Keeping food bills low with a fussy eaterI’m very happy to host a guest post by the lovely Hannah Brice of Meal planning is a valuable tool in keeping your food bills low with a fussy eater. Provided you have a long list of recipes using cheap and similar ingredients, your family will have satisfied tummies all week long and your bank balance will thank you too. However, if you have a child who is picky, it can be hard to ensure variety, avoid waste and not give in to childrens’ ready meals! Well, here’s a guide to keeping food bills low with a fussy eater.

If they only eat Ella’s Kitchen pouches

Ever slaved over a bolognese for your whole family, watched your child refuse it point blank but then suck dry an Ella’s Kitchen pouch of the same stuff? Yup. It doesn’t make sense does it? And at nearly £2 a pouch, it’s not cheap either.

Well, it’s not about what’s in the pouch. It’s about the familiarity. So don’t battle with them. Instead, CHEAT. You can order empty reusable food pouches from The Small Human Company and the great thing is they’re easy to fill, as well as dishwasher and freezer safe.

So, make that bolognese, or curry, or soup, or whatever the rest of the family is eating, and pop some in a pouch for your little one to enjoy it too.

If they never eat what you order them in a restaurant

We’ve all been there. You’ve gone out for a meal as a family and despite the kids menu being full of meals you know they eat at home, when their order arrives, they pick at it and decide they don’t like it.

How do you stop that from happening?

If they’re young, again it be a question of familiarity. Take with you the cutlery and plate or bowl they’re used to eating with and when their meal is brought to the table, transfer it on to their plate.

If your kids are older and are fussy about the way the restaurant has cooked the food, it’s worth taking a bit more time when ordering to get the specifics of how the dish will be cooked, what it comes and how it will be presented. It sounds like a lot of extra work but if you child hates mayonnaise for example, and the meal comes with lots of it mixed in, you will wish you’d known and changed the order.

If they won’t try anything new

Meal planning only works long term if you cook a lot of different dishes. There’s nothing like repetition to make you want to cheat and order a takeaway! So if your children keep insisting on having the same three dishes again and again, it’s time to take action.

If you involve them in the cooking process, they may be more inclined to try the end result. For example, fish fingers are great when made yourself. A bowl of beaten egg, a bowl of seasoned breadcrumbs and some slices of fish are all you need and it will be great fun for your kids.

Or if you’re making mashed potato, get them to do the mashing.

Or to get them to eat marinated chicken, make the sauce together. Lay out all the ingredients you need and then get them to take control suggesting what goes in. Give them lots of praise and ‘subtle’ encouragement and get them to taste as they go. Then let them watch you pour it over the chicken, and cook it later. Make a big show of how they made the dish and they should be keen to try it!

If they never eat their vegetables

Sick of their plate looking beige all the time. You’re probably spending a fortune on veg they don’t eat right?

This one comes down to education. Talk to them about what those foods will do to their bodies in terms that will appeal to them. For example, spinach will make them stronger so they’ll be able to run faster in PE. Carrots will make their eyesight stronger so they can see in the dark. Peas are full of energy which means they’ll get tired less early…. And so on.

Motivation is a powerful tool in keeping food bills low with a fussy eater!

If they don’t understand the big deal of meal planning

Finally, if they don’t see any problem with wasting food and preventing you from being able to serve the same meal to every member of the family, every night, then blackmail is required. Blackmail of the financial variety.

Teach them why you’re meal planning and show them the difference it makes each week. Lay the money out in front of them in coin form. Show them that keeping food bills low with a fussy eater is nearly impossible and you need their help.

Say that if they cooperate and help you stick to the meal plan for the rest of the month, they can have a portion of those coins to spend on whatever they like.

Is keeping food bills low with a fussy eater something you can empathise with? How much do you think you could save each month?

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