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healthy meals for picky eaters

7 Tips on How to Make Healthy Meals for Picky Eaters

If you are like most parents, you want your kids to eat healthy meals, but it can be a challenge to get them to eat anything other than chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. It can be frustrating when you spend time preparing a healthy meal only to see your kids turn their noses up at it. This article will discuss some tips on how to make healthy meals for picky eaters with ease.

Why Are Kids Picky Eaters?

Kids are picky eaters for various reasons. They may be going through a phase where they are rejecting new foods, or they may have a genuine aversion to certain textures or flavors. Some kids are simply more adventurous than others when it comes to trying new things. Whatever the reason for their pickiness, there are ways that you can encourage them to try new foods and develop healthy eating habits.

Parents need to extend their patience when it comes to letting their kids eat healthy foods. Sure, picky eaters are challenging to deal with. However, with a little bit of creativity, you can make healthy meals for picky eaters that are both nutritious and delicious.

Here are some tips on how to get your kids to eat healthily:

Serve Familiar Foods Alongside New Ones

If your child is hesitant to try new food, pair it with something they already know and like. This will help them feel more comfortable trying the new food.

For example, if you’re introducing your child to quinoa, serve it with some honey garlic chicken thighs, and their favorite vegetables. You can guarantee that your picky eater will start eating healthy foods!

Use Fun Plates And Utensils

Make mealtime more fun by using plates and utensils that are colorful and exciting. This will make your child want to eat their food, even if they’re unfamiliar with it.

You can also let your child help you pick out the plates and utensils they want to use. This will make them feel more invested in the meal.

Cut Food Into Small Pieces

preparing healthy meals for picky eaters

If your child is resistant to trying new foods, cut them into small pieces so that they don’t have to commit to eating a whole lot of them. Smaller pieces are also easier for kids to chew and swallow. You can also try dipping the food into sauces or dressings to make it more palatable.

Serve With A Favorite Food

If you’re trying to get your child to eat new food, serve it alongside their favorite food. This will make them more likely to try it.

You can also try incorporating the new food into their favorite dish. For example, if they love mac and cheese, you can add some steamed broccoli. You can also mix vegetables with baked cornflake chicken tenders to make them more appetizing.

Get Creative With The Presentation

Make the meal more fun and appealing by getting creative with the presentation. Try using cookie cutters to cut sandwiches or fruits and vegetables into fun shapes. You can also arrange the food on the plate in a visually appealing way. This will make it easier for a picky eater to eat healthy foods.

Make It A Fun Game

Turn mealtime into a fun game by challenging your child to eat a certain number of bites or trying to see how long it takes them to eat their meal.

You can also turn it into a scavenger hunt and have them find all the green foods on their plate. You can mix ingredients like ground beef or other foods that picky eaters prefer. For instance, sweet potato, chicken nuggets, and hotdogs are usually a hit with kids.

Get Them Involved In Meal Planning

mom and dad preparing healthy meals for their picky eater kid

You can also get your kids involved in meal planning. This way, they will be more likely to eat the foods they have helped to prepare.

Have them help you wash the vegetables, stir the soup, or set the table. Let them choose what fruits and vegetables they would like for snacks or meals.

You can also plan healthy recipes or healthy dinner ideas together. You can serve foods such as oven-roasted vegetables, healthy sandwiches, and tortilla soups. We’ll share more meal ideas later below, so stay tuned!

Healthy family meals for picky eaters are effective in persuading fussy eaters to eat healthy meals. At best, avoid separate meals for kids and have them eat healthy family meals together. Healthy dinner ideas will spice up their day! Therefore, parents should plan healthy dinner ideas at least twice or thrice a week at first and then make it a daily thing later on.

Pack A Healthy Lunch

If your child is picky about what they eat at school, pack them a healthy lunch that you know they will enjoy. This way, you can control what goes into their lunchbox and ensure that they are eating healthy foods.

Some good lunch ideas for picky eaters include:

  • PB&J sandwich
  • Turkey or Ham and cheese sandwich
  • Veggie wrap with tofu, stuffed peppers, cheese, and others
  • Chicken salad wrap
  • Fruit cups
  • Veggie sticks with dip
  • Super delicious veggie tacos
  • Vegan blue cheese

Offer Choices

If you’re having trouble getting your child to eat what you’ve made, try offering them choices. This will make them feel more in control and more likely to try the food.

