How to Get Kids to Love Nutrient-Rich Foods?

As a parent, one of the biggest challenges we face is instilling healthy eating habits in our children. It's no secret that kids can be notoriously picky eaters, often turning up their noses at anything that resembles a vegetable. This leaves many moms and dads feeling frustrated and concerned about how to ensure their little ones get the nutrients they need.

But worry not – creating healthy eating habits can start right from the early years, and there are ways to make this journey enjoyable for both you and your children.

The key is to start early, offer a variety of choices, and make food both fun and nutritious. By introducing healthy foods in creative and delicious ways, you can help your kids develop a love for wholesome meals that will benefit them for a lifetime.

Below, you'll find some tried-and-true recipes that sneak in those all-important nutrients without sacrificing taste. These meal ideas are designed to appeal to even the most discerning young eaters while ensuring they get a balanced diet.

Let's turn mealtime battles into mealtime triumphs, one healthy recipe at a time!

Hidden Veggie Mac and Cheese

veggie mac and cheese


  • Whole wheat macaroni
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Milk
  • White beans (canned or cooked)
  • Carrots (finely grated)
  • Cauliflower (steamed and pureed)


  1. Cook whole wheat macaroni according to package instructions.
  2. In a blender, combine the white beans, grated carrots, and cauliflower puree with milk to create a smooth mixture.
  3. In a saucepan, melt cheddar cheese and mix in the veggie puree until well combined.
  4. Stir in the cooked macaroni and serve warm.

Why is Mac & Cheese Good for the Body? 

Whole Wheat Macaroni

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Fibre: Whole wheat pasta is high in dietary fibre, which aids in digestion and keeps the digestive system healthy.
  • Vitamins & Minerals: It provides essential B vitamins, iron, and magnesium, which are important for energy production and overall development.
  • Protein: Contains more protein than regular refined pasta, contributing to muscle growth and repair.

Cheddar Cheese

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Calcium: Essential for strong bones and teeth. Growing kids need plenty of calcium for their developing skeletal structure.
  • Protein: A good source of high-quality protein, important for muscle development and repair.
  • Vitamin D: Helps in calcium absorption and bone health.
  • Fat: Provides energy and supports brain development. Healthy fats are also essential for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins.


Nutritional Benefits:

  • Calcium: Like cheese, milk is rich in calcium, supporting bone health.
  • Protein: Provides essential amino acids needed for growth and repair.
  • Vitamins D & B: These vitamins are crucial for bone health and energy metabolism.
  • Fat: Full-fat milk can be particularly beneficial for young children as it provides energy for their growing bodies and supports brain development.

White Beans (Canned or Cooked)

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Protein: A plant-based protein source that contributes to muscle growth and repair.
  • Fibre: High in fibre, which helps with digestion and maintaining a healthy bowel.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Rich in iron, folate, and magnesium, which are important for energy production, red blood cell formation, and muscle function.

Carrots (Finely Grated)

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Vitamin A: Crucial for eye health and immune function, carrots are one of the best sources of beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A.
  • Fibre: Adds more dietary fibre, which benefits digestion.
  • Antioxidants: Carrots contain antioxidants that help protect the body from damage by free radicals and support overall health.

Cauliflower (Steamed and Pureed)

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Vitamins C & K: Essential for immune function and bone health, respectively.
  • Fibre: Adds to the fibre count, aiding in digestion and providing a feeling of fullness.
  • Phytonutrients: Contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties, supporting overall health.


2. Rainbow Veggie Wraps

veggie wrap for kids


  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • Hummus
  • Bell peppers (red, yellow, green, julienned)
  • Carrots (finely grated)
  • Spinach leaves
  • Avocado (sliced)
  • Cherry tomatoes (halved)


  1. Spread a generous layer of hummus on each tortilla.
  2. Place a variety of sliced veggies like bell peppers, carrots, spinach, avocado, and cherry tomatoes.
  3. Roll up the tortilla tightly and slice in half for easy handling.

Why is Rainbow Veggie Wraps Good for the Body? 

Whole Wheat Tortillas

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Fibre: High in dietary fibre, which aids in digestion and helps maintain a healthy digestive system.
  • Vitamins & Minerals: Contains B vitamins like folate and magnesium, which are essential for energy metabolism and muscle function.
  • Protein: Provides a moderate amount of protein, supporting muscle growth and repair.


Nutritional Benefits:

  • Protein: A great plant-based protein source, helping with muscle development and repair.
  • Healthy Fats: Contains healthy fats from olive oil and tahini, which are crucial for brain health and energy.
  • Fibre: High in fibre, which promotes satiety and aids in digestion.
  • Minerals: Rich in iron, magnesium, and folate, supporting various bodily functions including energy production and red blood cell formation.

