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It’s always a struggle when your kids are fussy eaters and only seem to want certain foods.
The question, “what do you want for dinner?” is often met with a response of “chicken nuggets” or “pizza” and you start to worry about the health implications of eating such foods.
It can be even more difficult in restaurants when they claim not to like anything on the menu.
Obviously, everyone wants their kids to be healthy, but it can be so difficult trying to get them to eat the things that they should be eating.
All children will have their favourite foods so try to add some nutrients to the ones you know they love. For example, if you know they love milk, try making them a milkshake or smoothie with a small amount of fruit.
If you know they like cheese, try making a toasted wholemeal sandwich with a little bit of melted cheese in the middle.
Rest assured, this is a common problem among toddlers, one that they’ll grow out of eventually but in the meantime, try out some of these tips and recipes for a stress-free mealtime.
5 Healthy Food Recipes for Fussy Eater Kids
All of these recipes can be made at home, but if you’re short on time you can always order from your local takeaway menu – find yours here – where many healthy but worldly dishes are available.
Most fussy eaters will love a bit of pizza so try out this recipe which includes turkey sausage, rocket and cream cheese covering a whole variety of food groups.
You can serve these with a marinara dipping sauce on the side should you wish – a great way of getting your kids to interact and get more involved with their food.
This recipe only takes 15 minutes to prepare and 16 minutes to cook so is great if you’re short on time.
1) First, add the turkey sausage and rocket to a frying pan and cook over medium-high heat until sausage is golden.
2) Add 115g of cream cheese, 35g of Parmesan, salt, and pepper and stir together.
3) Roll out some pizza dough into a 50cmx30cm rectangle, cut in half lengthwise and then cut each half into 8 equal rectangles.
4) Spoon the mixture into the rectangles and then close the dough over the filling using a fork to seal the edges.
5) Brush the top with beaten egg and bake for 15-17 minutes.
Chicken is usually the easiest meat to get kids to eat because it’s soft, juicy and tasty, so this chicken fajita recipe is a really good way to give them one of their favourite foods while disguising a few really healthy extras too.
Involving children with their food is a really good way of getting them to eat it, and this recipe is the perfect place to start.
Once the fajita mixture is ready, simply put a large bowl in the middle of the table and let them create their own tasty wraps with as much filling, salad, and salsa as they like.
This is something fun for them to do while you’re safe in the knowledge that they’ve got a hearty and healthy dinner inside them.
This is a mild recipe so should be fine for kids of all ages.
1) Stir together 2 tsp. of garlic granules and a little paprika.
2) Dice 220g of chicken breast and cook in a large frying pan on high heat for 3-4 minutes.
3) Cut 1 red pepper and 1 orange pepper into slices and fry for another couple of minutes.
To give the kids, even more involvement, consider asking them to get the ingredients from the fridge allowing them to choose the colour of peppers used.
4) Stir in a little soy sauce along with the garlic and paprika mix and fry until everything is cooked through.
5) Microwave some tortilla wraps for about 60 seconds and prepare a salad with lettuce and tomatoes. Create your wraps and enjoy.
Homemade Burgers with Sweet Potato Wedges
Burgers are an ultimate favourite for most kids, and although the processed ones you buy in stores aren’t the most nutritious, luckily, they’re really easy to make at home and actually make an exceptionally healthy dinner.
Rather than full-fat mince, opt for the extra lean 5% fat, a wholemeal roll, and loads of salad on the side.
Of course, kids might not recognize this fast-food favourite without fries on the side, so avoid the fryer and choose sweet potato wedges as a great alternative.
1) Cut up some sweet potatoes into wedge-size slices and season with salt and pepper.
2) Spray a baking tray with low-fat spray, place the wedges on the tray and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
3) In the meantime, place your beef mince in a mixing bowl and mix well with a medium sized egg (for binding).
4) At this point, you can also add any onions, herbs, and seasoning to the mixture.
5) Divide the mixture into balls of equal sizes and then shape each one accordingly.
6) Grease each burger with a little extra-virgin olive oil, as this is the most nutritious, and fry for about 10 minutes each side.
Plate everything up together for a healthy and filling meal.
This recipe is a really good way to introduce your child to a foreign cuisine while still using the foods you know they like to eat.
What’s great about this recipe is that it includes a satay sauce rather than a marinade which means if they dip a bit of chicken and really don’t like the satay flavour then dinner isn’t ruined.
This is another recipe that it’s really easy to get the kids involved in because it’s so easy and fun to make they might be more inclined to try such an unfamiliar flavour – it does include kids’ favourite peanut butter, after all.
If you’d prefer not to put the chicken on skewers for the kids because of safety then simply serve on a plate instead.
1) Make the sauce first by blending 3 tbsp. of smooth peanut butter, 250ml of coconut milk, 1 tbsp. honey, 1 tbsp. soy sauce, the juice of a lime and a little mild curry powder should you wish.
2) Pour half of the sauce into a saucepan and use the remainder to brush over the chicken.
3) With the kid’s chicken, it’s a good idea to brush only one piece and leave the rest plain, just in case they really don’t like it – if they happen to love it, there’s always the dipping sauce on the table.
4) Grill the chicken over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, occasionally turning to ensure they cook evenly.
5) Heat the remaining satay sauce on a low heat. Serve the chicken with dipping sauce and rice.
Macaroni and Cheese
This is a classic dish which is great for the whole family and definitely one to try if your kids love cheese.
As well as being a good source of protein and healthy fats, cheese is also a great source of vitamin D which helps to keep your heart happy and healthy.
If you’re unsure about their reaction to cheese in this unfamiliar form, make it for the whole family so you can all eat together.
Often, kids don’t like having separate dinner times from adults as it’s a form of separation.
Children enjoy pretending to be grown-ups and quite often mimic their parents. Make use of this if you’re having trouble getting them to eat at meals times and sit down as a family.
When they see that you’re eating the same meal they’ll feel much more grown up and are therefore more likely to eat whatever it is you put in front of them.
1) Bring a large pan of water to boil and cook the macaroni until al-dente.
2) In a separate pan, melt 45g of butter and stir this in with 45g of flour.
3) Cook for a further minute before gradually adding 450ml of milk and stirring over a low heat for another 5-6 minutes.
4) Take this off the heat and stir in Gruyere (Italian cheese) with 150g of mascarpone.
5) Drain the pasta and pour the cheese sauce over the top, heating gently.
6) Stir in some shredded ham or tomatoes if you wish.
7) Transfer the mixture to a greased dish and mix 40g of breadcrumbs together with 20g Italian hardstyle cheese and sprinkle over the top.
8) Bake under the grill until bubbling.
Hope you enjoyed these alternative healthy food recipes for fussy eaters.
Over to you –
What are your recipes for kids who are fussy eaters? Share them in the comments.