La Rubia is a ridiculously, aggravatingly, annoyingly picky eater. I am convinced that her finickiness has absolutely nothing to do with food and absolutely everything to do with power. And let me preface this by saying that I know it’s a phase and one day her palate will expand and we will laugh merrily and hold hands and sing Kumbayah around the dinner table, but we aren’t there yet. Not by a long shot.
As self-professed foodies, our favorite indulgence is definitely going out to eat. As a family of four we’re typically spending somewhere between $30-40 bucks a meal. Not cheap. And certainly not worth it if the meal is wrought with aggrivation and chants of “I don’t ‘yike’ it” or “I’m not hungry (but I really am, but I don’t want to eat what you ordered so I’m being diplomatic).”
I’m not sure if it’s our naivete or wishful thinking -probably wishful thinking- that has us wasting money on La Rubia left and right when we’re out on the town and it’s finally hit a breaking point. We finally found our common sense parenting (and budgeting) and are re-committed to making these three changes stat.
Picky Eater Rule Number 1: Forgo the Kids’ Menu and Have Your Child Share with Mom or Dad (or both)
First of all, I hate kids’ food menus anyways. Who goes out for Japanese to order some chicken nuggets? Perhaps if it’s served as Chicken Katsu, cool, but nuggets are nuggets, no matter how you slice it. Also, I won’t feel obligated to snatch food off of her plate and add to my own calorie count, thankyouverymuch.
Did you know that grazing off of kids meals contribute to parental weight gain. True story.
Our best bet is just sharing with La Rubia rather than ordering her her own meal. I’m sure this will reach a point of diminishing returns, but for now it’s the smartest choice we can make.
Picky Eater Rule Number 2: When In Doubt, Pack A Meal
If I pack La Rubia a meal I don’t have to feel the aggravation of paying anywhere between $4 and $7 for her to NOT eat it.
I might as well set my money on fire, right?
And for some reason, she gets off on carrying her own lunch box. Weird kid, I know. I’d rather pack her a cheese stick, bread cubes, a squeezie fruit thing, and a sippy cup filled with water and see her eat it all than watch her pick and staunchly not eat what we bought.
Don’t worry about restaurants regulating on you bringing outside food into the establishment…most won’t even question you based on your child’s age, especially if it’s a toddler or preschooler. If you’re feeling like you’re breaking the law, just ask and make sure it’s okay. Chances are they’ll accommodate you.
Picky Eater Rule Number 3: Always Check Kids Eat Free Specials.
If all else fails, I can always pull up my free Out to Eat With Kids App to see local kid’s eat free specials. At least if I’m not paying for it, it feels a little less painful if she doesn’t really eat her food. Granted, I’ll feel guilty about the wasted food, but at least my money won’t be self-combusting in front of my face.
How do you save money with your picky eaters? Are your picky eaters driving you batty?
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