Bell Peppers (Red, Yellow, Green)

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Vitamin C: Extremely rich in vitamin C, which boosts the immune system, helps in the absorption of iron, and promotes healthy skin.
  • Antioxidants: Contains various antioxidants that help fight inflammation and protect against disease.
  • Fibre: Adds dietary fibre to the meal, aiding in digestion.


Nutritional Benefits:

  • Vitamin A: Loaded with beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A, crucial for vision and immune function.
  • Fibre: Adds to the fibre content, aiding in digestion and promoting satiety.
  • Antioxidants: Contains antioxidants that help to protect the body from free radicals.

Spinach Leaves

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Iron: Rich in iron, important for healthy blood and energy levels.
  • Calcium: Contains calcium, supporting bone health.
  • Vitamin K: Essential for blood clotting and bone health.
  • Antioxidants: Full of antioxidants, which protect the body from oxidative stress.


Nutritional Benefits:

  • Healthy Fats: Packed with monounsaturated fats, which are important for heart health and brain function.
  • Fibre: Adds fibre, helping to keep the digestive system healthy.
  • Vitamins & Minerals: Rich in potassium, which is crucial for heart function and overall muscle health, as well as vitamins E, K, and B6.

Cherry Tomatoes

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Vitamin C: High in vitamin C, boosting the immune system and skin health.
  • Lycopene: Contains lycopene, an antioxidant that has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease.
  • Hydration: Made mostly of water, they help keep the body hydrated.

3. Chicken and Quinoa Bites


  • Cooked quinoa
  • Chicken breast (cooked and finely chopped)
  • Cheddar cheese (grated)
  • Egg
  • Bread crumbs (whole wheat)
  • A pinch of garlic powder and onion powder


  1. In a large bowl, mix the cooked quinoa, chopped chicken, grated cheddar, egg, bread crumbs, and spices.
  2. Form small bite-sized balls and place them on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Why is Chicken and Quinoa Bites Good for the Body?


Nutritional Benefits:

  • Complete Protein: Quinoa is one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source, crucial for muscle growth and repair.
  • Fibre: High in dietary fibre, which aids in digestion and helps keep the digestive system healthy.
  • Vitamins & Minerals: Rich in magnesium, iron, B vitamins, and antioxidants, which support energy production, red blood cell formation, and overall bodily functions.

Chicken Breast

Nutritional Benefits:

  • High-Quality Protein: Chicken breast is an excellent source of high-quality protein, vital for muscle development and growth.
  • Low in Fat: Particularly when skinless, chicken breast is low in fat and provides lean protein.
  • Vitamins & Minerals: Contains essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, which supports brain development and immune function, and phosphorus, important for strong bones and teeth.

Cheddar Cheese

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Calcium: High in calcium, supporting the development of strong bones and teeth.
  • Protein: Provides additional protein, enhancing the muscle-building properties of the bites.
  • Fat: Contains healthy fats necessary for energy and proper brain function.
  • Vitamin D: Present in cheese, aiding calcium absorption and bone health.


Nutritional Benefits:

  • Complete Protein: Eggs are also a source of high-quality, complete protein containing all essential amino acids.
  • Choline: Essential for brain development and function, particularly beneficial for growing children.
  • Vitamins & Minerals: Rich in vitamins D, B12, and selenium, which support bone health, red blood cell formation, and immune function.

Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Fibre: Adds to the dietary fibre content, supporting digestive health.
  • Vitamins & Minerals: Contains B vitamins and iron, contributing to energy production and overall well-being.

Garlic Powder and Onion Powder

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Antioxidants: Both garlic and onion powder are rich in antioxidants, which protect the body from oxidative damage.
  • Anti-inflammatory Properties: These spices have natural anti-inflammatory properties, promoting overall health.

4. Smoothie Popsicles

Strawberry lollie for kids


  • Greek yogurt
  • Banana
  • Strawberries/ Rasberries
  • Honey (optional)
  • Popsicle molds


  1. In a blender, blend Greek yogurt, banana, strawberries, and a bit of honey.
  2. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Why It's Great: These smoothie popsicles are a fun and nutritious way to get kids to eat fruits without realising it.

Health Benefits

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a powerhouse of nutrition, offering several health benefits:

  • High in Protein: It provides a substantial amount of protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair, and helps keep you feeling full longer.
  • Probiotics: Greek yogurt contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that support a healthy gut microbiome, aiding digestion and boosting the immune system.
  • Calcium: It's a great source of calcium, vital for strong bones and teeth.
  • Low in Sugar: Compared to regular yogurt, Greek yogurt typically contains less sugar and more protein.


