Cooking for kids and husband.

Someone help me out please. My kids are picky eaters and only veggies they eat are corn and green beans. My husband is a skinny Minnie and can eat anything and not gain weight so eating healthy is not big to him. Cooking 2 different meals is not affordable so what can I make that will be good for all of us? This is the hardest part for me.


  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,763 Member
    Is your goal to lose weight?

    You can do that eating anything, just eat at a deficit. If you find that eating smaller portions of the foods you're cooking for your family leaves you hungry or isn't meeting your nutritional needs, you can bulk your meals up with larger portions of foods that have fewer calories.

  • kscouten87
    kscouten87 Posts: 6 Member
    Yes that's my goal. Just would also like to slowly work on getting them eating better also.
  • Tulip9
    Tulip9 Posts: 143 Member
    That is hard. I always just put more veggies on my plate in addition to the main part of the meal. I also often make pasta, tacos, and we had baked potato night last night. Mine was very small, but filling. Easy to customize. I always served my kids some veggies when they were little. They like them a lot better now!
  • busyPK
    busyPK Posts: 3,788 Member
    I have a handful of basics I cook, then measure out my portions and add me veggies for me.
    - Lean beef tacos
    - Roast, carrots, potatoes in crockpot
    - Cajun stuffed chicken and roasted veggies
    - Simple jared pasta sauce and noodles (add a side of steamed broccoli)
    - Breakfast casserole with eggs, milk, spinach, cheese and toast or English muffin with it
  • scarlett_k
    scarlett_k Posts: 809 Member
    I just cook for both of us and work out my serving size to fit my calories. No separate meals needed. He can cook for himself if he were thst fussy!
  • Spiderpug
    Spiderpug Posts: 159 Member
    edited October 2017
    I used to cut veg v finely or blitzed and put in lasagna sauce etc. Have managed to get them onto bigger chunks now but they still refuse whole veg out of choice!
  • BeccaLoves2lift
    BeccaLoves2lift Posts: 375 Member
    Agreed. I eat the same thing as my family for dinner, just in measured amounts that fit my calories. Picky eaters are tough, because at my house, I do most of the cooking so everyone eats what I cook. If they don't like it, then that's a bummer.

    Dinner usually is a meat, a veggie, and a starch. I mix and match that 1000 different ways. Big hits in the house are tacos (every tuesday) and spaghetti nights (once every other week because pasta is hard to fit in my calories, but everyone loves spaghetti).

  • DX2JX2
    DX2JX2 Posts: 1,921 Member
    My family eats whatever I cook whether they want healthy or not. If they don't want to, then they are free to cook (and pay) for their own food. If your husband doesn't want to eat the same food you eat, then he's welcome to fend for himself. That said, you don't have to eat 'clean' to lose weight. You can eat totally normal foods and still lose, just stick with portions that keep you within your limits.

    Your kids are a different story. Depending on how old they are, sometimes you just have to exercise your mom-card and force them to get with the program. Worked for me when I was a kid.

    If they're younger, then just disguise the veggies in something they like. Zucchini noodles in tomato sauce, broccoli in cheese sauce (you can steam the broccoli and pull your portion aside before mixing with the cheese), creamed spinach (ditto about separating your portion before mixing with the sauce), etc.

    In fact, the same trick that would work for your kids will work for your husband. Cook dishes that are based on plain items and pull aside your portion before mixing with the sauce or more calorie dense ingredients.
  • Cbean08
    Cbean08 Posts: 1,092 Member
    Make it a rule in your house - your kids have to try the vegetable before eating the other parts of the meal. They don't have to like it, they don't have to eat a ton, but they have to try it. If they say "bleh," don't make a deal out of it. Thank them for trying to vegetable and serve them the rest of their meal.

    Get your kids involved though. Kids are more likely to be adventurous with something they helped prepare. If you're making steamed broccoli, have your kids pull the broccoli crowns apart. Let them put the broccoli in the pot and then carry the finished bowl to the table. Even small things might help.

