
- 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
- 200g firm mushrooms, like Swiss brown or button, sliced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2-3 cups of chicken stock
- 100ml single cream
- 1 bay leaf
- Clean the mushrooms well by wiping them with a damp cloth or giving them a quick rinse under running water. Pat dry and slice.
- Heat the butter in a saucepan. Sauté the onion and garlic until golden brown.
- Add the sliced mushrooms, bay leaf and chicken stock and let it simmer for around 15 minutes.
- Remove the soup from the heat, take out the bay leaf and let it cool until warm.
- Blend it to a smooth consistency before adding it back to the saucepan.
- Stir in the cream and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and serve warm.
Lunch: Stir-fried Egg Noodles
Noodles are so much fun for kids to eat and generally are something that even the pickiest eater will enjoy. Your preferential picky eater is sure to love this yummy stir-fried egg noodles that is not just tasty but also nutritious. Eggs are packed with a huge range of nutrients that includes protein, vitamin D, choline, folate, and many other nutrients.4 By adding vegetables to the noodles, you’re further enhancing your child’s nutritional intake. This recipe is adapted from Yummy Toddler Food.5
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil or butter
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 clove minced garlic
- A small bowl of cooked egg noodles (or as much as your child will eat)
- 1 cup of chopped vegetables
- 1 egg, beaten
- Heat a tablespoon of the oil or butter in a wok or saucepan.
- Add the egg and gently fold it until it’s cooked and soft. Put it in a clean bowl.
- Add the remaining oil to the pan and sauté the minced garlic and vegetables until cooked.
- Toss in the noodles and soy sauce. Finally, add the scrambled egg.
- Season to taste and serve warm.
Snack: Banana Muffins, and Enfagrow PRO A+
Even the fussiest preferential picky eater won’t be able to resist a delicious banana muffin washed down with a cup of Enfagrow PRO A+ for their snack. Mums and dad can rest easy knowing that this combination packs a nutrition punch for their little one. Bananas are a source of potassium, vitamins B6 and C, fibre, and more. Since bananas have natural sugars, the added sugar content in this recipe6 by Annabel Karmel is minimal.
- 1 medium egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 55g soft light brown sugar
- 1 large, very ripe banana, well mashed
- 55ml sunflower oil
- 85g wholemeal flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan. Line 2 mini muffin tins with mini muffin liners.
- Beat the eggs and sugar together until thick, stir in the banana and oil.
- Sift on the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and cinnamon. Then add the vanilla extract and bran left in the sieve, to the bowl too.
- Stir together until just combined.
- Spoon into muffin cases (around 2/3 full) and bake for 12-14 minutes, until risen and firm to the touch. Remove and cool.
Dinner: Chicken Congee
Rounding up your preferential picky eater’s menu plan is this nourishing, tasty congee made with chicken. The dish contains nutrients including tryptophan, choline, and copper, whilst chicken provides protein, zinc, iron and vitamin B12.7 This recipe adapted from Simply Mommie,8 is made easily in the rice cooker, and can be enjoyed by the whole family.
- 250g chicken breast
- 1 rice cooker cup of rice
- 600ml water
- 600ml chicken stock
- Washed and chopped spring onion
- Seasoning for chicken breast
- 4 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
- Garlic powder
- Cook the rice in the rice cooker with water.
- When it’s done, add the stock and cook for one more cycle. If your rice cooker has a porridge/ congee function, use this.
- While the congee is cooking, steam the chicken breast until cooked through.
- Season the cooked chicken breast and shred it.
- Add the shredded chicken breast to the congee and stir it through. Season to taste.
- Serve warm with chopped shallots sprinkled on top.
Dealing with a picky eater and not quite sure what to do? In addition to tailoring healthy menu plans based on the type of picky eater that your little one is, you could complement the nutrition they get from these meals with Enfagrow PRO A+ milk formula. Enfagrow PRO A+ could also help make up for nutrients your picky eater might be missing out on.
Every tin of Enfagrow PRO A+ contains a unique blend of nutrients to support your child’s overall mental and physical development. These include MFGM (Milk Fat Globule Membrane) and 360 DHA Plus that help meet your child’s daily DHA intake*; iron and zinc that help strengthen natural defences^; and Prebiotic FOS which promotes growth of good Bifidus bacteria to help maintain a healthy digestive system. There is no added sucrose in Enfagrow PRO A+.
Support your picky eater’s nutritional needs with Enfagrow PRO A+. Here is a $10 Enfashop voucher specially for you▴!
Other meal plans
For a meal plan tailored to the needs of a perfectionist picky eater, click here
For a meal plan tailored to the needs of a sensory dependent picky eater, click here
For a meal plan tailored to the needs of a behavioural picky eater, click here
The contents of this article has been reviewed by Ruben Dela Peña Macapinlac, M.D. who is a graduate of De La Salle Medical & Health Sciences Institute, Doctor of Medicine. He had his Pediatric residency training at De La Salle University Medical Center. During his residency training, he wrote an award-winning case report and research. He also became the department’s Chief Resident. Dr. Macapinlac is now a General Pediatrician and the doctor behind “Pedia On-The-Go” Facebook page.