5 Healthy recipes for picky eaters

Apr 4, 2011 at 4:31 p.m. ET

Take the fight out of mealtime with these healthy recipes for picky eaters. From mighty mac 'n' cheese to healthy chicken nuggets, we have all the dishes to make mealtime healthy and delicious.

Little girls making sandwich

Mighty Macaroni & Cheese

Not your ordinary macaroni and cheese, this recipe sneaks a powerhouse of veggies into a dish that most kids can't turn down. Yields 4 servings.


  • 3/4 pound macaroni
  • 1 cup cooked asparagus, diced
  • 2 cups spinach, sautéed
  • 1 cup tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded low fat cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese


  1. Cook macaroni in salted water according to package directions.
  2. Melt butter in saucepan; add flour and stir for 1 minute; gradually add milk and stir over low heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar and mascarpone cheeses.
  4. Drain pasta and add to cheese sauce; add asparagus, spinach, onions, and tomatoes; stir until combined.
  5. Transfer to 9 x 5-inch baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F until bubbly.

More tips for disguising vegetables >>

Rock & Roll Twist Wraps

Let the kids help roll up this healthy treat, and they'll feel proud that they helped prepare lunch. Try this recipe with nutritious tuna, too. Yields 2 servings.


  • 2 whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 4 teaspoons light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup mixed lettuce
  • 4 slices oven roasted deli turkey
  • 1/2 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons diced chives


  1. Spread both whole wheat flour tortillas with 2 teaspoons light mayonnaise.
  2. Arrange 1/4 cup mixed lettuce leaves on top of each tortilla.
  3. Top with 2 slices of deli turkey per tortilla; place several tomato slices evenly on top of turkey slices.
  4. Top each tortilla with 1 tablespoon of diced chives.
  5. Roll up tortilla as tightly as possible, using toothpicks to secure, if necessary. Cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

Mini Taco Bowls

Kids love these little edible bowls filled with taco fixings. Yields 4 servings.


  • 4 whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 3/4 pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce (or spinach)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup chunky salsa
  • 1/3 cup low-fat ranch dressing


  1. Microwave tortillas for 30 seconds; mold tortillas into muffin tin, folding edges down to create small bowls; bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  2. In large skillet, brown ground beef; drain; stir in salsa and bring to a boil; simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Fill tortilla bowls with beef and salsa mixture; top with diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, and a drizzle of ranch dressing.
"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 percent of young Americans ages 2 to 19 are obese, meaning they are more than 10 percent over a healthy weight for their height and age. Only 21 percent of young people eat the recommended five or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Even worse, almost half of the 'vegetables' consumed by kids are fried potatoes! Getting enough exercise and staying active is a big part of the equation." Deepak Chopra, M.D.

"Fried" Chicken Nuggets

A childhood favorite gets a healthy, delicious makeover. Yields 4 servings.


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 cups cornflakes, finely crushed
  • 1/2 cup flour


  1. Lightly beat egg with 1 tablespoon of water.
  2. Cut chicken breasts into nugget sizes; coat each nugget in egg mixture, dip in flour, and roll in crushed cornflakes; place on a greased baking sheet; repeat with all nuggets.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees F on the middle rack. Let cool.

Turkey sliders

Your picky eater will love this alternative to the traditional hamburger. Yields 8 sliders.


  • 8 wheat dinner or slider rolls
  • 10-ounces lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup low fat honey mustard


  1. Mix ground turkey and seasonings thoroughly; shape into 8 small patties.
  2. Bake patties on greased cooking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees F, do not overcook.
  3. Warm slider rolls in oven or microwave; spread with low fat honey mustard and top with Italian turkey burger.

Find more healthy recipes for your kids from fast, healthy breakfast recipes to our own Healthy Mom's Cookbook! >>

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