To many parents, nothing can be more frustrating than getting their kids to eat dinner. But if you’re looking for ways to make mealtime easier, try changing up your approach to family dinners each week, especially if you have picky eaters at home.
If you have a picky eater in your family, you’re probably at the end of your rope trying to figure out easy and fun ways to get them to eat their dinner without complaint. Don’t worry; you’re not alone! My kids personally go through phases of only wanting to eat green beans as their one and only vegetable and then hating the mere site of them as if overnight.
We have some great ideas and meal plan suggestions that are sure to make everyone happy!
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If you’re a little like me the idea of making separate meals because of your kid’s picky eating tendencies can be so frustrating.
We’ve worked for years on helping break down the resistance to our kids wanting to try new things (spoiler alert: patience and persistence and making it fun are serious keys)
If you’re navigating a picky eater and would like for them to become slightly more adventurous at the dinner table you’ll definitely want to check out this post about how to get picky eater kids to try new foods.
What Kind of Recipes Are for the Picky Eater?
For the below recipes, we’re not just talking about the fussy eater (although many of these recipes will definitely help them at meal time) we’re also taking into account the picky eater designation when it comes to food sensitivities, allergies, and more.
There are a lot of gluten-free spins on some of your kids favorite recipes. I’ve collected a bunch of fun, easy, simple, and affordable meal plan ideas to add to your weekly plan.
Where to save these Easy Weekly Meal Plan Ideas for Picky Eaters?
Obvi you’re gonna wanna save this post on Pinterest.
But if you’re new here you’re also going to want to read about my lazy bitch meal planner course which you can find here.
It’s seriously one of the easiest ways I’ve found (and trust and believe I’ve been dealing with picky eater toddlers picky kids since the jump!) to figure out how to plan, shop, and prepare delicious meals that the whole family will enjoy.
If you’re looking to save money, have an organized shopping list, spend less time stressing about what to make for dinner, AND help your kids with their picky eating tendencies then this lazy bitch meal planner is for you.
But don’t stop there because babe, I got options!!! The good news is no matter what kind of weekly meals you’re throwing together, there’s a way for you to get organized
This handy dandy what the fuck are we eating for dinner digital download is a great way to at least get organized with new recipes, familiar foods, and how to meal prep for the entire family.
These recipes are simple, easy, family-friendly and sure to satisfy a wide variety of taste buds. See our weekly meal plan ideas for picky eaters below!
Gluten free Homemade Spaghetti O’s (Allergy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan)
Spaghetti O’s is a classic kid favorite that’s perfect for family meals too. So, why not make your own? This homemade recipe will please even picky eaters with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. It’s also a hit with adults who have allergies to processed foods.
Gluten-Free Peach Cobbler (Vegan, Allergy-Free)
A gluten-free peach cobbler is a fun twist on an old classic. This recipe uses almond flour instead of a wheat-based flour, making it suitable for people with celiac disease or any food allergies.
It’s also vegan-friendly, so if you need to feed your family members who follow a plant-based diet as well, you can use any dairy substitute—coconut milk, rice milk or soy milk work well.
Ingredient Potato Smiley Face Fries (Gluten-Free, Paleo, Vegan, Allergy-Free)
Craving something a little bit crispy to go with dinner but you’re tired of pre-packaged snacks? This simple recipe 3-ingredient Potato Smiley Face Fries will make mealtime a breeze. Prep them once, toss them in oil, salt, and pepper when your family is hungry—and let everyone create their own smiley face masterpiece. No frowns here!
This gluten free, dairy free lasagna soup is a fun way to serve up dinner. Bring all of your favorite lasagna ingredients together in a steaming hot bowl of gluten free lasagna soup. The best part is it only takes 10 minutes to prep, then let it simmer away while you get everything else done for dinner!
It’s one of our favorite easy meals for the less adventurous eater. Serve with Italian bread sticks or garlic bread. You can even add meatballs if you’d like, but feel free to keep it vegetarian.
Microwave Gluten-Free + Vegan Mac & Cheese For One (Allergy-Free ‘Easy Mac’)
Gluten-free, allergy-friendly macaroni and cheese is easy to make in just minutes using your microwave. Let’s be honest; gluten-free macaroni & cheese isn’t always easy to come by.
Here’s an allergy-friendly meal hack to fix that! When you’re a picky eater, eating out at restaurants can be challenging. But with our tips on how to eat healthy at restaurants, we make it easy for you.
