If you're like many modern parents, you enjoy taking the family out for meals on occasion. However, few things ruin a family dinner on the town faster than a stubborn, picky eater sitting through the entire meal complaining and refusing to eat. Some parents find themselves completely giving up rather than going through the grueling ordeal of trying to coax a picky eater to enjoy a meal in a public place and instead eat all of their meals at home, but most people aren't going to allow their lives to revolve around one picky family member to that great of an extent.
Fortunately, there are ways that you minimize the unpleasantness of dining out with a picky eater in tow. Following are three of them.
Don't Force Your Child to Eat Certain Foods
Forcing a young child to eat certain foods is a sure recipe for installing a lifetime of dislike for those foods. Don't ask your child to be adventurous when you go out to a restaurant — the object is to enjoy a meal together and not have a power struggle over food. Keep in mind that children have stronger taste buds than adults, and certain flavors simply taste awful to them. Most family-friendly restaurants have grilled cheese sandwiches or chicken nuggets on the menu, and few children object to these.
Don't Negotiate With Your Child Over Food
Parents of picky eaters are all too familiar with negotiating with their children over food, such as telling the child that if he or she eats a certain number of bites of a certain dish, a yummy dessert will follow. Even though this actually works sometimes, give yourself and your child a break from it when you're in a restaurant. You'll eliminate the tension caused by this type of interaction, and everyone will have a better time as a result.
Choose Appropriate Restaurants
If you're the type who loves going to restaurants as a culinary adventure, save that for date night with your spouse. When you go out to enjoy a meal as a family, choose a restaurant that will have something for everyone. Remember that a family night out should be an enjoyable experience and not a power struggle over food.
One of the best ways to include everyone's personal tastes and preferences when going out for a meal is to choose a pizza place where they allow you to customize your own pizza. Your picky eater's palette will be happy along with the rest of the family's, and you'll enjoy a fun meal together as a family instead of an evening of public arguments. For more information, talk to restaurants like Scittino's Italian Market Place.