7 recipes that convinced even my picky kid to eat something healthy

by

Lindsay Weiss

posted in Toddlerhood

I know some of you are blessed with kiddos who are great eaters. I have two of them, and I’m grateful for how easy they are to feed. I’m especially grateful I don’t have to worry about their nutrition because, well, I worry about a lot of things and it’s nice to cross that one off the list.

I cannot take responsibility for their love of all foods though, because I also have this little hellion:

He has been given ALL the same foods as his older brother and sister and still exists on a very limited repertoire of carbs (bread, rice, pasta), milk, and a few select proteins, fruits, and veggies. I mean very few. And he is stubborn as an ox, so if there’s a showdown about food he’ll usually win.

However, because he’s my third child and I don’t worry as much about the little things anymore, I’ve been extremely patient about working through his pickiness. Over the past year, I’ve put a bazillion things in front of him, always incorporating an ingredient I know he likes, but usually blending in one or two new things. Most of those things have gone down in a giant ball of flames. But a few meals have stuck.

On the off chance you have a kid like mine, I thought I’d share some of the meals that have worked to broaden my picky preschooler’s horizon. Click links for recipes.

1. Smoothies, Smoothies, Smoothies

I do A LOT of smoothies because I can get quite a few fruits or veggies in, as well as some protein from Greek yogurt (or a little extra protein powder). Here’s the basic formula I use:

1 cereal bowl full of fruits/veggies (frozen is fine — that’s frozen mango pictured above)
1 banana
1 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
Apple juice for sweetener (I like Mott’s for Tots because it is specifically designed for tots with 40 percent less sugar and added essential vitamins.)

Blend and serve.

2. Rainbow Fried Rice

Put a plate full of veggies in front of my kids and they will eat a few of them. Put a plate full of veggies in some fried rice and they will DEVOUR all of them. Fried rice for the win! I also throw chopped chicken in this when I can. It’s one of the few proteins my little guy will tolerate, especially if it’s wrapped up in rice.

3. Homemade Mac ‘n Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli

I was 99 percent sure this would be a bust. My little guy hates broccoli. But he did eat it in this dish! Even though the dish is high in carbs and dairy, I feel so much better when it’s coupled with a protein (chicken) and a good green veggie. This is an entire meal in a bowl, which is a bonus for the chef.

4. Crispy Edamame

I made these out of desperation because all my kids love salty chips and crackers so much. I hoped if I could get the edamame as crisp and salty that they’d substitute it. I’m usually wrong about these things but, this time, VICTORY! Extra bonus because they’re full of protein!

5. Orange Chicken

I noticed that my kiddo would occasionally take a piece of orange chicken off one of the older kid’s plates when we were at a Chinese restaurant and eat it. I wouldn’t consider takeout orange chicken especially healthy, but because my little guy is so starved for protein, I vowed to figure it out. This homemade version was a hit and isn’t even fried!

6. Breakfast Banana Pudding Parfaits
I make these all the time during the school year because I can make them ahead and they stay good in the fridge for a few days. My older kids will eat them on the way to school, which saves us time. So imagine my surprise when my little guy pulled up a stool, grabbed one from the fridge, and toddled out to his car seat with one so he could eat with big bro/sis in the car. I just assumed he wouldn’t eat the Greek yogurt but I WAS WRONG! He loved these.

7. Chicken, Broccoli & Bacon Fettucine

This is actually all three of my kids’ favorite meal. (It’s one of mine too.) Again, I was sure the broccoli would be a no-go for the little dude, but the creamy sauce and salty bacon really did the trick. He LOVES this dish.

What meals finally broke the barrier with your picky kid?

Less sugar, more goodness! When you think your little one’s ready for juice, fill that sippy cup with a juice made specifically for them. One that cuts down on the sugar while adding essential vitamins. Find your tot’s flavor!

This post is sponsored by Mott’s for Tots.