Because you aren't a short-order cook.

By Real Simple
Updated April 28, 2015
JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Many children go through some unpleasant phases—and one of the most frustrating is the picky eating phase. We asked our Facebook audience to share their stories: children who avoid sauces at all costs, children who exclusively eat mac and cheese, children who (of course!) won't touch anything that's green. So how do you make sure they're getting nutrients and not go crazy cooking multiple meals a night to satisfy everyone's dietary habits?

On this week's "Things Cooks Know," hosts Sarah Humphreys and Sarah Karnasiewicz brought in an expert—Katie Workman, author of the Mom 100 cookbook and the upcoming cookbook, Dinner Solved. She shared some easy ways to get your kids to branch out from pasta and grilled cheese, and restore your sanity.

1. Let them pick the recipes. Ask them to go through a cookbook and flag a few recipes they'd be willing to try. By allowing them to be part of the process, you may find they are more willing to open their minds to a new meal.

2. Bring in the big kids. There's something about the older cousin or friend that makes kids behave—they want to impress them and mimic their every move. When they see the big kids eating the vegetables and sauces, they'll succumb to a little positive peer pressure.

3. Push the limits of their favorite foods. If they love grilled cheese, try working in new cheeses or ingredients slowly to show them different flavors they actually like. Ask them to smell the spices in the spice drawer, and choose their favorite to add to their snack. Slowly, they'll realize there are more foods in the world that they enjoy.

4. Look away. Ask them to try a sauce or a side dish, and then look away. Kids can sense you watching them and wanting them to try a new food. "The more a kid sort of 'smells your fear'... they're going to push back," says Workman.

For more advice and foods you can introduce into dinnertime, listen to the episode below and don't forget to subscribe on iTunes!