You can offer two or three different options for each food group. For example, for protein, you could offer baked cornflake chicken tenders, tofu, or beans; for vegetables, you could offer broccoli, honey roasted carrots, or celery; for fruit, you could offer apples, bananas, or oranges; for grains, you could offer whole wheat bread, brown rice, or quinoa.

It can be difficult to get your child to try new things, but it’s important not to give up. Keep offering them healthy options, and eventually, they’ll come around. It may take some time, but it will be worth it. Picky eaters can change, and you can help them on their journey to eating healthily!

Examples Of Fun And Healthy Recipes For Picky Eaters

creative way to prepare healthy meals for picky eaters

To help picky eaters eat foods that are healthy, the key is to make it fun! Try these recipes that are both healthy and delicious:

Veggie Pizza

This is a great way to sneak in some veggies. Just top a whole wheat crust with tomato sauce, cheese, and your child’s favorite vegetables.

Fruit Kabobs

Kids love food on sticks! Cut up some fruit and put it on skewers. You can even dip it in yogurt or honey for extra flavor.

Mini Quiches

These are perfect for on the go! Just put some eggs, cheese, and veggies in a muffin tin and bake. Your kids will love them!

Chicken Fingers

This is a classic kid favorite. But instead of frying them, try baking them! Just coat chicken breasts in some egg and breadcrumbs, and bake at 400 degrees until golden brown.

High-fiber Snacks with a Twist

Picky eaters will most likely avoid fruits as much as vegetables. Therefore, try to sneak them in! A great way to do this is by making smoothies or adding them into yogurt. You can also cut them up and put them on skewers with some dip. Some ideas for dips include chocolate, peanut butter, or caramel.

Muffins

You can pretty much put anything in a muffin and your kids will love it. Get creative with the ingredients, but some of our favorites include zucchini bread, banana chocolate chip, and pumpkin spice. You can even make them savory by adding in some cheese and bacon. Whatever you do, just make sure to add lots of flavors!

Delicious and Healthy Chips

Chips are usually a no-no when it comes to eating healthily, but these kale chips are different. They’re crispy, full of flavor, and good for you! You can make them in the oven or even in the dehydrator if you have one.

Homemade Popsicles

These are a great summer treat and a healthier alternative to store-bought popsicles. You can use any fruit or juice you want, but our favorites include watermelon, mango, and strawberry. Just blend everything up and pour it into popsicle molds. Then let them freeze overnight and enjoy the next day!

Veggie Bake

mom and daughter mixing a bowl of salad together

This is a great way to sneak some vegetables into your picky eater’s diet. Just mix together some veggies, cheese, and breadcrumbs. Then bake it in the oven until it’s golden brown and crispy. You can also add creamy sauces like pasta sauce if you like.

Fruit Pizza

This is a fun and healthy twist on regular pizza. Simply use a pre-made sugar cookie dough for the crust. Spread on some yogurt or cream cheese for the “sauce,” then add your favorite fruits for toppings. We like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and kiwi. You can also add chocolate chips or other toppings you like!

Now, let us categorize meals and see what recipes we can try

Healthy Breakfast Meals

toddler holding a piece of strawberry

Some healthy breakfast meals include:

Omelets

Omelets are a fun traditional breakfast food that you can make healthy by adding different veggies. We can add mushrooms, onions, peppers, and spinach. You can also add some cheese if you like.

Healthy Pancakes

Pancakes are usually a breakfast favorite, but they can be unhealthy because of sugar and carbs. However, you can make healthy pancakes by using whole wheat flour and adding in some protein powder. You can also add in fruits or nuts for extra flavor and nutrition.

Healthy Waffles

Waffles are another breakfast favorite that can be made healthier by using whole wheat flour and adding protein powder. You may also want to add in some fruit or nuts for extra flavor and nutrition.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a great breakfast food because it’s hearty and filling. You can dress it up however you like with toppings such as fruits, nuts, and seeds. You can also add in some protein powder to make it more filling.

Smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to get kids to eat fruits and vegetables. You can blend up any combination of fruits and veggies that you like. Add in some yogurt or milk for extra protein and calcium.

Healthy Lunch Meals

mom and toddler preparing healthy meals

Some healthy lunch meals include:

Sandwiches

Sandwiches are an all-time favorite. However, how can you make a sandwich healthier for a picky eater?

  • Use whole-wheat bread.
  • Add in some vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots.
  • Choose lean meats such as turkey or chicken.
  • Use low-fat cheese or avocado instead of mayonnaise.