Bananas are a popular fruit with numerous health benefits:

  • Rich in Potassium: They are high in potassium, which helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels and supports proper muscle and nerve function.
  • Energy Boost: Bananas provide a quick source of natural energy due to their carbohydrate content, making them an excellent snack.
  • Fiber: They contain dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and helps regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Bananas are a good source of vitamins C and B6, which are important for immune function and brain health.


Berries, such as strawberries and raspberries, are not only delicious but also packed with nutrients:

  • Antioxidants: Both strawberries and raspberries are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and anthocyanins, which help protect the body from oxidative stress and inflammation.
  • Fiber: They are high in dietary fiber, promoting healthy digestion and helping to control blood sugar levels.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: These berries provide vitamins C and K, folate, and manganese, which are essential for various bodily functions, including immune support and bone health.
  • Low in Calories: They are low in calories, making them an excellent choice for a nutritious, guilt-free snack.

Honey (Optional)

Honey is a natural sweetener with some health benefits when consumed in moderation:

  • Natural Energy Source: Honey provides a quick source of energy due to its natural sugars.
  • Antioxidants: It contains antioxidants, which can help protect the body from cellular damage.
  • Antibacterial Properties: Honey has natural antibacterial properties and has been used for centuries in wound care and as a cough remedy.
  • Soothing: It can help soothe a sore throat and provide relief from coughing.


5. Mini Veggie Pizzas

veggie pizza for kids


  • Whole wheat English muffins
  • Tomato sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Cherry tomatoes (sliced)
  • Baby spinach
  • Bell peppers (diced)
  • Mushrooms (sliced)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Cut the English muffins in half and spread a layer of tomato sauce on each half.
  3. Top with mozzarella cheese and a variety of veggies like cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, bell peppers, and mushrooms.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Why It's Great: Kids love pizza! Making them on English muffins is a perfect way to keep portions controlled while sneaking in some extra veggies.

Health Benefits

Whole Wheat English Muffins

Whole wheat English muffins are a healthier alternative to regular muffins:

  • High in Fiber: Whole wheat flour is rich in dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and keeps you feeling full longer.
  • Nutrients: They contain essential nutrients like B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and zinc, which are important for energy production and overall health.
  • Lower Glycemic Index: Whole grains have a lower glycemic index than refined grains, which means they release energy more slowly and help maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce is not only tasty but also packed with nutrients:

  • Rich in Lycopene: Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, an antioxidant that has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
  • Vitamins: Tomato sauce is high in vitamins A and C, which support immune function, skin health, and vision.
  • Low in Calories: It adds flavor to dishes without adding many calories.

Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella cheese offers several nutritional benefits:

  • High in Protein: Mozzarella is a good source of protein, essential for muscle repair and growth.
  • Calcium: It provides calcium, which is crucial for maintaining strong bones and teeth.
  • Vitamin B12: Mozzarella contains vitamin B12, important for nerve function and the production of red blood cells.

Cherry Tomatoes (Sliced)

Cherry tomatoes are small but nutritionally powerful:

  • Antioxidants: Like regular tomatoes, cherry tomatoes are high in lycopene and other antioxidants that protect against cellular damage.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: They are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium, which supports heart health.
  • Low in Calories: Cherry tomatoes are low in calories and high in water content, making them a great addition to a balanced diet.

Baby Spinach

Baby spinach is a nutrient-dense leafy green:

  • Rich in Vitamins: It is high in vitamins A, C, and K, which support immune health, skin health, and blood clotting.
  • Iron: Spinach provides a good amount of iron, essential for transporting oxygen in the blood.
  • Antioxidants: It contains antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote eye health.

Bell Peppers (Diced)

Bell peppers are colourful and nutritious:

  • High in Vitamin C: Bell peppers are one of the richest sources of vitamin C, which supports the immune system and skin health.
  • Antioxidants: They contain antioxidants like beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A, supporting vision and immune function.
  • Fibre: Bell peppers are high in dietary fibre, aiding digestion and promoting satiety.

Mushrooms (Sliced)

Mushrooms add flavour and nutrition to meals:

  • Vitamins and Minerals: They are a good source of B vitamins (especially B2 and B3), selenium, and copper, which support energy metabolism and antioxidant defence.
  • Low in Calories: Mushrooms are low in calories but high in nutrients, making them a great addition to any diet.
  • Beta-Glucans: They contain beta-glucans, which can boost immune function.

Establishing healthy eating habits in children is no small feat, but it's one of the most valuable gifts we can give them.

By starting early and making nutritious choices accessible and enjoyable, we set our kids up for a healthier future.

Remember, it's not just about what we feed them, but also about how we involve them in the process.

Encourage your little ones to explore new flavours, participate in meal prep, and make food fun.

With patience and persistence, these habits will become second nature to them. We hope these recipes inspire you and your family to embrace a healthier, happier lifestyle together.

Happy cooking!