Getting your picky eater to eat a nutritious meal can feel like a constant battle. If you’re always trying to push your little one to try new foods and eat their vegetables, they may start to resent mealtime. Ease up a little and focus on increasing nutrition in some of their favorite meals. Add cauliflower to macaroni and cheese or give them a yummy yogurt to dip fruit in and you may find your picky eater, actually enjoying food that is good for them. Here are some nutritious ideas below for your picky eater kids.
Breakfast for dinner
If you need picky eaters help, look no further than breakfast. For whatever reason kids love breakfast. If your picky eater has been refusing your dinner menu lately, try cooking breakfast for dinner. The beauty of this meal is that you don’t need to think about it too much either. There’s no big grocery list required or meal prep. You can scramble some eggs with cheese and sprinkle some finely chopped vegetables into them to sneak in some more nutrition. Eggs are a great source of protein and most kids gobble them up. Pancakes are another great place to sneak in nutrition. You can mix blueberries or bananas into the batter for a fun twist. You can also sprinkle in some baby oatmeal or finely cut oats. Add their favorite fruit to the side or some turkey bacon and you have a nutritious meal including all of the food groups.
Make your own pizza
What kid doesn’t love pizza? If your picky eater will only eat cheese, try offering them a make your own pizza night. You can cut up some meats and vegetables and place them in small bowls on the counter. When your little one gets to sprinkle all of the different toppings on, they may be more inclined to eat them. They might even sample some as they are cooking. If you’re really feeling adventurous, use a cauliflower crust. Grate some cauliflower into a small bowl and sprinkle it on the top as well. They will think it’s parmesan cheese and you get them to eat some vegetables.
Make your own taco night
Tacos are really kid-friendly. They are great for even the pickiest of eaters as well. With a make your own taco night, you can prepare two different proteins such as ground beef and chicken, and combine those with some veggies and cheese. Place everything in small bowls on the counter and let your little one pick what they’d like. For smaller kiddos, you can serve everything deconstructed on their plate. They can pick what they want and eat the tortilla by itself. Scoop some cheese and sour cream on there for some added calcium. You may even get them to scoop on some mild salsa or avocado.
Macaroni and cheese
Macaroni and cheese is a classic kid staple. Unfortunately, it’s also not so healthy comfort food. The processed version with the powdered cheese in a box isn’t always a healthy choice. Sometimes, however, it’s all a picky eater will eat. To pack in some nutrition, try making your own. Choose a simple recipe with just noodles, milk, butter, and cheese. You can feel a little better about serving it since you’re using real milk and cheese. To sneak in some more nutrients, you can shave some cauliflower rice into the cheese mixture. Since it’s white and mild in flavor they won’t even notice it’s in there. If your little one likes turkey, ham or bacon, try mixing some in for protein.
Penne with meatballs
Penne is easy to eat food for even the littlest eater. When you combine it with a rich red sauce and meatballs, your little one won’t even realize the extra nutrients built-in. If you’re using a pre-made pasta sauce, you can finely chop some vegetables into a saucepan and sneak them into the sauce. With your meatballs, you can use some fresh herbs and choose turkey for a lean protein. Grate some cauliflower over the top like parmesan and you’ve added a vegetable without them noticing.
Fruit with a yogurt dipping sauce
Kids love a dip. You’d be surprised what they will eat if you let them dip it in something. If your child needs more fruit in their diet, cut up a variety of their favorites. Let them choose which ones they want to eat and offer them some yogurt to dip them into.
A fruit pizza is another fun way to get your picky eaters to eat some fruit. You start with a flaky pastry crust. Once that is baked and cooled, you spread some cream cheese over the top. From there, chop up some of your favorite fruits and place them on like pizza toppings. Have your kids help you make it so they feel excited to try it. Fruit pizza is a great snack or dessert. You won’t feel guilty giving your kids fruit pizza for dessert every night.
Smoothies are a great place to sneak in nutrition. They taste good and there’s something about using a straw that makes kids excited to drink them. Use kid-friendly ingredients such as bananas, strawberries, milk, and yogurt to start. From there, you can add avocado, peanut butter, and even spinach without your kids realizing. This is also a good place to add some oats, chia seeds, or flax seeds. Kids won’t know they are in there and you’ll rest easier knowing they just took down a day’s worth of vitamins and minerals. Letting your kids help with the smoothies is also fun. They will love picking out the fruit and pushing the button on the blender. The more you include your little one at mealtime the better. They will feel like they are apart of the process and will love the focused time with you.