Food

40 Recipes That Will Help Picky Eaters Enjoy More Healthy Meals

We all have picky eaters in our lives. From kids that want to live on a diet of mac and cheese and hotdogs to partners who… Trista - March 29, 2022

We all have picky eaters in our lives. From kids that want to live on a diet of mac and cheese and hotdogs to partners who have never touched a green in their life, trying to get our picky eaters to eat healthier can be a challenge. Alternatively, maybe the picky eater is you, and you’re trying to expand your recipe collection with tasty, healthy, and appealing options. We’ve collected 40 easy, delicious recipes that are either twists on classic favorites or flavorful ways to get veggies and fruits into your picky eater’s meals. Read on to learn more about each recipe.

Bon Appetit

40. Vegetarian Carbonara

Who doesn’t love a delicious, cheesy noodle? This vegetarian carbonara dish replaces the classic flavors of pancetta and guanciale – or bacon, if you can’t get these – with asparagus, smoked paprika, and oodles of garlic. The light sauce still packs a ton of flavor, and the asparagus is a nice textural note to replace the crunch from the pancetta. While you can use traditional parmigiano-reggiano with this dish, it’s important to note that most use animal rennet when being made. If you want the meal to be truly vegetarian, get cheese that specifies its vegetarian-safe. 

All Recipes

39. Apple Curry Turkey Pita

This super-simple and flavorful apple curry turkey pita can be made in just 10 minutes, and you probably have most, if not all, of the ingredients around your house. A great option for leftover Thanksgiving turkey, this filling is easily adjustable based on what you have. Replace the turkey with chicken, the yogurt with sour cream, or consider putting the filling into tortillas for easy and delicious wraps. With healthy ingredients like apples and yogurt and lean meat like turkey, this is a low-calorie filling option for lunches and even easy dinners.

Eat This

38. Creamy Mushroom Chicken Recipe with Greek Yogurt 

Do you need something hearty, filling, and affordable for dinner? You can’t go wrong with this creamy mushroom chicken recipe. Even people who are hesitant about mushrooms won’t be able to deny the rich, flavorful sauce that coats the chicken, and replacing some of the half-and-half with Greek yogurt lets you enhance the sauce without adding too many calories. Full of rich umami flavor, this dish comes together quickly in the evenings and can even be made ahead if necessary. Introduce vitamin-packed mushrooms into your picky eater’s diet with this, and we guarantee they’ll be begging for more.

Diet Hood

37. Mushroom and Zucchini Skillet

We know what you’re thinking. A mushroom and zucchini skilletHow could I convince my picky eater to try this? However, wait until you smell it cooking – it’ll be irresistible! Plus, it’s full of healthy ingredients, like onions, garlic, and, of course, mushrooms and zucchini. Sautéing the veggies helps wake up the flavor and bring everything together in a delicious, herby, garlicky dish that’s perfect as a comforting side dish or a light summer dinner. You can even turn it into a casserole by transferring it to a baking dish, topping it with cheese and buttered breadcrumbs, and baking it. No one can turn down a cheesy, baked casserole, even one full of veggies.

Delish

36. Chicken Parm Stuffed Peppers

Who doesn’t love a good chicken parm? Breaded chicken, cheese, delicious marinara – our mouths are watering just thinking about it! This chicken parm stuffed peppers recipe skips the spaghetti and uses peppers to contain all that cheesy goodness, reducing the overall carbs and calories and adding a tasty bite of bright veggie flavor to a traditionally heavy dish. You can either bread the chicken yourself or buy pre-breaded chicken at the store to make the meal even easier.

BBC Good Food

35. One-Pan Egg & Veg Brunch

The bright, fun colors of this one-pan brunch dish are immediately appealing, whether you love veggies or not. A simple meal of potatoes and eggs is jazzed up with the addition of peppers and zucchini, and the soft eggs are great for mixing into the vegetables or for dipping toast into. It’s a one-pan dish also, aside from boiling the potatoes, so minimal cleanup is involved in the prep. You could even top with cheese or add some crushed red pepper for a spicy kick.

Eat Well 101

34. Baked Salmon in Foil with Asparagus and Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce

Salmon and asparagus is a classic pairing, and this foil-baked recipe guarantees a delicious turnout every time. Buttery, lemony, garlicky, and bright, this dish is also low-carb, gluten-free, and full of healthy fats and vitamins. Plus, it’s easy to make and easy to clean – each serving is wrapped in an individual foil package. Simply put all the ingredients together and bake for around 10 minutes, and you have a delicious meal that everyone can enjoy. Moreover, if you don’t like asparagus, this dish also works well with green beans, brussels sprouts, carrots, and more.

