Whether it’s battles over broccoli or a fuss over anything but grilled cheese, we understand that meal time can be a struggle with a picky eater. It can often seem like a trade off between wanting to fuel their little bodies with nutritious food and wanting to have a conflict-free family meal experience. Luckily, our extensive experience in the nannying industry has allowed us to create tried and true meals that check all of the health boxes while still passing the taste test of little ones.
1. It’s Not Noodles, it's Zoodles!
One of the most common childhood favorites just got an upgrade with the recent emergence of zucchini noodles, or as we call them, zoodles. Zoodles are the perfect way to get vegetables into your child’s diet in disguise. Zoodles can easily be tossed in with “normal” pasta or served as a pasta replacement altogether. This dish is also great because of how it can be adapted for a variety of preferences. Don’t like tomato sauce? No problem! toss zoodles with cheese and olive oil. Want to add some protein? add a nice and meaty marinara. However you choose to prepare them, we are confident that the mild flavor and great texture of this dish will pass the picky eater test.
2. Homemade Chicken Strips
Skip the extra grease and unknown additives by making the classic fast food favorite right at home. Check out our top pick recipe for a delicious way to get extra protein onto your child’s plate and slowly introduce them to an array of different spices.
3. Super Power Sweet Potatoes
Did you know that sweet potatoes pack 400% of the vitamin A you need each day? Sweet potatoes also contain a number of other essential vitamins and minerals important for growing bodies such as B vitamins and potassium. They can also be easily incorporated into any meal and the options of how to prepare them are almost endless. A popular option with children is baked sweet potato wedges, which can be dipped in sauces and eaten like classic french fries. You can also experiment with sweet potato “toast” by using a thin slice of cooked sweet potato as the base for toppings like peanut butter and honey or humus.
4. Turkey Pinwheels
A great way to get picky eaters to try new foods is to change the shape of the foods into something fun, whether that's putting fruit on a skewer or cutting a sandwich into cute little shapes. These turkey pinwheels are popular with picky eaters because of their bite sized portions perfect for small hands and their fun rolled-up shape. You can create these turkey pinwheels by laying luncheon meat, cheese, and other desired toppings flat in a tortilla and then rolling the tortilla up before slicing it into small cross sections.
5. The “Snack” lunch box
Often we have found that children may be more willing to eat snacks than to try an entirely new meal. You can harness this love of snack foods by creating a healthy “snack” lunch box filled with small portions of fun but nutritious finger foods such as cut up carrots and cubes of cheese. You can even experiment around with adding in a new ingredient here and there to help introduce your child to new flavors. Healthy eating for picky eaters has never been easier with fun-sized cups of different fruit, veggies, nuts, etc!
Pro Nanny Tip: One of the best ways to help a picky eater branch out into new foods is by involving them in the process of cooking and preparing for meal time. Even if it is simply allowing them to help put apple slices in their lunch box, kids will often feel more inclined to try things if they have some personal stake in creating them.