My 7 year old won't even eat Mac&Cheese these days

Any suggestions for a child who now only eats canned refried beans? (I know - she’ll eat Beans over Mac&Cheese)!

Re: My 7 year old won't even eat Mac&Cheese these days

When you say “only” do you really mean “only”? Will s/he, for instance, eat beans with egg? Can you fool him/her with lentils and tell him/her they are beans?

There’s nothing too wrong with beans, as long as there is something to supplement them with!

My favorite dish is cassoulet… a bean stew originating in France. Someone should really put a cassoulet recipe up on GreatGrub. (I reckon you can get a canned cassoulet in a decent market… that might be worth a try!)

Re: My 7 year old won't even eat Mac&Cheese these days

Refried beans are great. I love them — as a side dish! My advice would be to provide only a small portion of refried beans with dinner as part of a balanced meal which should include a protein (meat, fish…) and a vegetable.

The next step — not that I would make a big deal out of it — is to make sure that your child doesn’t have access to lots of snacks and candy between meals. That way they will be good and hungry when they get to the table.

Finally I would make sure that the protein and the vegetable portions are something they really like. So if you kid likes fried chicken — give him fried chicken. Or if they like hot dogs, serve hot dogs. And if you have to cover the organic broccoli in velveeta than do it. Step by step get your child back into the habit of eating balanced meals.

Most important don’t make a big deal. Don’t punish your child for not eating. Instead create an environment where they want to eat. So simply prepare just enough refried beans and make sure the rest of the meal is delicious. So when your kids says “can I have some more” you can honestly say “I’m sorry dear. That’s all we have. I’ll buy some more for you next time I go shopping”

Here are some recipes that my kids love: Classic Chicken in Vinegar - super easy and delicious. Arroz con Pollo (Chicken w/Rice) goes great with refried beans Carmen’s quesadillas Summer flank steak

Good luck.

Re: My 7 year old won't even eat Mac&Cheese these days

Great advice from Al!

I heard recently another trick is not to say “Eat this… it’s healthy for you”.

My daughter also loves beans. She enjoys them with a piece of fish on the side (usually a fillet quickly pan-fried with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of butter). I always have vegetables on her plate but don’t give her a hard time if she doesn’t eat them.

Another game I play with her is to put more of the good stuff on her plate than I know she can eat. So, if it’s broccoli, for instance, I may give her 8 pieces and she’ll say “I am only going to eat 4 today”. That’s ok. I eat the rest. It sounds lame, but it serves us both well!

Also, a trick I learned from Andrew (the founder of GreatGrub), is get the kids involved in the cooking process. Messy, but fun.

Re: My 7 year old won't even eat Mac&Cheese these days

I have grandchildren that are very picky eaters, as well. One trick I found is using garbanzo beans, which I drain well (freshly made - canned is probably ok too). I put them into a skillet with no oil and keep tossing them to toast. They are crunchy and tasty - I add a little salt. They taste like nuts and are a very healthy snack for kids.

Re: My 7 year old won't even eat Mac&Cheese these days

It also helps if children see adults enjoying the meal too.