Real Food

33. Broccoli Pesto Pasta

We know broccoli can be a hard sell, but have you tried using it to make pesto? That’s what you’ll be doing in this broccoli pesto penne dish. This vegetarian meal only takes 20 minutes from start to finish and adds fragrant chili and garlic as a topping to elevate the dish. Even if your picky eater hates greens, the vibrant flavors of this pesto will convert them into a true broccoli lover. This dish is easy for new cooks to master and tastes like a professional made it.

Beauty Bites

32. Avocado Chicken Lunch Bowls

If you need a quick and healthy lunch option during the week, these avocado chicken lunch bowls are a great option. Chicken thighs are packed with flavor and healthy fats, and the vegetables can be customized to match what you’ve got in your cabinets or fridge. This is another 20-minute meal that makes three servings and is delicious in the colder months when a variety of fresh produce isn’t always available. The creaminess of the avocado mixing with the flavorful chicken and tender broccoli means that even picky eaters will be able to enjoy it.

The Endless Meal

31. Healthy Chicken Alfredo

Sometimes you can’t get your picky eater to agree to veggies, no matter how hard you try. That’s where this chicken alfredo comes in handy. This recipe uses cauliflower instead of using the typical heavy cream and butter in an alfredo sauce. Combining the cauliflower with garlic, onion, and other vital ingredients gives you a creamy, delicious sauce, almost like the real thing. The whole dish takes only about 30 minutes to cook so that you can have dinner on the table quickly and easily.

Green and Keto

30. Keto Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breasts

Do you need a low-carb meal for your picky eater? Try this take on a traditional breaded chicken recipe. These parmesan-crusted chicken breasts can be served on top of zucchini noodles, in sandwich form, or even topped with some marinara and mozzarella for decadent chicken parmesan. Even better, the chicken only takes about 10 minutes to cook and can be used in various ways, so this one recipe can be a central component to many different healthy meals. 

Eat Well 101

29. Hamburger Beef Soup

Who doesn’t love a good soup, especially in the fall and winter? This hamburger beef soup is full of tasty, healthy ingredients and pulls together in under an hour. You can make a big batch and freeze some for future meals – the soup lasts for up to a month frozen. Furthermore, while green beans and celery might not be classic hamburger ingredients, they meld perfectly with the rich flavors of the hamburger and tomato for a comforting, warming meal that will be popular with everyone, no matter how choosy they can be.

Country Living

28. Carrot and Black Bean Crispy Tacos

Take advantage of the robust flavors in classic taco seasoning to convince your picky eaters to enjoy this vegetarian take on the classic taco. These carrot and black bean crispy tacos replace the traditional ground beef with well-seasoned baked carrots and fragrant onions and peppers mixed with black beans. Moreover, while the recipe uses whole-grain taco shells, you can use whatever you want, like tortillas for burritos or taco bowls for a tasty taco salad. Serve it taco bar style and let your picky eaters top with whatever they choose, or plate it with avocado and queso fresco for a more authentic flavor.  

Instrupix

27. Crispy Cheese Baked Broccoli

Broccoli makes another appearance on our healthy recipe list with this crispy cheese baked broccoli side dish. This recipe is popular with kids and parents alike. It calls for Italian breadcrumbs, parmesan, and cheddar cheese to elevate the broccoli to stardom. Imagine it like a vegetarian chicken nugget – the broccoli gets crisp on the outside while staying tender on the inside when it bakes. This can also be served as a healthy snack option since broccoli is full of vitamins C and A; a serving of broccoli contains nearly your whole day’s worth.

Dinner at the Zoo

26. Taco Pinwheels

Ah, the pinwheel sandwich. This perfect finger food is a staple at parties and a great option for a light, healthy midday snack. Furthermore, these taco pinwheels are a great way to use up leftover chicken that you don’t want to waste. They take only 20 minutes to make and give you a generous plateful with enough for leftovers. If your picky eater absolutely refuses bell pepper, no problem. You can replace the peppers with any type of veggie you like. Corn, olives, and canned green chilis are all great options.

Eat Well 101

25. Blackened Shrimp and Asparagus Skillet 

This 20-minute, one-pan blackened shrimp and asparagus skillet is packed with bold flavor and is quick and easy to get on the table. You can make your own blackened seasoning mix or buy a blend to make the prep work even easier. This dish is low-carb and gluten-free and is the perfect weeknight dinner option. You can change up the seasonings to create nearly endless variations on this meal, and even picky eaters won’t be able to resist the crisp-tender asparagus and juicy shrimp.

Taste

24. Healthy Tuna Mornay

This healthy tuna mornay recipe is a modernized, healthy take on a classic comfort-food tuna pasta dish. Replacing the pasta with brown rice and adding zucchini to accompany the green beans and tuna helps cut the carbs and calories while still giving plenty of flavors. The rich sauce is delicious, and the crisp, bubbly parmesan top makes this baked dish practically irresistible! This dish is also easy to customize – sub broccoli for zucchini or use canned salmon instead of tuna.

