How do I Make a Weekly Meal Plan for a Picky Child Eater?

Children of all ages go through shifting relationships with food. Many children have likes and dislikes and some are quite set in their ways. However, in order to be healthy, your child needs a variety of nutritious foods. Dr. Sears, who is also a mother of 8, urges parents to strive for a nutritionally balanced week, not a nutritionally balanced day. Meal planning for your picky eater can help ensure that your child will get the nutrients she needs.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Child's help


    • 1

      Draw out a grid on your piece of paper that is seven columns wide and six rows deep. Above the columns, write the days of the week. To the left of the rows, write in meals and snacks. These often include breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and evening snack.

    • 2

      Involve your child. If your picky eater gets a chance to help, he or she will be more likely to eat. Play a game where you say a food you like and then your child says a food he likes. Write down everything your child says. Continue until you have a list of foods at least 10 to 15 items long.

    • 3

      Break your list into types of foods. Organize them by fruits, vegetables, dairy, sweets, meat and grains. Grains may include bread or pasta.

    • 4

      Start to add food to your blocks. Your child needs about three or four servings of fruits, veggies, meat and dairy a day, along with six to eight servings of grains a day and a small amount of fats. Begin with the list of foods your child likes. When you've exhausted those possibilities, move on.

    • 5

      Figure out how to combine a food your child likes with another food. Many children like cheese but not broccoli. Give them a little bit of broccoli and a lot of cheese. To get some fruit in their diet, consider adding bananas to their peanut butter sandwich. Oftentimes, a child will eat something because it's masked in another food.

    • 6

      For one of your child's dairy requirements and as a snack or dessert, blend a pediatric nutrition shake with some ice cream and crushed up candies of your child's choice. While a shake might not be a traditional measure of nutrients, it will mask the flavor of the nutritional shake which will ensure your child gets all the vitamins and minerals she needs.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remember that children need less food than adults do and that they'll eat when they're hungry.
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  • Photo Credit child eating image by jeecis from

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