Pleasing a picky eater—or trying to

Bubby is a picky eater. The pickiest, finicky-est little eater I've ever met. That fact has been on my mind lately as I consider the places we'll visit, the activities we'll do, and the food we'll eat when Bubby and Baby Mac stay at Gramma's house in a couple weeks.

I can come up with places to visit. I have no problem figuring out activities to do. Food, though? Well, that's a whole other realm, one in which I'm not as savvy as I thought I might be.

When I visited Bubby and Baby Mac a few months ago, Megan gave me free reign to come up with the meals on my own, with no dictation from her. She did, though, offer a few chuckles when I told her my menu plans. "Well, if you can get him to eat any of that, I'll be the first asking for the recipe," she said in a knowing tone.

I wasn't offering up weird things. In fact, I thought I'd chosen far more kid-friendly fare than what health-conscious Megan typically offers.

Bubby still hated most of it.

My hot dog loving grandson balked at the pigs in the blanket, tearing off every bit of bread while saying, "I only like my hot dogs plain, Gramma." Bubby also loves ham and cheese sandwiches as well as grilled cheese sandwiches. So I figured we'd have grilled ham and cheese for one dinner, to which he very quickly and very adamantly made it clear he does not love grilled cheese sandwiches anymore. "I only like ham, cheese, mayo on white and not grilled," he let me know.

Considering such complaints, I immediately altered my plans for most meals with Bubby. There were a few things, though, did work, were eaten, were enjoyed. Here's are the minor successes I had and the things I'm considering serving again when Bubby visits this month.

Fish soft tacos. Not what you'd imagine a finicky kid eating. Because Bubby loves fish sticks, though, it was simple enough to bake up some fish sticks, throw a few on a tortilla with some shredded cheddar and cubed avocado and viola! Fish tacos. Sure, tomatoes and lettuce would have been nice, but although Bubby loves avocado, he doesn't care for lettuce or tomatoes. Go figure. At least he ate a couple tacos his way. Success!

Triple P kebobs. What? you may ask. Well, Bubby does like pork and pineapple and peppers. And alphabet activities. So I threw the three foods starting with P on a skewer and broiled them. Then I scooted them off the skewer for Bubby to eat. Turns out he no longer likes pineapple but he does like pork and peppers. (See what I mean? Odd child likes peppers over pineapple.) Sort of success...which was good enough for me.

Grape skewers. Continuing the skewer theme, I'd pinned on Pinterest an idea for putting grapes on skewers and freezing them for a frosty and nutritious snack. We packed them for a picnic in the park. They were a perfect complement to the peanut butter sandwiches (no jelly; crusts cut off!) we also packed. Success again!

Colored pasta. Megan eschews anything with carbs, so Bubby rarely gets pasta. I was pretty sure he'd like to give it a shot—the kid did once upon a time like mac and cheese—and there'd be no denying the allure of colored noodles like ones I'd seen on Pinterest. So I boiled up some rotini, drained and splashed with a bit of EVOO, divided it between baggies, squirted a different food coloring into each baggie, squished the noodles around until fairly evenly coated, then returned all bags to one happy and colorful pot. Success! Bubby liked it, he really liked it. Because he liked it, those colored carbs were served as a side for more than one a lunch. (Though that's one recipe I'm pretty sure Megan hasn't repeated since I left, considering the whole carb thing and all.)

My other culinary successes with Bubby had to do with snacks. He's not quite as picky when it comes to those, so my regular ol' Muddy Buddies recipe was well received. And eaten. Believe me, with cereal as its base, I considered serving up a cup of Muddy Buddies for breakfast. I didn't, though. I promise.

The other sweet treat Bubby (and Mom and Dad) loved? Confetti popcorn! This stuff is so good, my friends. So good that after seeing how simple it is to make and how quickly Megan and Preston Bubby ate it up, I made a batch when I got home. Jim and Brianna ate it just as quickly as the desert dwellers.

I found the recipe on Pinterest and it goes, pretty much, like this: Pop enough popcorn to make about nine cups or so. Add salt if you want, and set the popcorn aside in a BIG bowl. Melt six ounces of white candy coating, such as the blocks you get in the baking aisle, or you can use white chocolate chips. Once melted, pour over the popcorn and stir carefully and quickly to coat popcorn evenly. Once coated, sprinkle confetti/candy topping (for cookies and such) on the popcorn. Then spread popcorn out on waxed paper to dry, adding a little extra confetti if desired. Eat once dried...or while drying, if you can't resist. Yum! Success!

Other than repeating those things, I'm still considering what to make for Bubby while he's here. Megan and I have tried pretty much every kid-friendly food you can imagine plus several non-kid-friendly for good measure. But if you have a secret dish or delight you found works with the pickiest of the picky, I'd love to hear it. I'm hoping to get a few more successful meals under my belt this time around.

Today's question:

Got picky eaters? Got picky-eater pointers? Do share!