When I work with families who have a child with picky eating, I’m always encouraging them to cook with their kids! This is the best way for kids to have positive food exposures, which is the first step to accepting new foods.
Cooking takes away the intimidation of having to take a bite while giving them the exposure of sight, smell, and perhaps the tactile feel by touching.
Here are some recipes I’ve tested and tried with my kids and are wonderful first recipes to try with your own. Many older kids will be able to make these by themselves. For more support and ideas for cooking with kids, see my blog post; Getting Kids Involved in The Kitchen.
If your child doesn’t enjoy the green vegetables or salad but does love a crunchy snack, they may be into Kale Chips. These are so simple to prepare and my kids gobble them up.
I love to include foods with protein and healthy fats in a meal or snack for kids and hummus is a perfect fit with the high fiber and protein-dense garbanzo beans paired with olive oil and sesame seed paste (Tahini) for some healthy fats.
Most kids are pasta lovers and are more open to eating more foods with pasta, which makes pesto a great food to have them learn to make. With calcium-rich parmesan and the healthy fats of olive oil, it’s a great match to their favorite pasta. When they are loving pesto, it’s easy to explore and try some spinach leaves or kale in the Cuisinart to slowly introduce them to other greens besides basil.
A great way to boost your child’s calcium, protein, and fruit intake is with a smoothie made with milk, yogurt, and fruit. There are so many ways to change this up. I love to include avocado and frozen banana with frozen blueberries and yogurt or what my kid’s know as the “Chunky Monkey” a smoothie with frozen bananas, peanut butter, milk, and cocoa powder. My non-milk-drinking kiddo can’t get enough of these and I’m happy to make them for an afternoon snack.
Like the kale chips, this is another simple ingredient recipe to cook with your child and makes a great nutrient-dense snack.
A great breakfast option that many older kids can learn to do on their own. There are some great lasting energy foods in bread (especially wholegrain) milk and eggs to start the day. I recommend serving with a scoop of yogurt and drizzle of syrup if they prefer it to be sweeter.
Avocados are a wonderful healthy fat to include with meals and snack to provide some lasting energy. A lot of kids aren’t big fans of a plain sliced avocado but will be eager to dip into this delicious guacamole.
This recipe has been an all-time favorite in our kitchen. These One-Bowl Lunchbox Energy bites make an easy snack or added treat to their lunch. This recipe is a nut-free option since it uses sunflower butter, but any nut butter can make an easy swap-out if your family prefers.