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Deconstructed Dishes

by KristenY on March 20, 2014 · 0 comments

I have no idea why many kids don’t like their foods to touch.

Another mystery that stumps me is why when sauces touch foods, it is considered unacceptable, but dipping is fun and yummy.

These are just 2 of the common great unsolved mysteries of young children’s eating habits. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you try to figure out why it is this way. It’s equally futile to try to rationalize with your child about how peas that have touched chicken are no different than peas that haven’t touched chicken.

So don’t waste your time (and brain cells). Leave it be and trust that (eventually) they’ll grow out of it.

In the meantime, you aren’t relegated to eating sauce-free meals. Or making your child a completely different dish every night. Instead, serve your child deconstructed dishes.

What I mean by “deconstructed” is to serve your child all the same components of your meal—but in a manner so that they aren’t touching. Take a beef and broccoli stir-fry for example. Cook a small amount of the meat, broccoli, and other veggies in the pan before you add the sauce. Remove them and set aside. Continue cooking the stir-fry with the rest of the ingredients and sauce. On your child’s plate, place each of the items so that they are not touching each other, i.e. some beef, broccoli, other veggies, plain rice, and a small amount of sauce (perhaps in a dipping container like a small ramekin or saucer). And place a very small amount of the stir-fry with all the foods touching and with the sauce on it (like you are eating it).

“Deconstructed” meals are a fantastic compromise because they:

  • Allow you to eat a wide variety of dishes
  • Allow your child to join you in sharing dishes
  • Make your child feel confident with food because he has control over what ingredients he does and doesn’t eat.

What about you, have you used the “deconstructed” strategy? I’d love to hear your comments.

Known as The Dietitian who Transforms Picky Eaters into Food-Confident Kids, Kristen Yarker, MSc, RD, through her business Vitamin K Nutrition Consulting, answers the question “How do I get my kids to try new foods?”. Get your (free) copy of 101 Healthy Snack Ideas (that even picky toddlers and preschoolers will eat) at: www.vitaminkconsulting.com/101snacks

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