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Menu Planning For Picky Preschool Eaters
By Nicole Brekelbaum, Fri Dec 9th

Create nutritional menus that kids can enjoy using these quicktips.

Sort Foods into Five Main Groups: Start by creating alist of foods that you would like to serve to your child. Foreach food listed try to sort it into a Milk, Bread, Fruit,Vegetable, or Meat group. These are the main food groupsidentified by the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program.Place yogurt, for instance, in the milk group, pancakes andenriched tortilla in the bread group and eggs and beef in themeat group. Choose foods carefully to ensure a variety oftastes, textures, and colors.

Create a menu for each meal serving: So you have in mindthree main meals per day consisting of breakfast, lunch, anddinner. Try to understand that some preschoolers may just eattwo meals a day, sometimes eating a light dinner or skippingdinner altogether. There is no need to worry if your child eatseverything on his plate. Over the course of the week the varietyof foods he eats will supply him with the nutrients he needs.Referencing your food list again, create a breakfast menu.Choose a bread, milk, and fruit/vegetable item from your foodlist such as pancake, milk, and peaches. Presto! You have justcreated your first breakfast menu. For lunch choose a bread,milk, meat and two fruit /vegetable foods. For example milk,meatballs, tomato sauce (vegetable equivalent), spaghetti (breadequivalent)and banana. Do the same for dinner. If want yourchild to

try new foods, place an old favorite in the mix toencourage his taste buds. Here is a sample weekly menu with abreakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack.
Milk,Orange Juice, CerealMilk, Apples,ToastMilk, Pancake,BananasMilk, Orange Juice,CerealMilk, Bananas,ToastMilk, Cereal, OrangeJuice
Milk, PeanutButter and Jelly Sandwich, Bananas, ApplesMilk, Turkey, Bread, Apples, BananasMilk, Chicken, Macaroni, Beans,PineapplesMilk, Chicken, Bread, Corn,PotatoMilk, Fish Sticks, Beans, Potato,Bread Milk, Ham, Bread, Corn,Banana
Afternoon Snack
Yogurt, BananasOrange Juice,Cheese CrackersYogurt,PeachesOrange Juice,CrackersOrange Juice,CrackersFruit Juice,Crackers
Stay within Budget:When purchasing your food items try to stick to your budget.Preparing your menus a day ahead saves you time and can alsosave you money. Try to rotate menus every four to five weeks, orrepeat one fruit or vegetable on different days so that food isnot wasted.

Present Foods with Style: Create a meal with visualappeal. Combine foods of different colors and textures. Cutfruits and vegetables into unusual shapes with a small cookiecutter. Arrange plain yogurt and a canned peach-half on a plateso that it resembles a fried egg. Make interesting funny faceswith the vegetable toppings on a pizza. Encourage your child tohelp prepare the meal. Give him easy tasks like cookie cutting,pizza topping or table setting.

Spend Mealtimes Together: Give your child an opportunityto share the eating experience with you and to appreciate thetime and effort that went into the meal preparation. As he seesyou trying new foods he is inspired himself to try unfamiliarfoods. Praise him for a job well done in the kitchen and extenda special invitation to help prepare tomorrow‘s meal.

About the author:Nicole Brekelbaum is a published author, the director of Young Achievers Inc.in Pflugerville, Texas, and founder of Pflugerville ChildcareOnline. Visit her company's website athttp://www.youngachieversinc.com.


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