Health.com

23. Vietnamese Zucchini Noodles Recipe

If you’re trying to reduce your carb intake but you just love noodles, this Vietnamese zucchini noodles recipe is a perfect option for both you and your picky eater. The bright Asian flavors of the sauce pair perfectly with the shrimp and zucchini for a light, delicious meal that makes everyone happy. Plus, zucchini is filled with essential nutrients like vitamin C and potassium. You can buy your zucchini noodles or create your own. The base of this dish is versatile and can support a ton of different flavors, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

That Low Carb Life

22. Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Do you need an easy-to-make dish that’s sure to impress? These spinach-stuffed chicken breasts are like magic. Who can say no to a cheese-stuffed chicken breast, even if that chicken happens to have spinach in it? No one, that’s who! The ingredients are simple and come together quickly, and the whole thing comes together in under an hour. Serve it with a veggie side dish, a salad, or over pasta; the sky’s the limit with this versatile main.

BBC Good Food

21. Mushroom and Basil Omelet with Smashed Tomato

This vegetarian breakfast is full of creamy, delicious flavors that are hard to resist. Combining the mushroom and basil omelet with smashed tomatoes is made with a few simple ingredients but tastes incredible and hearty. The brightness of the basil and tomato is a perfect complement for the earthy richness of the mushrooms and cream cheese and is an excellent dish for someone who might not be the mushroom’s biggest fan. Add cayenne pepper for some spice, or top with avocado and salsa for an entirely different taste.

Delish

20. Caprese Zoodles

You’ve heard of chicken Caprese and Caprese salad, but have you heard of Caprese zoodles? The zucchini noodles are a great addition to the summery sweetness of cherry tomatoes and the creaminess of the mozzarella balls. It takes no time to make this delicious spring and summer meal. Picky eaters will love that the veggies are paired with creamy cheese and the bright sharpness of balsamic vinegar, and you’ll love how easy it is to get on the table.

Well Plated

19. Tofu Stir Fry

Tofu is one of the most flexible and versatile vegetarian protein options out there, and this tofu stir fry shows that off in spades. Crisping up quickly in a single pan, you can go from prep to meal in less than 30 minutes. Moreover, while this recipe uses baby spinach and chili paste, you can use whatever veggies and seasonings you’ve got on hand. For example, this would be a great way to use some canned mixed veggies. Serve with quinoa, brown rice, cauliflower rice, or even on its own for a lighter option. Picky eaters will love the crispy tofu and flavorful veggies.

A Sweet Pea Chef

18. Garlic Roasted Pork Chops

With five ingredients and 25 minutes, you can put together healthy, juicy, flavorful pork chops sure to please even the pickiest palate. These pork chops are seared on the stove and finished off in the oven for maximum flavor. You probably have most of the ingredients at home, so you don’t even have to go grocery shopping. They can be served with just about anything as a side; try classic mashed potatoes or some roasted veggies for a healthier twist. 

Eat Well 101

17. Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles

Another one-pan dinner that comes together in less than 30 minutes, this lemon garlic butter shrimp with zucchini noodles dish is perfect for a light dinner or to make ahead for meal prep. The zucchini noodles add a light crunch and freshness to the dish and taste divine with the lemon garlic butter sauce. This meal is simple to make and sure to impress anyone you’re serving it to, and even picky eaters will enjoy the zoodles when they’re covered in the delicious sauce.

Kerbie Cravings

16. Omelet Muffins

Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day and starting with these omelet muffins can set a healthy tone for the entire day. They’re portable, delicious, and can be filled with your favorite omelet ingredients to customize the recipe. You can even add meat if you want, as long as it’s fully cooked before entering the mix. Picky eaters will love the ability to customize the recipe and the fact that you can make a bunch and freeze them for later.

Womans Day

15. Glazed Pork and Apple Kebabs

Pork and apples are a classic combination, and these glazed pork and apple kebabs take this traditional pairing to the next level with an apricot glaze and a flavorful dressing for the side salad. Charring the skewers on a conventional grill only takes about 10 minutes. However, if you don’t have a grill, you can also use a cast-iron skillet or another flat-bottomed pan to brown the skewers on all sides. This dish is full of protein and low on fat and calories, making it an excellent healthy option that won’t strain a picky eater’s palate. 

Country Living

14. Cauliflower Mac’ n Cheese

Is there anything more perfect in life than a plate full of ooey, gooey mac and cheese? The classic comfort food is big on flavor; unfortunately, it’s also big on calories. Nevertheless, with this cauliflower mac and cheese recipe, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite dish again. You use cauliflower instead of white sauce as a base for your cheese sauce, cutting out calories and fat while still getting a creamy, delectable flavor similar to the original. This dish is great for picky kids as well.

