Tips for Sneaking Healthy Food to the Pickiest Little Eaters
For some parents, their kids will turn up their nose at just about anything that isn’t pizza or mac n’ cheese. For others, things start out more promising when suddenly their kid refuses to eat things she’s always devoured with gusto. Sound familiar? Welcome to toddlerhood, where bananas were the best thing since sliced bread just 5 short minutes ago but are now regarded with as much disdain as dirty diapers.
You could try to feed them pizza and chicken nuggets every day, but that’s missing the point. Giving in to their every whim will just make them pickier plus it’s hardly nutritious. But fear not. There are wonderful sneaky ways you can get your picky eater to eat things she refuses to touch…and actually like it! Here’s how!
Make a “milkshake”
Your kid probably loves ice cream and milkshakes. Few of them don’t. Milkshakes and smoothies are pretty much interchangeable for small children so use this to your advantage. Use Greek yogurt or whole milk instead of ice cream and blend it up with fresh fruits that they love. Even the most apprehensive child won’t think twice and drink the whole thing when you include a silly straw, whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles.
Try the cauliflower trick
Most kids are happy to clean their plates when mashed potatoes on it. But steam some cauliflower and they’ll cry as if you’re ripping them from limb to limb. Cauliflower is a really versatile and nutritious white vegetable and if you play your cards right, your kids will be wolfing it down without even realizing it. Mashed cauliflower, cauliflower rice, and pizza crust or breadsticks made with cauliflower are all brilliant ways to get your kids to eat their vegetables without noticing.
Give them teeny-tiny
For some reason, children really gravitate toward miniaturized items. Perhaps because they are smaller, and so are mini foods. You can make mini cauliflower pizzas (without revealing cauliflower is in them of course) and watch them vanish into thin air. Mini works with just about anything so get creative!
Add more vegetables to that cauliflower crust pizza or mix them into your spaghetti sauce and your kid will never ever know. Homemade sauce is so much better anyway. An immersion blender can destroy the evidence, especially when you use veggies like spinach or carrots. Serve it with plenty of cheese and try not to snicker when they tell you how much they love it.
Sometimes, a little creative presentation can do the trick or simply serving foods in such a way that they can be dunked and dipped which make the experience more interactive and fun. By using these picky eater tactics, you’ll find dinner time becomes a time of peace rather than a time for war.
Sara Gustafson is a freelance writer and mom.
Photo by Patrick Fore