The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shared that good nutrition stems from early healthy eating habits. Therefore, parents need to provide their children with nutritionally-rich meals. However, this can be difficult for parents of young picky eaters.
But don’t despair! With a bit of creativity, you can whip up a nutritious and kid-friendly meal. Check out these six unique dinner ideas that can please even the pickiest of eaters.
1. Spaghetti With a Twist
Spaghetti is a typical food that kids like. To make it more fun and unique, try using different-shaped pasta. You can also add in some veggies to sneak in some extra nutrients. For example, you could use spiraled pasta and mix it with finely chopped broccoli or carrots. Another idea is to include a side of fruit with your child’s spaghetti dinner. A simple yet tasty combination is pasta with marinara sauce and a side of cantaloupe.
Spaghetti squash is also a great alternative to pasta for picky eaters who don’t like vegetables. Roast the spaghetti squash until tender, then top it with your favorite marinara sauce. Add a protein of your choice (chicken, beef, tofu, etc.), and voila! You’ve got a delicious and healthy meal.
2. Personal Pizzas
Pizzas are popular among children because they can be customized to their liking. And the best part is, they’re easy to make! Simply pre-bake some mini pizza crusts, then let your kids top them with their favorite toppings. For a healthier option, use whole wheat pizza crusts and top them with veggies like mushrooms, onions, peppers, and olives. You can also add some lean protein like chicken or turkey.
If you’re short on time, you can even use English muffins as your pizza crust. Just top them with sauce, cheese, and your desired toppings, then pop them in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Regardless of how you make them, personal pizzas are sure to be a hit with the kids!
3. Build-Your-Own Tacos
Another fun way to get your kids to eat their veggies is to let them build their own tacos. Set out a variety of toppings—lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, beans, salsa, etc.—and let them go to town. This is a healthy and delicious way to let your kids eat the foods they love while getting the nutrients they need.
For a twist on traditional tacos, try using whole wheat tortillas or lettuce wraps instead of the standard taco shell. You can also add in some lean protein, like grilled chicken or turkey. And to make things even more fun, let your kids use their hands to eat their tacos!
4. Chinese Food
Chinese food is an excellent option for picky eaters because there are so many types of dishes to choose from. And authentic Chinese food restaurants usually have a kids’ menu with familiar and child-friendly items.
Some famous Chinese dishes that kids love include fried rice, lo mein, sweet and sour chicken, and egg rolls. If you’re looking for a healthier option, you can ask for your dish to be steamed instead of fried. You can also ask for the sauce on the side so that you can control how much is used.
When it comes to Chinese food, there are endless possibilities. So next time you’re stumped on what to make for dinner, consider authentic Chinese cuisine.
5. Dessert Quesadillas
Quesadillas are a simple yet delicious meal that kids will love. All you need is some cheese and tortillas, and you’re good to go! For a healthier option, use whole wheat tortillas and fill them with veggies like mushrooms, onions, peppers, and olives. You can also add in some lean protein like chicken or turkey.
If you’re feeling extra creative, you can even make dessert quesadillas! Fill a tortilla with nut butter, bananas, and chocolate chips. Then, grill the quesadilla until the chocolate is melted and gooey. Yum!
6. Fajita Night
Fajitas are a great way to sneak in some vegetables. Sauté some peppers and onions, then let your kids build their own fajitas with whole wheat tortillas, lean protein, and their favorite toppings. For a healthier option, skip the sour cream and cheese and load up on the veggies.
You can talk about the nutrient content of each topping as you’re preparing the meal. This is a great way to teach your kids about healthy eating habits while also serving a unique and delicious dinner.
There you have it—six unique dinner ideas for young picky eaters. So, consider one of these options next time you’re stuck on what to make for dinner. Your kids will love them and might even be willing to try something new!