As most of us have experiences the fussy eaters tend to be, you guessed it, kids! And man can those little ones kick up a real fight!
“My kids can never find their shoes but they find a tiny piece of onion in their dinner IMMEDIATELY!”
Great Meal Ideas For Fussy Eaters: Tips & Tricks
The main issue is that it can be very hard to get a fussy eater to eat a balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables so they grow up strong and healthy. Today we’re going to give you a few tips to help you round out your child’s, or fussy adult’s, diet in a way that will be subtle and devoid of angry tears.
A classic technique to trick fussy eaters into eating a wider range of foods is to use familiar well loved meals and adjust them to include some sneaky goodness. Combining the ingredients they are more averse to with favourites like cheese or tasty sauces to make them a little more palatable is a quick and easy way to open their eyes to new foods.
So here are some types of food that are appealing to most people, kids especially, that you can tweak to including some healthy ingredients.
Is your kid a pasta lover? Well I’ve got some tricks for you. Gnocchi is a delicious, homey meal that is filling and comforting. The easy way to make these potatoey pillows more healthy is to substitute the potatoes for sweet potatoes. They can be directly swapped with no changes to the recipe necessary and very little flavour difference, in fact using sweet potatoes actually makes mixing gnocchi easier as they don’t become gluey when overmixed like regular potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a super food that is high in fibre, vitamin A and C as well as iron and calcium so they are a welcome addition to any diet.
Another family hit that can be simply adjusted is lasagna. If you stick with the meat option you can add vegetables to the beef (this technique can also be used to jazz up spaghetti Bolognese) and cut them small enough that they almost melt into the meat and hide themselves under the layers of pasta, cheese and béchamel.
This is also a great way to rework a fussy classic, tomato sauce and pasta, by creating a health homemade marinara that's free from preservatives and vitamins that you can use as a base to blend in even more vegetables if you want to get creative.
Cauliflower is a vegetable that is notoriously unpopular with kids yet very easy to slip sneakily into many dishes especially ones that are already popular with fussy eaters. This is important because they are a great source of fibre, protein, calcium and iron as well as being high in vitamin C and K.
The name of the game in familiarity and comfort. I managed to get a notorious cauliflower hater to eat a whole bowl of it by serving it in the form of some crunchy and sticky sweet and sour cauliflower which tastes way to good to be good for you. Another favourite, cheese sauce, can be completely substituted using blended cauliflower instead of a roux that gives all the satisfaction of a creamy sauce with far more health benefits. With a little creativity you can transform this simple vegetable into so many things!
Cauliflower in different forms can also replace a lot of empty carbs like rice or mashed potatoes by serving cauliflower mash or rice as a substitute though this might not be as easy to sell to a really beady eyed fussy eater.
The beauty of soup when it comes to fussy eaters is all in the blending! This way you can pack in as many flavourful and disliked vegetables into the dish that you want and blend all the evidence way in the push of a button. Simply pick a base ingredient that is popular with the fussy mouth you are trying to feed and cook it up with a bunch more vegetables before blending them together. If you want a dairy free option using a plant based milk as a finisher is a great option and almost undetectable in this context.
Burgers are a massive hit no matter what the age of the picky eater. They are associated with an unhealthy indulgence that you get as a treat if you were really good. Now that being vegan and vegetarian has becomes so common there are so many recipes out there for meat free patties that are so convincing in texture that you could easily trick the burger enthusiast into eating a whole bun full of veggies no problem at all. The patties could be mushroom, beetroot, lentil and even chickpea that are carefully flavoured and seasoned to be just as tasty as the real deal without anyone realising.
These substitutes can also be used for meatballs in the same way served with a big bowl of pasta and nutritious homemade marinara sauce.
Loaded Baked Potatoes
Loading up a steaming hot potato with all the fixings is an indulgent treat that can be switched up to be more healthy super easily without compromising on flavour. Simply swap the potato for a sweet potato and load it up with diced tomato, spring onions and cheese to make taste just like a soft, pillowy pizza. This is also a great budget friendly option that you could whip up from pantry staples on a weeknight with no bother.
Crumbing And Battering
Fried food is an unhealthy treat that can get any kind of eating salivating and luckily it's super easy to hide some goodness in its crunchy coating. From fritters to samosas and crumbed proteins the classics can all be substituted or added to to include some more healthy ingredients like zucchini, lentils and even replacing chicken with tofu. Whatever you can think of your can probably hide it in crumbs or batter with a good dipping sauce to top it all off.
Meal Ideas For Fussy Eaters: Summing Up
Although it might seem like fighting a losing battle when it comes to feeding a truly fussy eater but with these little tricks hopefully meal time with turn from a battle ground to a moment of piece.
I’ll leave you with one age old piece of advice when cooking for fussy eaters:
Never underestimate the power of cheese. Thank you.