The holiday season is a time for gathering, celebrating, and indulging in delicious meals. However, if you’re hosting picky eaters, preparing a holiday feast can become a daunting task. Fear not – with a bit of creativity and thoughtful planning, you can create holiday meals that even the pickiest eaters will enjoy.

1. Customize the Side Dishes:

One of the easiest ways to accommodate picky eaters is by customizing side dishes. For example, if mashed potatoes are a must-have, set up a “potato bar” with various toppings like butter, sour cream, cheese, and bacon bits. This way, each person can create their own personalized dish, making everyone happy.

2. Serve a Build-Your-Own Taco Bar:

Tacos are a universally loved food, and a build-your-own taco bar is a fantastic way to cater to picky eaters. Provide a variety of proteins, such as seasoned ground beef, shredded chicken, and beans. Include an array of toppings like lettuce, cheese, salsa, and guacamole, allowing each person to assemble their tacos to their liking.

3. Incorporate Finger Foods:

Picky eaters often enjoy the simplicity of finger foods. Consider serving a spread of bite-sized appetizers and snacks. Options like sliders, chicken tenders, mini quiches, and cheese platters can be both delicious and appealing. This approach not only accommodates different tastes but also encourages a casual and social dining experience.

4. Create a Pasta Station:

Pasta is a versatile and crowd-pleasing option. Set up a pasta station with different types of pasta, sauces, and toppings. Include classics like marinara and Alfredo, as well as options for those who prefer a simpler butter and Parmesan combination. Add a variety of proteins and vegetables to suit different preferences.

5. Offer a Variety of Proteins:

Not everyone loves turkey or ham, so providing a variety of protein options is key. Roasted chicken, beef tenderloin, or even a vegetarian main dish can cater to different tastes. This way, picky eaters can choose a protein they enjoy without feeling limited by the main course.

6. Make a DIY Pizza Night:

Tap into the universally loved appeal of pizza by hosting a DIY pizza night. Provide pre-made pizza crusts or dough, along with a selection of sauces, cheeses, and toppings. This interactive meal allows picky eaters to customize their pizzas, ensuring that everyone gets a meal they’ll enjoy.

7. Hidden Veggie Recipes:

For those who are picky about vegetables, consider incorporating hidden veggies into dishes. For example, blend vegetables into pasta sauces, soups, or casseroles. This way, you can sneak in some nutrition without compromising on flavor, and picky eaters may not even notice the added veggies.

8. Dessert Bar Extravaganza:

End the meal on a sweet note by setting up a dessert bar. Include a variety of treats such as cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and fruit. This way, even the pickiest eaters can find something they love. Consider adding a DIY sundae station with different ice cream flavors and toppings for a fun and customizable dessert experience.

9. Communicate and Plan Ahead:

Before the holiday gathering, communicate with your guests to understand their dietary preferences and restrictions. Knowing in advance what individuals enjoy or avoid can help you plan a menu that caters to everyone. This proactive approach ensures that your efforts in the kitchen are well-received.

10. Keep it Lighthearted:

Remember, the holidays are a time to enjoy each other’s company. Keep the atmosphere lighthearted and relaxed, and don’t stress too much about pleasing every palate. Encourage guests to try a bit of everything, and foster an environment where everyone can appreciate the effort put into the meal.

With a thoughtful and inclusive approach, you can create holiday meals that satisfy even the pickiest eaters. By offering a variety of options and embracing customization, you’ll ensure that everyone around your holiday table can enjoy a delicious and festive feast.