Soup

Soup is another great option for lunch. You can make a big batch on the weekend and then have it ready to go during the week. Just heat it up and add some crackers or bread on the side.

Chili

Chili is a filling and hearty meal that can be made ahead of time and frozen. When you’re ready to eat, just thaw it out and add some toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, or diced avocado.

Macaroni and Cheese

Even picky eaters love macaroni and cheese! Make a healthy version by using whole-wheat pasta and low-fat cheese. You can also add in some vegetables such as spinach or broccoli.

Pizza

Who doesn’t love pizza? Make your own healthy version by topping a whole-wheat crust with tomato sauce, veggies, and low-fat cheese. Or try a white pizza with garlic and olive oil instead of red sauce.

Chicken Nuggets

Skip the fast-food version and make your own crispiest chicken nuggets at home. Coat chicken breasts in a mixture of whole-wheat flour, spices, and egg. Bake in the oven until golden brown. Serve with a dipping sauce such as honey mustard or BBQ sauce.

Fish Sticks

Fish sticks are another kid-friendly favorite. Look for brands that use whole-wheat breading or make your own by coating fish fillets in whole-wheat flour before frying. Serve with tartar sauce or ketchup on the side.

Vegetable Soup

Soup is a great way to sneak in some extra veggies. Puree vegetables such as carrots, celery, tomatoes, and potatoes, then add some chicken or beef broth for flavor. Top with shredded cheese and serve with whole-wheat rolls on the side.

Pizza Rolls

Kids love pizza, so why not give them a healthier version in roll form? Purchase whole-wheat pizza dough, then top with tomato sauce, veggies, and low-fat mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven until golden brown, and let your kids enjoy their favorite food without all the guilt.

Healthy Snacks

mom feeding son with fruits

You can also make healthy snacks such as:

Homemade trail mix

Homemade trail mix is a great way to get your kids to eat healthily. Simply mix together some nuts, dried fruit, and whole-wheat cereal, then put it in a baggie for them to take on the go.

Veggie straws

Another great snack option are veggie straws. These are made with real vegetables and provide a good source of vitamins and minerals.

Yogurt with fruit

Yogurt is a great snack for kids because it is packed with calcium and protein. Add some fresh fruit to yogurt to make it even healthier.

Whole-grain pretzels with peanut butter

Another good snack option for a fussy eater is whole-grain pretzels with peanut butter. The whole-grain provides fiber and the peanut butter gives a good source of protein.

Healthy Dinner Meals

Below are healthy dinner meals that your picky eater will love:

Mac and Cheese with Broccoli

toddler eating broccoli

This is a classic favorite that you can easily make healthier by adding broccoli. The broccoli will add vitamins, minerals, and fiber to the meal.

Cheeseburger Sliders on a Whole-Wheat Bun

These sliders are a fun way to eat a healthy burger. Make sure to use lean ground beef and whole-wheat buns to make them healthier.

Chicken Nuggets with Sweet Potato Fries

This is another classic favorite that can be made healthier by using sweet potato fries instead of regular french fries. The sweet potato fries will add vitamins, minerals, and fiber to the meal.

Fish Sticks with Roasted Vegetables

This is a healthy and easy meal to make. The roasted vegetables will add vitamins, minerals, and fiber to the meal.

Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

This is a healthy twist on a classic favorite. The turkey meatballs will add protein to the meal, and the spaghetti sauce will add vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

These are just some ideas for healthy meals for picky eaters. With a little creativity, you can make any meal healthier for your kids. Just remember to include lean protein, healthy fats, complex carbs, and plenty of veggies!

What Are The Benefits Of Eating Healthily For Kids?

healthy burger for a picky eater

There are many benefits of eating healthily for kids. Some of the benefits include:

  • Improved overall health
  • Increased energy levels
  • Better concentration and focus
  • Improved moods and behavior
  • Lower risk of developing obesity or other chronic health conditions

So, if you’re looking for ways to get your kids to eat healthily, try some of these ideas! With a little effort, you can make healthy meals that your kids will love. And, who knows, your picky eater might even start to develop healthier eating habits that will last a lifetime!

Conclusion

As parents, it is our responsibility to ensure that our children eat healthy meals. With a little effort, we can make healthy meals that are both delicious and nutritious. Our children deserve the best start in life, and that starts with a healthy diet!

Therefore, parents must always look for new and creative ways to get their kids to eat healthy meals. This will guarantee that our kids grow up to be healthy and happy adults!

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