    As for your husband, if he doesn't like what you cook, he can make something for himself. He's an adult.
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,720 Member
    You don't want your kids and husband to eat healthy? :huh:
  • kscouten87
    kscouten87 Posts: 6 Member
    My husband will eat whatever I cook. Didn't mean to make it sound like he wouldn't. He is not picky at all. He is just not all about the clean eating.
    My kids are 12,9,&4. The 4 yr old is the least picky! My husband does make the kids try anything that is made and we do say eat it or starve (bad I know, but they aren't going to starve). I just lean to making more things they will eat like tacos, spaghetti, hamburger helper, mashed potatoes etc...
    Thanks for everyone's input. I will just need to change my portion sizes!
  • corgarian
    corgarian Posts: 366 Member
    My mom used to make me sit at the table until I ate my veggies. I remember sitting there for hours one night. as an adult tho I'm super grateful she did that, will totally be doing it to my kiddos one day.

    But for food ideas:
    Meat Loaf - blitz up mushrooms, onions, and cauliflower and mix it in there!
    stir fry - with broccoli and green beans - usually more kid friendly veg
    chili - cook in bell peppers, beans, and broccoli

    honestly anything you can make in a croc pot, add veggies. slow cooked veggies soak up lots of flavors and taste better than steamed or baked options.

    put cheese on top! i'm keto so i love adding cheese to everything.
  • PaytraB
    PaytraB Posts: 2,360 Member
    edited October 2017
    Change your meals up to fit the family and your goals.

    Maybe try substituting spaghetti squash for pasta for yourself on spaghetti night. It's cheap, goes a long way and will allow you to eat more quantity. The kids might like it, too. It has very little flavor to dislike. :smile:
    Make yourself a large salad on hamburger helper day. Keep the HH portion low, fill up on salad.
    Make your taco a taco salad (no shell).....heavy on the veggies and salsa.....light on the sour cream.
    For "meat, veggie, potato" meals, portion the meat, eat extra veggies.

    You can do this. The trick is to find the lower calorie options and keeping your stomach full enough to keep you on course.

  • shaumom
    shaumom Posts: 1,008 Member
    I have a child who was hugely picky (in part likely due to some mental difficulties that were not discovered until she was an adult, sadly), to the point that there was no 'you'll eat this or you can make your own or go hungry.' Because she just wouldn't eat. At all. Even if she got hungry - she just wouldn't eat.

    As an example of the will power of this child, once when she was sick, age 14, she decided she was so miserable that she could just not go to sleep until her nose wasn't stuffy anymore. She stayed up for for 72 hours or so before she finally actually passed out. She'd just lay in her bed refusing to go to sleep - and miserable while doing so.

    The kid makes determination into an art form sometimes, seriously.

    As a result, my own perspective on getting kids to eat veggies involved a lot of research just to try and get veggies in, LOL.

    What helped me was learning a few interesting things.
    1. Whenever we have a new flavor, almost NO ONE likes it. We need exposure to that taste for a while before our brain will even START to consider if it's good or not. Now, if it's connected to something we like, like sweet, then we're more likely to be positive and willing to try it again. But the brain actually doesn't make a full decision on this until after quite a few tastes.
    2. Whenever taste buds are triggered, a part of the brain associated with memory actually triggers as well. So any good associations that happen with eating a food, or bad ones, will affect how much someone likes the food any time they eat it later.
    3. People have very strong positive and negative associations with how food looks.

    So first, it can help to very slowly add in a veggie you eventually want them to eat. A little bit grated into foods they already eat, slowly increasing the amount each time they have it (yellow squash, grated fine, works great with hamburgers, carrots can sometimes work with melted cheese, if cooked, mashes, and added, and grated red bell pepper - flesh, not skin - works great in tomato sauce). If you slowly increase the amount, they are less likely to notice it, but at the same time, their bodies are slowly adjusting to the taste so that it's not too 'weird.'

