Q. How do I deal with picky kids who won’t eat the meals I’ve prepared?
A. Having a child who is a picky eater can be challenging and make meal times feel like a
battlefield. Some strategies for helping you child include:
1. Allow kids to be “produce pickers” by letting them pick out the fruits and vegetables at
2. Encourage children to help prepares meals because it will get them excited about the
3. Offer the same foods for everyone in the family whenever possible. Do not be a “short-
4. When introducing new food, be sure to only offer one new food at a time so as not to
overwhelm the child.
5. Be a good role model for your child. You are the person that they learn many of the
eating habits from so be an example of trying new foods.
Q. I never feel like there is time for family meals. What are some strategies for making family
A. Making time for family meals does require some planning. It is important to try and find a
time that will be best suited to the family schedule. Try making preparation of the meal about
family time and not just the meal itself. Give every family member an age appropriate job to help
prepare dinner. This may include setting the table and helping to prepare small parts of the meal.
Plan meals that are nutritious but realistic. If you do not have time to cook a huge dinner try to
make healthy meals that are not very time consuming. Visit utahfamilymeals.org for recipe ideas.
Making meal times enjoyable and pleasant creates a positive experience which increases the
likelihood that each family member will want to make time to participate.
Q. One of my kids has Celiac disease but my other kids do not. How do I prepare meals for
A. One way to feed everyone is to make meals with common, gluten-free grains. For example,
rice is gluten-free and pairs well with stir fry, broiled chicken, refried beans, and other common
foods. Look for gluten-free recipes that the whole family can enjoy. Another idea is to do build-
your-own meals where each member of the family’s plates will look a little different anyway. For
example, you can do build your own fajitas and let your child with Celiac Disease use gluten-
free tortillas. If other members of the family want to try the gluten-free options as well, go ahead
and share so that your one child will not feel like an outsider. Always remember that if you are
going to use any ingredients with gluten, make sure they do not touch any surfaces or foods
which your child with Celiac Disease will be eating. Many companies are creating gluten-free
versions of typical grains, such as pasta, so try out these grains out with your family. They may
not even notice the difference!
Q. My wife started working and I am cooking dinner several times a week now. What are
resources I can use to make healthy meals for my family?
A. First, make a list of recipes your wife, mother, grandparents, etc. have made that you have
enjoyed, and get those recipes from them. These recipes will be more familiar to you and are fun
to keep through the generations. When you are ready to try some new recipes, there are many
online resources for healthy recipes– including our website at utahfamilymeals.org. Other
websites include ChooseMyPlate, Cooking Light, All Recipes, Better Homes and Gardens, Betty
Crocker etc. If you have a specific meal in mind, you can usually find a good recipe online by
searching for that specific dish. Sometimes, the recipes you find may not always be “healthy.”
Try finding those that don’t use a lot of fat (butter, oil, sour cream, bacon) or substitute those
ingredients with lower fat options. In recipes using grains such as pasta, rice, bread, etc.,
substitute with whole grain options like brown rice and whole wheat bread. Some of the websites
will give you the nutritional information for each serving, like you would see on a food label.
Choose recipes that are low in fat, sugar, and sodium and high in fiber. Stick to these basics and
you will have a great start to making healthy, tasty meals for your family.