Fussy eaters, especially toddlers (who cannot reason so well!) can make it a VERY frustrating time for parents. The key is to keep pushing forward and focusing on choosing healthy, better for you options for your children to eat.
Healthy eating with children is a journey and it does take time. Just try to stay calm and not be the shouty mother. Aim to also eat the same meal as your child as you are their biggest motivator for eating. And relax.
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10 delicious and nutritious ideas for your fussy eating toddler
Everybody loves pancakes! The pancake itself is not bad for you, it is the lashings of jam, sugar, ice cream or chocolate sauce that are added to it that are. So really, pancakes can be a great option for a meal with fussy toddlers.
Wrap the pancakes around some delicious homemade Bolognese with plenty of veggies grated inside and you have an easy fussy eater proof meal which everyone will adore. Mind the mess though! Grab the recipe for savoury pancakes from the recipe hub from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
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2. Homemade chicken nuggets
Again, chicken nuggets are only a tricky situation when you a) don’t know what has gone into them b) they have an endless ingredient list and c) they are deep fried d) not served with anything else.
Read the book and serve the meal! You can make the eggs green with beautiful nourishing vegetables such as spinach finely chopped or pureed or even a delicious basil pesto. Herbs such as basil and parsley are jam packed full of nutrition. Squashed peas are another vegetable to include in the eggs, whether scrambled or made into a frittata-esque meal.
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4. Porcupine meatballs
Many kids find meat difficult to eat, especially chew. Meatballs are a perfect and budget friendly way to get your kids to eat meal and get their intake of iron. Bite sized pieces are best. Just let them get messy.
5. Jacket potatoes topped with a delicious assortment of veggies, homemade dips or sauces.
Potatoes are often seen as being an unhealthy food because of the way we cook it or where we buy it from. Deep fried from a fast food store. But made lovingly at home, potatoes are packed full of nutrition, especially vitamin C!
Get the kids to wrap them up in foil, pop them in the oven, BBQ or even open fire and then get around to setting up an assortment of healthy toppings. Homemade dips, beans, cheese and veggies. Allowing kids to help themselves is an easier way to get acceptance.
This is such a healing dish. If you use wholesome good quality ingredients which are a little fun, any kid will love to eat this soup. The trick is also in the way they eat it. Don’t be fixated on manners. Let them slurp and play with giant spoons. Laugh and have a good time.
Recipe from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge. Customise it using whatever veggies you have on hand (or what your fussy eater will tolerate in their bowl).
Cook pasta according to packet directions, drain and set aside.
Bring stock, water, minced ginger and crushed garlic to the boil. Add the chicken and reduce heat to very low.
Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Shred the chicken then return to the pan with the stock.
Slice the mushrooms and spring onions and add to the saucepan with the corn and tamari.
Simmer for a minute or two until the mushrooms are tender, then stir through the pasta.
Ladle into a bowl and scatter with some extra sliced spring onions and torn basil leaves.
Serve with extra tamari sauce, to drizzle over the top, if desired.
7. Nachos and burritos, healthy style
Again, nachos and Mexican food are often seen as being fattening. But again, you can make it healthy. Choose low fat sour creams or use natural yogurt, enjoy fresh avocado and beautiful iron filled protein packed kidney beans. Add a little cheese, tomatoes and even some good quality mince and you have a super healthy dinner that the kids will love.
Like always, it is the setting in which you eat the meal that it also part of the fussy eating experience. Let the kids and toddlers be involved in the preparation and also let them pick the ingredients they put onto their wrap or nachos. Ensure there are healthy options available and there shouldn’t be a problem in what they choose.
8. Risotto or arancini balls, packed full of veggies
Make risotto as normal from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challengeand pack it full of veggies and lovely wholesome ingredients. When the risotto is cooked it should be gooey and sticky. Let it settle for a while and cool down. Then scoop out golf sized little balls and shallow pan fry them. Kids love to eat anything bite sized.
Tasting plates or a kid version of tapas (fancy I know) with just bits and bobs of heated up leftovers is not only a terrific way to be able to clean out the fridge, but give the little ones options to try. Keeping the bits and bobs healthy means you as a parent don’t need to worry or fuss over what they eat. Let them experience the ride. Better yet, eat it under the table.
Similarly to chicken nuggets, fish and chips get a bad rap because of where we buy it from and how they are cooked. Make it at home with some lightly coated fish bites and bake it in the oven. It will only take a few minutes.
For the chips, try different colours of vegetables that bake well. Think potato, sweet potato, parsnip, and beetroot even! Roast away (it will take around an hour all up to be yummy and crispy) but the colours are a rainbow of exploration and also a wealth of nutrition. This recipe below from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challengefor simple fish nuggets takes no time at all. Serve with roasted veggie ‘chips’ for a healthy meal.
Ingredients (serves 4)
400 grams white fish fillet of choice
4 free-range eggs, beaten (200 grams)
1 & 1/3 cups wholemeal breadcrumbs (80 grams)
cooking oil spray
Blend fish fillets until smooth and then press into silicon muffin moulds. Shapes are cute if you have any.
Place into the freezer for 1/2 hour, until firm. You could always skip this step and just cut the fish into small cubes to crumb.
Once firm, pop fish out of silicon moulds and dip into the egg and then coat in the breadcrumbs.
Preheat oven to 200C / gas Mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place fish nuggets on the prepared tray and lightly spray with cooking oil spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning over half way through cooking.
Have we missed any good tips here that you would like to share with other mums of fussy eaters? Jump onto the Healthy Mummy communityand share your ideas.
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