Those organic chicken nuggets can get expensive!! If you’re looking for healthy recipes for picky eaters (on a budget) and are tired of the same old few staples, I have lots of recipes that are healthier versions of kid favorites.
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How to Cook Healthy Meals for Picky Eaters
The easiest ways to cook healthy meals for picky eaters? You can add some health-boosting ingredients to the foods they like, or add some fruit or veggies alongside their favorites.
What healthy ingredients should you add to the foods they like? I have you covered! Check out these recipes for ideas!
And if you want some more in depth tips on what to cook for picky eaters, check out this post: Meal plan for picky eaters.
Healthy Dinner Recipes for Picky Eaters
If they are a pasta lover, you have to try the Healthy Pumpkin Pasta for Toddlers (recipe is below) – it doesn’t taste like pumpkin, it is so creamy and smooth and delicious! It’s easier than boxed mac and cheese, I swear. And it has more nutrition than boxed mac and cheese. Win/win!
How to eat healthy as a picky eater
For more easy, healthy and FAST dinner recipes for picky eaters grab my Dinnertime Survival Guide. It has 6 weeks of weeknight meals that can be made in literally 15 minutes or less start to finish. And since they are meals made with simple components, your picky eater will at least be able to eat part of the meal. I know lots of picky ones who often don’t want ANYTHING from a meal, so getting them to eat part of it is a win!
Healthy Recipes for Picky Eaters
For a description and insights about each recipe, keep scrolling.
- Healthy Sweet Potato Pancakes
- The Best Healthy Chocolate Smoothie
- Healthy Toddler Muffins
- The Best Zucchini Banana Bread Muffins for Kids
- Easy Blender Banana Oat Pancakes for Babies
- Healthy Protein Pancakes
- 6 Healthy Smoothies for Kids
- Eggs in Oatmeal
- Pumpkin French Toast Sticks
- Healthy Pasta for Toddlers
- Turkey Meatballs for Baby and Toddler
- Kid Friendly Hidden Veggie Dips
- Trail Mix Pita Pizza
- Red Lentil Pasta with Veggie Packed Tomato Sauce
- Simple Mac and Cheese Recipe without Flour (Kid-friendly!)
- Healthy Pumpkin Pasta for Toddlers
- Secretly Healthy Chocolate Pudding [Dairy Free]
- Healthy Cookie Dough Dip with chickpeas (for kids!)
- Greek Yogurt Popsicles for Kids
- Healthy Orange Popsicles Recipe (with protein!)
- Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal Bars
Recipe Category Breakdown:
Breakfast Recipes for Picky Eaters
Most mornings, breakfast needs to be fast and easy to make when you are half asleep. I get that. Smoothies are awesome for quick breakfasts, and can be loaded with healthy ingredients without your picky eater complaining. Pancakes and muffins are something I love to make on weekends and then freeze extras for rushed mornings.
These taste like fall! My kids love this recipe even though they refuse to eat plain sweet potatoes. It works as waffles, too!
Easiest smoothie to make in the world and perfect for chocolate lovers.
These muffins are perfect for the toddler who doesn’t like chunks of things in their food, like, “eww I see a green fleck in here! YUCK!” I made this recipe to just have a plain muffin that is sweet enough, but doesn’t have anything inside that they can freak out about.
These taste just like banana bread, are egg free and vegan, and it’s the top recipe on my site that people tell me they make over and over again!
If they won’t eat oatmeal but you’d love to get them eating a nice whole-grain, fiber filled breakfast, give these pancakes a try! They are great for babies, too.
This was a HUGE reader request! These protein pancakes don’t have any protein powder since I like to minimize it for young kids, but still packs a great amount of whole food protein in to start the day off right!
Smoothies are king on busy mornings! What can be easier than throwing a bunch of things in the blender and pushing a button. Plus, you can hide all sorts of things in there like hemp seeds or chia seeds or flax seeds! (Get 10% off my favorites at that link with code MAMAKNOWSNUTRITION.)
If you’ve never added eggs to oatmeal, this will blow your mind! I needed a way to get my pickier kid to eat eggs because I wanted him to get the good nutrition, but he would NOT eat them plain in any way. When you stir them into oatmeal using this technique, you have no idea they are there. And the oatmeal is SO creamy!
French toast is an all time favorite in my house. It even works as a quick dinner, too! Adding pumpkin bumps up the vitamin content!
Lunch/Dinner Recipes for Picky Eaters
Clearly, pasta always gets eaten in my house, because a lot of these recipes are pasta based! But not to worry if your little one won’t eat pasta. I have TONS more ideas for lunches and dinners inside of Breakfast Lunch and Dinner Bundle. If you need more help to get your little one to branch out beyond their favorites, check out Simple Steps to Picky Wins.
Have you ever tried a cashew-based cream sauce? It’s amazing for picky eaters! It has a mild taste, and you get them awesome nutrients like healthy fats, protein, vitamin K, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc.
For the kids who love dipping, you can hide veggies in these dips (and use veggies as dipping sticks, too!).
The peanut butter and jelly enthusiast will be all over this fun recipe where they can choose their toppings!
This one amps up the classic spaghetti and tomato sauce with lots of veggies and red lentils for plant-based nutrition. While red lentil pasta is more expensive than traditional pasta, you get so much protein per serving that it’s completely worth the extra cost, since you don’t have to buy any meat!
Use your instant pot or stovetop to make this mac and cheese with veggies inside. If they like peas, serve them mixed in or on the side to get some greens in.
I make this for lunch all the time, it’s a staple for us! I love that it incorporates protein, fat, a veggie & fiber all in one dish.
Mushrooms are the secret star in this recipe! They have B vitamins and several minerals, and mix seamlessly into the meatball mixture. My husband is picky about veggies being mixed into foods, and he loves this recipe!
Snacks/Sweets Recipes for Picky Eaters
Healthy snacks for picky eaters are a must! If they usually stick with things like fishy crackers, fruit snacks, chips, or puffs, they are missing out on a great opportunity to get more nutrition in. For picky kids, I like to get fruit, veg, or other nutritious foods in that they may skip over at meal times.
I swear when I call something a “snack,” no matter what it is, kids are ALWAYS more interested!
This recipe is how I got my son to try avocados in his picky phase when he was 2 years old. It’s SO yummy.
You can’t go wrong with cookie dough! My kids usually end up eating this on its own with a spoon, but it’s great for dipping, too.
Mix it up from regular yogurt with this healthy greek yogurt popsicle recipe with different flavor options.
Easiest popsicle you’ll ever make, with a good protein boost.
My friend whose son wouldn’t eat ANY fruits or veggies tried this recipe and he loved it!
More Healthy Snacks for Picky Eaters
These bars are made primarily from fruit, have simple clean ingredients, and are great for ages 1+. If they like fruit snacks or fruit bars, definitely give these a try!
Skout Organic kids bars are like the toddler-friendly version of a Larabar. They’re the perfect size and texture for toddlers, and have no added sugar. Plus, they have nut-free flavors, and introduce new seasonal flavors all the time.
Little Spoon has smoothie pouches with a variety of superfoods in them, a huge step up nutritionally from just applesauce. If your little one LOVES pouches, I would check these out!
For a full list of easy grab and go, healthy, low added sugar snack options, check out my toddler-friendly snack guide!
How do picky eaters eat healthy?
If you feel stuck with your picky eater and feel like they will NEVER like healthy foods, check out my free Picky Eater Starter Guide to get you moving in the right direction.
And if you want some extra guidance on how to move them past the few foods they love, try my quick guides here!