Are you having a hard time finding quality recipes your picky eater will eat?
When it comes to feeding our picky eaters, it can be tough to find recipes that provide nutrition while pleasing the pickiest of palates. For this reason, we’ve put together a list of 10 healthy meals picky eaters will eat and have some nutritional value in them so that we can worry a little less.
Easy Meals for Picky Eaters
If you have a child that wants to eat chicken nuggets for every meal, every day, and are tired of stocking up on homemade chicken nuggets (or whatever their favorites are) and wished your kids would eat healthier options, check out these ten ideas to help you add a little more variety and nutrition to their meals.
Before we get to these ten recipes, I wanted to share with you a bonus resource I’ve created to help parents just like you.
Struggling with picky eating? Check out the FREE 6-Video Mini Course from MOMables to help improve mealtimes.
Healthy snacks for picky eaters
Below you’ll find superb snacks made with fruit, veggies, and chocolate. Each one also includes the nutritional goal for the snack, so you have a heads up of the nutritional benefits it has to offer come snack time.
#1 High Fiber Chocolate Bites
Perfect for snack time, these add a little more nutrition in each bite. Pair them with a little yogurt for a delicious, protein-rich snack. Grab the recipe.
Nutritional goal: tons of natural fiber.
#2 Strawberry Fruit Leather
Fruit roll-ups are adored by kids and this version is made with fresh berries and a tiny amount of honey for extra sweetness. You won’t believe how easy they are to make at home! Grab the recipe.
Nutritional Goal: Minimal added sugar and made with real berries.
#3 Cheese Straws
Made with fresh cheese and puff pastry, homemade cheese straws are an amazing snack or appetizer recipe. Serve them in a lunchbox with marinara sauce for dipping or alongside soup and salad at dinner. Grab the recipe.
Nutritional goal: Baked not fried.
#4 Banana Chips
These are a sweet-salty alternative to regular chips and smart way to use up those overripe bananas. Grab the Recipe.
Nutritional goal: No added sugar and baked not fried.
#5 Spinach Balls
These cheesy, savory spinach balls are the easiest way to get kids to eat spinach. These are baked to perfection and perfect for the lunchbox or a party appetizer. Grab the Recipe.
Nutritional goal: Great way to pack in vitamin A and iron from the spinach.
#6 Healthy Blondies
This is a sweet and salty snack that tastes like cookie dough minus the gluten, dairy, and eggs! Instead, these no-bake bars use coconut flour, banana, peanut butter, honey, and chocolate chips for an irresistible taste and texture. Grab the Recipe.
Nutritional goal: Minimal added sugar and a sweet treat for less than 160 calories a serving.
Breakfast Ideas for Picky Toddlers & Kids
Need a few new or re-vamped breakfast recipes to introduce into your morning routine? These recipes have got to you covered.
From incredible overnight oats to breakfast pizza and super thick smoothie bowls, these recipes offer a satisfying and nutritious start to anyone’s day.
#1 Strawberry Overnight Oats
A delicious new way to enjoy strawberries and cream for breakfast! Prep these ahead of refrigerate overnight for an easy grab and go meal in the morning.
Nutritional goal: Great source of fiber and whole grains from the oats with healthy fats from the flaxseed.
#2 High Fiber Chocolate Smoothie Bowl
This smoothie beats the fiber cereal and it tastes like chocolate. Eat it out of a bowl, with a straw, or pack it in a thermos for a nutrition-filled snack. Bonus: tastes like dessert but a lot healthier! Grab the recipe.
Nutritional goal: Extra protein and fiber.
#3 Banana Split Oatmeal Bar
For kids that don’t’ like plain oatmeal, this strawberry-banana combination has everything they want and more. Grab the recipe.
Nutritional goal: Fiber + protein balanced breakfast, and added fruit.
#4 Ham, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Pizza
Pizza for breakfast, you say? The eggs make the base, just a touch of cheese, and a little bit of ham make scrambled eggs so much more fun to eat! Bonus: add chopped veggies for added nutrition and then you can say they ate veggies for breakfast. Grab the recipe.
