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How to help a picky eater plan dinners while at the studio.


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My DD got accepted in our schools pre professional company for 2017-2018. I am concerned with her diet. She is very picky. As a baby and toddler, the doctor called it texture sensitive. She lived on mac and cheese, spaghetti ohs, pizza and chicken nuggets through elementary school. She is a bit better about trying new things, like Ceasars salads this year. She does not eat peanut butter, and will eat a fresh made turkey and cheese, but if the cheese gets warm in any way, forget it. I understand some people might think she is spoiled, but it has been like this her entire life. Anyway, how can I make sure she eats healthy meals while at the studio from 4pm until 9pm some nights other than bringing them myself? I have seen many slender girls get a bit chunky after stress eating between classes...fast food and such.

Any advice for this newbie?

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Have her plan her meals and look at what types of foods are missing and talk about options with her.  It's helpful for her to prepare it her self.  Social eating does help with 'picky eaters' and you may find that she starts to eat a slightly more varied diet over the years as she spends more time eating with others at the studio. 

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The best option is to bring it herself. She will know that she has foods that she likes, not to mention the fact that 1) it will likely be healthier, and 2) it will save money. My DD usually brings her own food when she will be at the studio for long periods (and she is not a picky eater at all).

Other than that, pay a visit to the place(s) where she would be likely to grab a bite and go over her options with her. Can she find something there that she likes that is reasonably healthy? Even a 7-Eleven can offer a variety of decent foods if you know what to look for. 

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DD will be 13 in a couple of weeks so I hope it's OK for me to dip my toes in here. She became a pescatarian about 6-8 months ago, and we've had to experiment with her diet, especially protein sources so that she 1) gets enough nutrition and 2) doesn't fill in any satisfaction gaps in her meals with filler carbs.

I echo what has been said about letting her pack for herself. Invest in some good equipment (cooling packs, a travel utensil kit, effective and stylish food storage containers) and plan out some meals you'd both find acceptable and strategize how you'll pack them to keep them in the condition/temperature she likes.

Also, if you're looking to get some new foods into the rotation, maybe get a cookbook and see if there is anything she is willing to give a try to. We had success with a green lentil recipe and a vegetable "noodle" recipe from Misty Copeland's new book. I couldn't convince her to give lentils a try, but apparently Ms, Copeland could....

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My picky eater developed a more varied diet at summer intensive in the dorm.  When there is only one place to eat and you watch what the other kids are eating, they are more open to trying new things.  Also they realize that maybe the self serve yogurt bar is not a substitute for dinner or healthy every night.

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I agree with the idea of getting her involved in the choices, if you are not already. I have a very picky son so I get it. 

I suggest sitting down with her and comping as extensive of a list of potential dinner/snack foods as possible. Put these food items into rotation with the understanding that if she is going to accept this new training option, she will be required to eat the foods that she has chosen....if the cheese gets warm too bad. If she is old enough to take on the increased training then she is old enough to manage with less than perfect meals. 

I say this with the expectation that you will do all that you can to ensure her cheese is cold :-) ice packs are helpful.

At the end of each week (or daily) talk about what worked and what didn't. If she is bothered by consistently warm cheese then find a different sandwich that she is willing to try. If sandwiches are just not working, leftover dinner from the family meal the night before in a thermos can be easy. Also don't forget complex snacks,,,hummus and veggies with olives and pita bread, yogurt and fruit, apples and almond butter, mixed nuts and dried fruit....could be enough to carry her through until she gets home for a meal. 



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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks Everyone! She is away for the summer living with a house mom and 9 other dancers with a very scheduled and restrictive diet. I am hoping this helps us transition more as well. I love the idea of reminding her about being old enough for the responsibility of company, then responsible for her diet as well! Also, the equipment. I will let her pick some. She gets excited about gadgets and fashion.

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