55 healthy foods for picky eaters to enjoy

Picky eating is a common phase that children go through so in this blog here are 55 ‘dietitian approved’ healthy foods for picky eaters that ensure your child gets great nutrition no matter how fussy they are.

fruit sticks as healthy foods for picky eaters

Snacks and Quick Bites for fussy eaters

  1. Fruit Skewers: Slide pieces of strawberries, grapes, melon, and banana on a stick. Kids love the fun presentation! Make sure to chop any circular foods to prevent against choking.  Serve this with a dip made of full fat greek yoghurt mixed with peanut butter.
  2. Yogurt Parfaits: Layer natural yoghurt with fresh berries and a sprinkle of cereal. You can also add a drizzle of honey for sweetness. Using cereal that’s fortified with vitamins and minerals will provide some extra nutrition too.
  3. Cheese Sticks: Opt for mild cheeses like mozzarella or cheddar. They’re portable and packed with protein. Serve with crackers and halved cherry tomatoes.
  4. Hummus and Veggie Sticks: Offer hummus with carrot sticks, cucumber slices, and pepper strips. The creamy texture of hummus can be appealing to kids.
  5. Mini Rice Cakes: Top with almond or peanut butter and a slice of banana. It’s a crunchy and creamy combo!
  6. Whole Grain Toast Soldiers: Serve with soft-boiled eggs. Toast is a fun dipper for the runny yolk.
  7. Smoothie Ice lolly Popsicles: Blend together fruits like berries, banana, and a splash of milk or yoghurt, then freeze in ice lolly moulds. Serve alongside a buttered english muffin.
  8. Oat and Peanut Butter Bites: Mix rolled oats with mashed bananas, a handful of raisins, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Form into small balls and bake before serving with a cup of milk.
  9. Cottage Cheese Bowls: Top cottage cheese with sliced pineapple or peaches. Have your little one add a sprinkle of chia seeds for added nutrition.
  10. Whole Grain Crackers with Avocado: Mash ripe avocado and spread it on crackers. Add a tiny sprinkle of cheese for flavour.

Presentation can make a big difference for fussy eaters. When you make food look fun and engaging it can encourage them to try it!

Pitta pizza as healthy meals for picky eaters

Healthy meals for picky eaters

  1. Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas Wrap based toasted sandwiches cooked in a frying pan without oil. Use whole grain tortillas, leftover roast chicken, and a sprinkle of cheese. Serve with a side of mild salsa or yogurt dip.
  2. Spaghetti Carbonara A creamy pasta dish with eggs, cheese, and ham or bacon. Opt for whole grain pasta for added nutrition.
  3. Mini Meatballs: Serve with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. Consider blending veggies into the meatball mix.
  4. Egg and Veggie Scramble:A breakfast classic that works for dinner. Add peppers, tomatoes, and cheese.
  5. Tuna Melt Sandwiches Use whole grain bread, tuna, and cheese. Serve with a side of carrot sticks.
  6. Homemade Chicken Nuggets Bread with whole grain breadcrumbs. Pair with sweet potato fries.
  7. Mac and Cheese with Veggies Mix in steamed broccoli or peas for added nutrition.
  8. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Opt for whole grain bread and add a slice of turkey or ham if desired.
  9. Bean and Cheese Burritos Use whole grain tortillas and add some cooked chicken tenders (or breasts), veggies then roll it up!
  10. Mini Pizzas Use whole grain English muffins as the base. Let kids add their favorite toppings.
  11. Homemade Fish Fingers and Peas Opt for baked fish fingers. Serve with a side of mashed potatoes or peas.
  12. Rice and Chicken Bowls Top rice with grilled chicken, sweetcorn, and a sprinkle of cheese. Add a mild salsa or yogurt sauce.
  13. Veggie and Cheese Omelette Fill with peppers, tomatoes, and cheese. Serve with whole grain toast.
  14. Peanut Butter and Banana Wraps Spread peanut butter on a whole grain tortilla, add banana slices, and roll it up.
  15. Turkey and Cheese Roll-ups: Serve with a side of fruit salad or cucumber slices.
  16. Baked Ziti Like an easier to make lasagne, mix in turkey mince instead of beef and whichever veggies you like. Top with cheese and bake.
  17. Potato and Veggie Hash Dice and roast potatoes, peppers, and courgette. Top with a sprinkle of cheese.
  18. Chicken and Rice Soup Ensure it’s packed with veggies like carrots, celery, and peas.
  19. Veggie-loaded Sloppy Joes A bit like a bolognese in a bun! Use lean turkey mince and mix in finely chopped veggies. Serve on whole grain buns.
  20. Meatball pasta bake Use lean minced beef and wholegrain pasta with any vegetables left in the bottom of the fridge

Remember, the key is to be flexible and creative. Even if a meal seems unconventional, if it’s nutritious and your child enjoys it, it’s a win!