    Mixing the veggies with flavors they love can help - so lots of cheese, something sweet, and so on. This is NOT a forever thing, just so that they have a real positive association with the food in the initial introduction, you know? It can sometimes be a hard transition to foods that do not have cheese and such, but it's doable.

    Make it fun, or silly, or cute/gross/whatever they like. I got these tiny little bowls, maybe 2 inches across, to make miniature salads and soups, that I would cut things super, super tiny for. They were really cute, and my daughter thought they were so adorable she'd eat them more. I've seen people do the same with gross food - 'brains' or guts' for their kids who are excited by the Halloween kind of stuff, you know?

    Bento boxes are GREAT for adding in neat looking things, especially if they help make them or pick out the theme - like these guys -

    I've seen people do 'theme' nights for dinner (maybe a few nights a week, or once a week), where the only foods there started with the letter 'o,' or were all blue (even if they had to be dyed), or had little figurines holding food as weapons and everyone got to fight each other with the food and you could avoid being attacked if you ate the weapon (like asparagus spears), or you had a bunch of mashed root veggies and had to make a sculpture of them before you heated it up, or, I dunno, people have to try and eat with the wrong hand, or heck, have to wash their feet and eat with their toes, whatever.

    Basically, just making it FUN, where the nights they have more veggies, they get to relax about something else, like normal eating rules or food rules, so they have real positive memories with the veggies, if that makes sense?

    Admittedly, a lot of the above is more work, but it can end up with kids who like veggies a lot more, too. :-)
  • peaceout_aly
    peaceout_aly Posts: 2,018 Member
    kscouten87 wrote: »
    Someone help me out please. My kids are picky eaters and only veggies they eat are corn and green beans. My husband is a skinny Minnie and can eat anything and not gain weight so eating healthy is not big to him. Cooking 2 different meals is not affordable so what can I make that will be good for all of us? This is the hardest part for me.

    My S.O. is terrible at eating his veggies. He likes the basics that any Italian boy was raised on - pasta, gravy, chicken and meatballs. He likes carrots, corn and broccoli (sometimes) and only when drenched in Ranch dressing.

    Try subbing pasta with chick pea pasta for more protein, incorporated riced cauliflower instead of rice and simply don't tell them. When covered in sauce, it's hard to tell a difference. Check out Walden Farms for dressings and marinades (and syrups, even) that are 0 cals.

    Stick with the basics - a meat, a veggie and a "carb" (or a sub from above) and let them munch on that. Corn and green beans aren't bad, just eat each thing in moderation. Pre-log your dinner each day if you know what you're planning on making.
  • mlrtri
    mlrtri Posts: 397 Member
    I had more problems with this when I was “dieting” instead of just counting calories. Now I am cooking healthier but it is just lighter versions of things we enjoy instead of the crazy diet food I was coming up with. I serve my kids what I prepare for dinner but if I know they probably won’t care for it I give them an additional side I know they will eat. By not going crazy with the diet food my husband is happy with what we eat. I usually take a smaller portion and maybe add a spinach side salad. We all get the same main items I just modify things a bit to suite everyone. Has made this go around much more successful.
  • KayHBE
    KayHBE Posts: 906 Member
    Not sure how little your kids are but when my boys were young I would just make a cold veggie plate with different cut up vegetables and I would put it on the table way before dinner was ready. I would cut them into shape for added interest like carrot flowers and peppers cut well too. Celery with hummus and cherry tomatoes in shapes of ladybugs etc. If they are older you can still do some shapes but have it out and ready. When they see you eat them they just might want to try.

    I learned that when my boys were really really hungry thats when they would try new things and tended to like them better then too. I think too many snack available made my boys hold out for those and then wouldn't eat the healthier optons because they new snacks were in the cupboard and they could get those later.

    Oh ya ,,, One time I took the boys to a Chinese Buffet and my oldest went up and got his food first. I told the other if he came back with some vegetables on his plate and ate them I'd give him $100. He didn't but they now always get a vegetable and eat them.