Nutritional goal: Extra protein, introduce the texture of eggs in a kid-friendly way.
#5 Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
Baking the oatmeal changes the overall texture and my kids say it tastes like blueberry pie. Add a splash of milk and it’s now a-la-mode. Grab the recipe.
Nutritional goal: hearty meal, fiber + protein balanced breakfast, and added fruit.
#6 Green Berry Juice
It’s not a meal, per se, but it does work as a breakfast add-on! Seriously though, how great is it to get your fruits and veggies in one delicious drink that the kids will love? Grab the recipe.
Nutritional Goal: additional veggies/greens in the classic smoothie.
Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters
Ever packed lunch for your kids only to find it uneaten when they get home? Yikes! I’ve been there, done that, so I take to heart creating and sharing lunch recipes on this site that are kid-friendly, balanced, and easy to assemble. To help save you time in the kitchen I can show you how to meal prep lunch here.
#1 Homemade PB & J Uncrustables
Once you make these DIY uncrustables at home, you won’t go back to store-bought! You can make a dozen of these with your choice of jelly and peanut or nut butter alternative and freeze for later. It’s all these delicious pb & j for half the price.
Nutritional goal: Nut-free butter alternatives and real jelly.
#2 Gluten-free Fish Sticks
This kid-favorite food is made with gluten-free breading and fresh fish for a crispy, crunchy, and super delicious meal. I recommend it with carrot fries or sweet potato tater tots.
Nutritional goal: An excellent source of protein from the fish and gluten-free.
#3 Bistro box
If you need a lunch that’s easy to assemble and prep ahead, bistro boxes are the answer! Unlike the pre-packaged cracker and cheese lunches at the store, making one at home allows you to pack a variety of fresh fruit, veggies, cheese, deli cuts, and healthy dips.
Nutritional goal: Provides a balance of carbs, protein, and fats in one lunch.
#4 Crunchy Turkey Pinwheels
Wrap it up and cut it into bite-sized pieces and many kids will eat it! Grab the recipe.
Nutritional Goal: something other than a sandwich, variety of textures.
#5 Mini Pizza Quiches
Pizza, but not really pizza. These bite-sized baked eggs are perfect for breakfast or lunch and add protein in each bite. Grab the recipe.
Nutritional Goal: something other than a sandwich and extra protein.
#7 Ranch Veggie Cups
The truth is, a little bit of salad dressing is perfectly okay, especially if it gets your kids to eat their veggies. Pack these fun and easy Ranch Veggie Cups for lunches or for snacks on the go. Grab the recipe.
Nutritional Goal: additional veggies made portable. Note: substitute for favorite dip or hummus here.
Dinner Ideas for Picky Eaters
Dinner can be the toughest meal of the day when you have picky eaters, and I know it can be easy to settle for a less nutritionally dense meal as long as it keeps the peace.
However, recreating kid-favorite meals that aren’t so healthy into a homemade version with fresh ingredients is a smart way to get everyone on board at dinner, and exactly what I did in the recipes below. You’ll find delicious take-out inspired dishes as well as one skillet and slow cooker meals, so you spend less time in the kitchen and eat better than ever!
#1 Broccoli and Cheese Nuggets
When in doubt, make nuggets” as I explained in this recipe post, was my friend Anne’s advice to me. Broccoli and Cheese nuggets to the rescue for kids that need a little convincing when it comes to eating their veggies. Grab the recipe.
Nutritional Goal: veggies, get kids to like “green” foods.
#2 Broccoli Pesto with Spaghetti Sauce
Broccoli pesto is a great recipe with lots of veggies, but if your kids don’t touch green foods, mix it with their favorite red spaghetti sauce, and the green disappears like magic!
Nutritional goal: Lot’s of veggies!
