Healthy Foods For Picky Eaters

Food should be nutritious and taste good. Healthy foods for picky eaters are the best for providing both of these aspects. For parents of picky eaters, mealtime can be a nightmare. At one point or another, most children throw a tantrum about food. But for some kids, fussiness is a serious lifelong condition that can even lead to greater health risks when it comes to nutrition. Furthermore, many children refuse to eat fruits and vegetables. This is causing worried parents to try all sorts of methods to encourage their children to eat healthy foods. Continuously screaming at your child is not going to solve the problem here; neither will throwing food in the bin or starving them. In this post I’m going to share some useful tips on how you can help your child eat healthier while staying within their comfort zone.

Healthy Foods For Picky Eaters

Picky eaters—we either know one or we are one. While most of us (myself included) would much rather have a mean slice of pizza or a gorgeous dish of pasta, we all need to eat healthy– including picky eaters. But oftentimes picky eaters avoid vegetables like the plague or only eat healthier foods when they’re covered in cheese. If there’s someone like that in your life, I bet they’ll like these healthy recipes for picky eaters.

1. Sweet Potato Fries

Regular fries really aren’t good for us, despite how often we try to convince ourselves otherwise (sorry, potatoes stop being good for you as soon as you deep fry them). Swap out regular fries for these sweet potato fries; even the pickiest eater in your life will enjoy them.

2. Avocado Chicken Salad

Avocados pair well with everything because they’re fairly neutral in flavor. This avocado chicken salad tastes like the classic, minus all the unhealthy fats you normally get from the mayo. If you or your friend are a really picky eater, feel free to put a slice of cheese on top of your chicken salad sandwich to mask the avocado taste a little more.

3. Zucchini Nachos

Before you come at me, yes I know that nachos are technically unhealthy. However, these zucchini nachos use homemade zucchini chips instead of deep fried tortilla chips, and yogurt instead of sour cream. Feel free to customize these nachos with your favorite healthy toppings.

4. Chicken Burrito Wrap

Just because burritos are high in calories and sodium at Chipotle doesn’t mean they have to be high in anything when you make them yourself. These homemade chicken burritos are easy to make yourself and are fairly cheap, too.

5. Healthier Mac ‘n Cheese

Mac ‘n cheese might seem like it’s for little kids, but not anymore. It can be for you and your picky eater friends with the help of this healthier mac ‘n cheese recipe. Before you start to panic, yes, there is real cheese in this recipe.

6. Chocolate Shake

While chocolate usually isn’t considered a health food, cocoa powder definitely is. This chocolate shake tastes like dessert thanks to the cocoa powder and almond milk blended into it.

7. Zucchini Chips

We all love potato chips – let’s get that out of the way now. However, said potato chips aren’t as healthy as we’d like to think that they are. That’s where zucchini chips come in. If you can get over the fact that they’re green and not yellow, you’ll be just fine.

8. Baked Tortilla Chips

These baked tortilla chips are perfect for dipping in your choice of guac, hummus, or salsa. You can make a bag’s worth of chips in under 20 minutes for cheap, making this an ideal healthy recipe for picky eaters.

9. Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

Muffins aren’t usually the healthiest breakfast options, but these one-bowl banana muffins are packed with fruit, oats, and Greek yogurt instead of refined sugars and white flour. Don’t worry, these don’t taste heathy.

10. Apple Chips

Whoever said that apples are just meant for dipping into peanut butter is a liar. These three-ingredient apple chips are a great way to get in your daily dose of fruit. If you’re really picky, try sprinkling on some sugar until you’re accustomed to the flavor of plain apples.

11. Matcha Frozen Yogurt Pops

While your picky eater friends might not like the taste of plain matcha, these frozen yogurt pops mask the taste of matcha with vanilla almond milk and yogurt.

12. Tuna and Zucchini Rice Bowl

Tuna and zucchini are two foods that are almost always excluded from a picky eater’s diet. If this rice bowl is too scary for a picky eater to try, swap out the tuna with canned chicken. It’ll still be a healthy option and will hopefully get them to try new veggies.

13. Microwave Egg Scramble

Sneak some veggies into this microwave egg scramble. A sprinkle of cheese can be added to mask any flavors picky eaters won’t like—but try it first without any cheese before you turn your nose up at this dish!

14. Healthy Frappuccino

I fully understand that most, if not all, Frappuccinos aren’t healthy for you. However, you can make a healthier Frappuccino at home yourself and not have to spend $4-$7 for one at Starbucks, you’ll be thanking yourself and your wallet later on.

15. Italian Omelet

Personally, I’m a major fan of any omelet that has tomatoes in it, whether they’re sun-dried or regular. While the thought of eating a tomato is too much for some picky eaters to handle, try eating one in this healthy Italian omelet and see what you think.

16. Cookie Pie

This cookie pie uses good-for-you ingredients like chickpeas, oats, and peanut butter. Feel free to throw in a handful of chocolate chips if you can’t commit to a 100% healthy cookie.

17. Zucchini Pizza Boats

If you hate the taste of zucchini, try disguising it as pizza. These zucchini pizza boats are a healthier dinner option and showcase the classic pizza flavors you love.

18. Copycat Panera Strawberry Smoothie

Panera smoothies have enough sugar in them to be a dessert, but this copycat strawberry smoothie recipe has just four ingredients in it and is actually healthy for you. Tell your picky eater friend it’s a strawberry milkshake and see what they think.

19. Avocado Quesadillas

These avocado quesadillas put a healthy twist on your typical cheesy quesadilla. If there are veggies you can stand to eat, sauté them and throw them in this quesadilla too.

20. Breakfast Burrito

This one-pan breakfast burrito recipe will give you a good dose of veggies first thing in the morning. If tomatoes and spinach aren’t your favorite, toss in some vegetables you will eat.

These healthy recipes for picky eaters are easy to make and hopefully aren’t too intimidating to take a bite of. If you’re tempted to sprinkle on extra cheese or add other toppings to mask the “healthy food flavor,” make it a goal to eat a few bites before you do so. Trying new foods might seem scary, but I have faith in you!

image: collage of six healthy meal photos that are picky eater approved.

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.
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!.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Breakfast Ideas for Picky Eaters

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.

These 6 gluten free breakfast recipes will please the whole family! Move over, cardboard bread. Make these breakfasts to kickstart your 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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!

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