Nuts as ideas for healthy foods for picky eaters

Incorporating Nuts

Nuts are extremely useful food if you have a picky eater as they contain a lot of nutrients including healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. 

However, given their small size and hard texture, nuts can pose a choking hazard for under 5’s. So ensure that nuts are chopped into small pieces or ground down or you can offer them in the form of nut butter.

  1. Nut Butters: One of the easiest ways to introduce nuts is through nut butters like almond, peanut, or cashew butter. Spread them on whole grain toast, mix into porridge, or use as a dip for fruits like apple slices.
  1. Blended into Smoothies: Add a handful of nuts or a spoonful of nut butter to your child’s morning smoothie. Combine with fruits, yoghurt, and a splash of milk for a creamy, nutritious drink.
  1. Nut-Based Sauces: Create sauces like pesto using pine nuts (technically a seed) or almond-based sauces for pasta dishes. Ensure they are finely ground and well-blended into the sauce.
  1. Ground Nuts in Baked Goods: Finely grind nuts like almonds or walnuts and incorporate them into muffins, pancakes, or bread recipes. This not only adds a nutty flavour but also boosts the nutritional content of the baked goods.
  1. Sprinkled on Dishes: If they are accepting, a great nutritional boost is to toast finely chopped nuts and sprinkle on top of yoghurt, salads, or even as a crunchy topping for casseroles. Ensure the pieces are small enough to avoid choking if your child is under 5 years old.
Boy hiding behind vegetables

‘Hidden’ Veggies for picky eaters

It’s okay to hide veggies in other foods for a nutritional boost but my advice is to let your child know that they’re in there.

Realising that their parents have duped them can erode the trust between the two of you, so be honest. Otherwise this can make them wary of all new foods you try to introduce. 

However children can only learn to like vegetables if they have seen them. It’s the very first step towards acceptance, so don’t suddenly expect your picky eater to start eating mushrooms if they’ve only ever been blended into their pasta sauce!

Healthy foods for picky eaters - cheese and spinach quesadilla

Healthy foods for picky eaters with vegetables

  1. Veggie-Infused Spaghetti Sauce Blend carrots, peppers, and spinach into a classic tomato sauce for pasta dishes.
  2. Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Puree cauliflower and mix it into a creamy cheese sauce for a healthier take on this classic dish.
  3. Veggie Meatballs Combine minced meat with finely grated courgette, carrots, and onions for a moist and flavourful meatball.
  4. Sweet Potato Pancakes Mix mashed sweet potatoes into pancake batter for added nutrition and a sweet twist.
  5. Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Stuff chicken breasts with a mixture of finely chopped broccoli and cheese.
  6. Veggie Fried Rice Use finely chopped or grated carrots, peas, peppers, and broccoli in a fried rice dish.
  7. Spinach and Cheese Quesadillas Blend spinach with cheese for a green-filled quesadilla filling.
  8. Veggie-Packed Lasagna Layer grated courgette, aubergine, and spinach between the pasta sheets.
  9. Carrot and Lentil Soup Puree cooked carrots and lentils together for a creamy, nutritious soup.
  10. Beetroot Chocolate Muffins Incorporate pureed beetroot into chocolate muffin batter for added moisture and a nutritional boost.
  11. Zucchini Bread or Muffins Grate courgette into bread dough for a moister bread.
  12. Butternut Squash Risotto Blend cooked butternut squash into a creamy risotto.
  13. Veggie Tater Tots Mix finely grated broccoli, carrots, and sweet potatoes with mashed potatoes to form ‘tater tots’ which are a bit like small hash browns.
  14. Veggie Pizza Puree veggies and mix them into the pizza sauce or hide them under a layer of cheese.
  15. Carrot and Pea Mashed Potatoes Blend steamed carrots and peas into your mashed potatoes for added colour and nutrition.
  16. Veggie Nuggets Create nuggets using a mixture of finely chopped veggies and breadcrumbs.
  17. Pumpkin Oatmeal Mix pumpkin puree into morning porridge coats, sweetened with a touch of maple syrup or honey.
  18. Veggie-Loaded Meatloaf Incorporate finely grated veggies like carrots, courgette, and peppers into your meatloaf mixture.
  19. Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Use spinach puree mixed with ricotta as a filling for pasta shells or ravioli.
  20. Vegetable Curry Blend veggies into a smooth curry sauce, making them indistinguishable but adding to the flavour and of course the nutrition.

Remember, the key to successfully hiding veggies in meals is to ensure they’re finely chopped, grated, or pureed, so they blend seamlessly into the dish. 

When to get help for your child’s picky eating

If you’re worried about your child’s eating, that’s enough of a reason to get in touch to see how we can help. You can book a free discovery call with Sarah.

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meet Sarah

I’m Sarah, a Registered Dietitian, Children’s Nutritionist and mummy from East Sussex. My blog is to guide & inspire you with information about weaning, nutrition, food and toddler feeding. Learn more about me here.

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