#3 Cheesy Beef Goulash
A delicious one-skillet meal of baked pasta, beef, seasoned tomato sauce, and melted cheese. It’s one dinner kids don’t have a problem scarfing down and asking for seconds.
Nutritional goal: A hearty meal for less than 267 calories and 9 grams of fat per serving.
#4 Copy Cat Chick-fil-a Nuggets
Homemade gluten-free chicken nuggets with the same texture and taste as the original Chickfila chicken nuggets.
Nutritional goal: A good source of protein and made with coconut flour.
#5 Baked Fish Nuggets
If your kids need a little convincing to eat fish, these crispy baked salmon nuggets are a delicious start! They’re breaded with a Parmesan Panko breadcrumb mixture and can be cooked in the oven or air-fryer!
Nutritional goal: Baked not fried and a great source of protein and healthy omega’s from the salmon.
#6 Paleo Chili
Get your chili fix without the beans! That’s right this recipe is made without any beans but packs a ton of flavor and heartiness from the chopped veggies and beef!
While the veggies cook down and take on flavors of the beef, chili spices, and tomatoes, I like to go an extra step and blend the vegetables before stirring it into the chili. That way, they cook down, and my kids eat it as is with chips, no questions.
Nutritional goal: This recipe is an excellent source of protein with vitamins from the chopped carrots and zucchini.
#7 Homemade Teriyaki Chicken
Tender chicken thighs tossed in homemade Teriyaki sauce, this Healthy Teriyaki Chicken stir-fry recipe comes together faster than it takes to order out!
This recipe uses coconut aminos for a gluten-free sauce, but you can use regular or reduced-sodium soy sauce if that’s what you have on hand.
Nutritional goal: Lighter sauce with less sodium and added sugar.
What are your go-to nutritious recipes that please your picky eater? For more food kids will love, check out these easy dinner ideas for tonight.Print
Healthy Meals Picky Eaters Will Eat / Cheesy American Goulash
Looking for healthy meals picky eaters will actually want to eat? Try one of these for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack time! Starting with this cheesy American beef goulash recipe.
- Yield: 4 servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 15 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup dry elbow macaroni
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a large, oven proof skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, sauté until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper, sauté for an additional minute.
- Add the ground beef, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon or spatula, as it cooks. Cook for 7 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes (including the liquid), and water. Bring to a simmer.
- Add the pasta to the goulash. Cover and transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until the pasta is tender and sauce thickened. Top with cheese and return to the oven, uncovered, until the cheese is melted.
- Serving Size: 1 bowl
- Calories: 267
- Sugar: 6.1g
- Sodium: 433.4mg
- Fat: 9g
- Saturated Fat: 4.7g
- Trans Fat: 0.2g
- Carbohydrates: 22.2g
- Fiber: 2.9g
- Protein: 24.6g
- Cholesterol: 63.8mg
I’m the one to be blamed on my daughter to being a picky eater, before she use to not be a picky eater but after I had my son she just stopped eating certain foods. I have tried giving her all the types of food she used to eat before I had my son, but the only thing is when my mom comes over we make 3 plates of food she liked to eat. I need your help your help I don’t want her to get anemia again.
These tips and recipes for picky eaters are so helpful, thanks Laura!
I’m all to blame because I didn’t do it earlier but I have a 13 yr old and 9 yr old that refuse to try most food. Help?!
Hey Pamela, these recipes should be a starting place, but if you need more resources this should help as well: https://www.momables.com/exclusive-happier-family-meals/
Im actually in high school but im really picky and i want to get healthier so im probably gonna use theses recipes especially the turkey pinwheels
MOMables - Laura
I’m glad there are some recipes you can use!
Thank you for sharing these recipes! My toddler is so picky and I run out of ideas to get him to eat nutritious food that’s not in the shape of macaroni or a dinosaur nugget. These all sound yummy he won’t be able to resist (I hope) LOL
Good luck! Remember it takes a few times of trying new things to learn to like them. Enjoy!
I know this post was created a long time ago, but if I found it by simply searching “