Easy Weekly Meal Plan Ideas for Picky Eaters: Breakfast
Making a healthy breakfast is a must when it comes to dieting. Skipping breakfast sets you up for hunger later in the day, leading to unhealthy snacks or poor food choices. Instead of skipping breakfast altogether, give your family creative morning meals they’ll love.
In addition to eggs and oatmeal, try pancakes or waffles with fruit toppings or yogurt mixed with granola. Fruit smoothies make great options as well; these can include fresh or frozen fruit mixed with milk, soy milk, yogurt or juice.
While it might seem like banana bread is an easy thing to make, there’s a lot of room for errors. Luckily, quick-and-easy recipes exist in almost every category.
While regular banana bread can take up to an hour to bake and cool, we found a simple version you can whip up in 10 minutes. Bake up some loaf pans or muffin tins while watching TV one night and you’ll have homemade bread on hand all week long.
Apple pie isn’t just for dessert anymore. It makes a great breakfast when baked in oatmeal, so why not give it a try? Apples give you lots of fiber and vitamin C. This recipe takes just 20 minutes to make. Serve with cream or fresh fruit to add some healthy fats.
Great healthy family dinner idea to start off your morning right. And a great way to get more protein in your picky eater’s diet, too. What’s not to love?
Also: yummy, easy dinner ideas for picky eaters just getting over colds/sickness (comfort food anyone?). Oats keep you feeling full longer than other foods, which is great if you’re one of those people who want comfort food but want to stay on track with your healthy eating plan.
Apple and pear are a great combination. Apples contain essential vitamins like vitamin C, pectin, minerals such as potassium, biotin and magnesium. They also have anti-oxidants that protect you from disease, help maintain your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Pears are extremely rich in fiber which helps to lower your cholesterol level while improving digestion. If you want to give kids some fruits but don’t know how to convince them, check out these recipes for Apple and Pear Smoothie. And yes, it does taste as good as it looks!
Some kids just don’t like breakfast. Whether your child is picky or you want to provide an alternative to cereal, these overnight oats are a delicious and healthy option that he/she will love.
You can serve them as part of your family’s weekday breakfast routine because they’re fast and easy to make, which helps me get out of the door on time. Bananas, cinnamon, almond milk and chia seeds come together in a jar to help keep your kids happy at dinner time.
This unique combination of superfoods is both sweet and savory. Chia seeds provide fiber, calcium, protein and anti-inflammatory omega-3s.
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that boost mood and help burn fat. Pistachios add crunch to every bite, providing heart-healthy fats as well as vitamins B6 and E. This recipe makes enough for 2 weeks; keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to eat it! You can find more information about Dark Chocolate Chia Pudding with Pistachio in the link below.
If you’re looking for a quick snack or even an alternative to traditional desserts, try these simple oatmeal protein cookies. The best part? They only take about 5 minutes to make.
Blend up some quick oats in your food processor (following manufacturer’s instructions) and mix in a few healthy ingredients. These cookies taste great warm from your oven or stored in a container in your refrigerator. Perfect when you don’t have time to bake but still want something sweet.
These muffins are a healthier alternative to traditional banana bread. They’re also much easier to make, since there’s no mixing of separate ingredients.
They also taste better than store-bought muffins, which can be dry and bland in comparison. Enjoy them with your morning coffee or have one as a snack with a glass of milk.
Overnight oats are a tasty, simple way to jazz up your breakfast routine. Mix plain Greek yogurt with your favorite jam, slice fresh fruit, or top with granola. Then pour it into a mason jar and store in the fridge overnight. In the morning, you’ll have a delicious breakfast with protein-packed oats. (via Kitchn)
These muffins have only four ingredients, including oatmeal, bananas, yogurt, and blueberries. They’re easy to make—especially if you use a mix of whole wheat flour and white flour—and they freeze well.
I always double or triple my batch so we have muffins in our freezer when I don’t feel like cooking. Pop them in a toaster oven, microwave them or zap them on high power in your microwave for about 30 seconds to warm up leftover muffins.
Vegan Meal Plan Ideas for a Picky Eater:
A picky eater who won’t eat dinner unless it comes with a side of animal protein? Try cooking vegan. Vegans make up 5% of American adults, so there’s no need to explain what you’re doing.
And because their diets tend to be heavy on produce, vegans consume about 25 percent more fiber than their carnivorous counterparts. Going vegan might help your picky eater drop pounds by making vegetables an integral part of every meal—and cutting down on unhealthy snacks.
