10 Healthy Recipes For Picky Eaters
Discover easy and healthy recipes for picky eaters as well as some parenting tips for those with picky eaters. This article is part of a guest post from Cora Gold from Revivalist.
Kids are notorious for being picky eaters. They may be sensitive to certain foods’ tastes, smells or textures. These eating habits may worsen if parents punish or push a child to eat things they do not want to. Your goal should be to introduce items they are likely to resist in a more approachable way.
Here at Healthy Family Project, we have been dealing with picky eaters for years. So, before we get into this 10 fun recipes, I wanted to share some additional resources:
- Picky Eating – When To Relax
- Journey of a Picky Eater Podcast
- Dealing with Picky Eaters Podcast – with a RD
- 5 Ways To Please Picky Eaters
- New Ways To Use Fruits and Vegetables Podcast
Here are 10 fun recipes to introduce picky kids to healthy foods.
Starting your child’s day off with a nutritious breakfast is essential. To get your kids more excited, you can serve the meal in a fun way.
1. American Flag Toast
Kids love anything visually appealing. They may be more inclined to try this fun form of toast. Here is how to make American Flag Toast:
- Toast your bread of choice. We love whole grain/whole wheat bread.
- Spread cream cheese or peanut butter as a base.
- Place 3-by-3 rows of blueberries in the top left corner as stars.
- Line strawberries and banana slices as the stripes of the flag.
2. Carrot Cake Pancake
Most children love hearing they’ll get pancakes for breakfast. This carrot version is a great way to get those orange veggies in your children. Carrots are a great source of vitamin A, and incorporating them into a pancake is a delicious and nutritious start to the day. All you need to make them is 1 cup whole wheat flour, one grated carrot, one egg, 1/2 cup of milk, ½ teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract.
- Mix all ingredients until smooth
- Pour on a hot pan and cook for two minutes on each side
- Serve with honey or nut butter
If you love trying fun versions of pancakes, try our Apple Upside Down Pancake Skillet too!
3. Hidden Fruit & Veggie Chocolate Smoothie
One great way to sneak in healthy foods is with smoothies. You may think that a chocolate smoothie is not the best for you or your child, but this one is packed with fruit and can even include veggies. Need some more tips on creating healthy smoothies, grab this Build A Better Smoothie Printable. Smoothies are a great way to get in nutrients while allowing them to enjoy the delicious taste of chocolate. All you need for this smoothie is:
- 2 frozen ripe bananas
- ⅓ cup frozen strawberries or blueberries
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- Dash of agave nectar
- ⅓ cup ice
- 1 handful of spinach
Combine and blend until smooth. You can use additional cocoa powder if you want more chocolate taste.
Finding a lunch your child will enjoy is important since they will likely take them to school and eat them on their own. Here are some nutritious ideas for on the go
4. Spinach and Cheese Quesadillas
This is a simple and delicious quesadilla recipe you can put together in five minutes. All you need is:
- 2 whole wheat tortillas
- 2 cups shredded cheese
- 2 cups baby spinach
Combine in a pan and cook for two minutes on each side, and there you have it. Include guacamole on the side of this dish for another nutritious add-on. It’s made with avocados, which are packed with healthy fats, fiber and vitamins.
We also love this Sweetpotato and Black Bean Quesadilla. And if you are looking for something sweet, try these Spiced Apple Quesadillas.
5. Veggie Meatballs
This is another excellent way to sneak in some extra veggies. Try these Veggie Turkey Meatballs or these Greek Meatballs. Both are a delicious way to add some protein and veggies to your meal.
6. Ham and Cheese Wraps
Add a little extra protein to your kid’s lunch. Ham and cheese wraps are easy and look fun, as well. Place ingredients on whole wheat flour tortillas and simply roll them together. You can spread hummus for some extra healthy fats and keep them satiated longer. Cutting the wrap into bite-sized pieces will give them a pinwheel look they will surely love.
After a long day of school and activities, you can refuel your kids with these fun dinner ideas.
7. Shredded Chicken Tacos
Tacos are always fun to get protein and veggies into your child’s diet. All you need is some cooked chicken breast and flour or corn tortillas for a base. Find healthy toppings for your kids to choose from to make their own. Maybe they like adding shredded lettuce, peppers or cheddar cheese. You can squeeze some lime on them for an extra tangy taste.
8. Margherita Pizza
What kid doesn’t love having pizza for dinner? Making your pizza at home allows you to add some extra nutritious veggies. You can use premade dough to make this a more effortless and less time-consuming process. The rest of the ingredients include:
- Marinara pizza sauce
- Finely minced garlic
- Fresh basil leaves
- Plum tomatoes
- Mozzarella cheese
Pizza is a fantastic way to get your little one to try new things, such as tomatoes. A fun bonus is arranging the slices to create faces. Need more pizzas ideas? Try this Easy Vegetarian Naan.
9. Baked Healthy Chicken Nuggets
We all know kids love chicken nuggets, but there is a way to make them more nutritious. Grab our homemade healthy chicken nuggets recipe.
Your child will want a sweet treat at the end of the day. Here is a healthy dessert idea they’ll love.
10. Strawberry Yogurt Bites
This is the perfect healthy sweet treat for your kids. All you need is:
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Maple syrup or honey
- Vanilla extract
- Sliced fruit
- Mini chocolate chips and/or nuts
Full instructions are here. This is an easy dessert your kids will love.
Make Food Fun
Your kids will be more inclined to eat healthy foods if they look fun and taste great. Try these recipes to turn your picky eater into a budding connoisseur.
As someone who works with kids and is now a grown picky eater, my 3 biggest pieces of advice would be to
1. Figure out what about food your kid doesn’t like. If they don’t like new textures, find ways to add what they don’t like but in a way that it’s in a different texture (e.g. dried tomatoes instead of fresh, cooked carrots instead of raw, etc).
2. Make an agreement with them that they have to eat 2-3 spoonfulls of eitehr something new or something they don’t like every day. They have to try a food at least 40 times before they say they don’t like it (because it often takes up to 40 times times for them to get used to the taste and texture; it rarely took me 40 tries to start being okay with a new food). If after 40 tries they still don’t like it, they don’t have to eat it ever again (everyone’s entitled to food they don’t like, after all).
3. Find ways to sneak healthy foods into a recipe (e.g. use cauliflower to thicken soup instead of flour, put butternut squash in the mac and cheese sauce, etc.)
Thank you so much for these tips Alice! I especially love #2…try something new…even if it’s a little bite and try it more than once 🙂