Cook pasta according to directions. While it cooks, steam or sauté broccoli florets, carrots, zucchini and/or bell peppers.
When cooked add these veggies to a food processor along with a can of tomato sauce (or crushed tomatoes) and a bit of fresh basil (basil pesto is even better), season with salt & pepper if desired, process until it is smooth but not entirely puréed.
If you’re looking for a creative dinner idea to feed your family, look no further. First, it seems like an unlikely combination, but don’t knock it ‘til you try it.
Carrots and pasta work nicely together—the carrots make a little sauce that’s perfect on top of a bowl of whole-wheat pasta.
Vegetable Pasta Sauce (7 Different Veggies and Legumes)
This vegetarian pasta sauce is an easy way to get more veggies into your family’s dinner without them even knowing it.
Plus, legumes give you a whopping 12-16 grams of protein per cup, helping kids grow strong and healthy. Feel free to add in different veggies or swap out your favorites, as long as they’re organic/non-GMO.
Easy Weekly Meal Plan Ideas for Picky Eaters: Lunch / Dinner
One of my favorite strategies to use when I’m cooking dinner is to think about what’s going to be served for lunch or dinner a few days out. This helps me plan meals with leftovers in mind, making it easy to create delicious meal combinations like tacos with spicy chicken or beef for dinner, then warming up those leftovers with fresh lettuce and corn tortillas at lunch on Friday. Yum!
Here’s a quick dinner idea that most of your kids will love. This Greek pasta is served with garlic and yogurt, so it has a little kick to it. But it’s really easy to make, using just a few basic ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
The recipe calls for farfalle, but any small pasta shape will work. If you do decide to use something other than farfalle be sure to cook according to package directions as each type requires different cooking times.
This is a family favorite. I’ll get a rotisserie chicken from my local grocery store, separate all of it into individual pieces, lightly bread them with flour then egg & then crumbs, bake until golden brown.
Serve with oven fries or potato wedges (seasoned with salt & pepper). Don’t forget to dip your nuggets in ketchup or honey mustard sauce if you have some on hand. They love them!
This skillet dinner combines all of your favorite Mexican-inspired flavors in one dish.
The chicken is marinated in a smoky chili powder mixture, then cooked with peppers, onions, corn and loads of shredded cheese. Top with fresh cilantro leaves or green onions before serving.
Take your picky eater to an international level with a simple twist on goulash. Use ground beef or turkey instead of sausage and add a few simple spices to create something entirely new.
Serve with steamed veggies and whole wheat pasta, topped with parmesan cheese, of course. This can be made in bulk ahead of time as a weekly meal idea (freeze in individual containers).
Flautas, or flutes, are essentially deep-fried burritos. They’re an easy dinner recipe because they’re basically a deconstructed burrito where you don’t have to worry about rolling up each tortilla—flautas can be rolled before or after frying depending on your preference.
Flautas also require minimal chopping and dicing, so they’re great when you want something tasty but don’t feel like spending hours in your kitchen.
FAQ for Easy Weekly Meal Plan Ideas for Picky Eaters
What is a good diet plan for picky eaters?
One of the best ways to help picky eaters adopt a healthier diet is to make sure you have delicious, easy-to-eat foods available at all times.
Try above recipes for meal planning. You’ll also want to check out my article that has simple steps to help your little kids, or young kids, or even just YOU become more willing to try new foods. If you’re navigating a food allergy, there are so many alternatives to traditional family favorites in this article above!
How do I make a picky eater meal plan?
Girl, you gotta check out my lazy bitch meal planner guide. It’s perfect for you to to get organized with recipes, a shopping list, and more.
You can save a recipe from nearly anywhere, and seamlessly integrate a shopping list. You can read more here.
You can also download one of my easy meal planner digital templates here.
How do I plan my meal plan for a week?
To prepare a week’s worth of meals, look over your weekly schedule to determine what days you can prepare a meal from scratch.
Keep in mind how much time you want to spend making dinner each night, especially if you have kids. Make a list of dinners with ingredients you already have on hand or can easily get at your local grocery store.
Organize your recipes into themes—such as fish one day, Mexican another, etc.—and be sure to keep costs in mind when planning menus.
What are the five basic steps of meal planning?
There are five basic steps to effective meal planning. Whether you follow them in order or jump around, they will help you plan healthy, happy meals.
1) Start in your pantry or freezer first.
2) Pick a theme (or two);
3) Create a grocery list (use my handy dandy digital download here)