Food Network

13. Chicken in Red Pepper Sauce

This chicken in red pepper sauce is a deceptively simple-looking dish packed with flavor. The red pepper sauce may look like marinara but offers a totally different taste. And while green beans are the suggested side dish, the chicken is the real star. Full of protein and low on carbs and fat, this main dish is a healthy, tasty option to add to your meal rotation. You can pair it with anything from salad to spaghetti and still enjoy a healthy, bright meal that takes less than an hour to fix.  

Brit.co

12. Sweet Potato Egg Boats

Sweet potatoes are health-food powerhouses. Versatile and packed with nutrients, sweet potatoes are an excellent option for a hearty breakfast that’ll keep you full and energized all day long. Plus, who doesn’t love bacon and eggs? The sweet potato egg boat recipe calls for both, along with avocado and a healthy helping of salt and pepper. Moreover, while sweet potatoes can take a long time to roast, you can always prep the potato and pop it in the microwave if you’re in a hurry. Add your seasonings and toppings to make this breakfast your perfect morning pick-me-up.

Womans Day

11. Pork, Carrot, and Chickpea Stew

With a slow cooker and a little care, you can make this flavorful and filling pork, carrot, and chickpea stew that will appeal to even the pickiest appetite. Even a veggie hater won’t be able to resist the smell of this tasty meal. Chickpeas, carrots, and other vegetables add essential nutrients, and the dried apricots help balance out the acidity from the tomatoes and add a mild sweetness that complements the different flavors. Prep it in the morning and enjoy a tasty dinner at the end of the day.

Jar of Lemons

10. Spicy Salmon Tacos with Avocado-Lime Dressing

These super-adaptable spicy salmon tacos are easy to put together and taste incredible. Salmon is one of the healthiest fishes, packed with Omega-3s and other essential nutrients. Paired with a slaw made from cabbage, corn, and beans – or whatever your favorite veggies are – these tacos are full of incredible textures and flavors. This healthy take on traditional tacos is a picky eater’s dream, blending familiar flavors with new ingredients that appeal to everyone’s taste buds.

Biana Zapatka

9. Veggie Wraps with Hummus

This vegan veggie wrap recipe is a super-quick and easy meal to throw together and is packed full of veggies and fiber to help you feel fuller for longer. While the base dish uses gluten-free vegetable tortillas, you can use any you have on hand or even make your own. The recipe is more of a guideline than hard and fast rules; the recommended veggies are delicious, but you can change the recipe to use any type of veggies you like. Picky eaters will enjoy the versatility and simplicity of these wraps because they can change the filling to suit their palate while still enjoying plenty of health benefits.

Moms Secrets.co

8. Tuna Egg Salad

Tuna salad is delicious, and so is egg salad, so this keto-friendly, low-carb tuna egg salad takes the best parts of both dishes and combines them for a truly delectable treat. You’ll only need a few minutes to toss this light and refreshing tuna egg salad together, making it perfect for meal prepping or a light dinner. You can eat the salad on its own or turn it into a sandwich or healthy wrap for convenience. You can also add in various mix-ins, like celery, avocado, or even pickles, to change up the flavor and make the dish your own.

Pulses.org

7. White Bean and Tuna Quesadillas with Cherry Tomato Pico

Tuna makes another appearance in this white bean and tuna quesadilla recipe. It’s an excellent source of flavor and protein while being low-fat and nutrient-filled. Made with fiber-packed white beans and sweet cherry tomatoes, this quesadilla will fill you up without weighing you down. A picky eater would love these simple quesadillas, which work great for a fast and easy lunch or dinner. You can even make them ahead of time and store them in the fridge; just give them a quick microwave or pop them in the oven for a few minutes to reheat.

Eating Well

6. Garlic & Rosemary Roast Pork Loin

The Instant Pot has taken the world by storm, and with recipes like this garlic and rosemary roast pork loin, it’s easy to see why! Pork roasts can take hours in the oven, but this main dish comes together in under an hour with the Instant Pot. This tender and flavorful pork is low in calories and carbs while being high in protein, filling you up quickly and keeping you full. Pair it with a side salad or one of our other side dishes – like the cauliflower mac ‘n cheese above – for a meal that tastes decadent while still being good for you.

Cooking Light

5. Herbed Mediterranean Fish with Wilted Greens

We know that wilted greens don’t sound like the most appetizing thing in the world, but when paired with this incredible herbed Mediterranean fish, you’ll be going back for seconds. Mushrooms, onion, and garlic pair well with kale’s slight bitterness and enhance the brightness of the tomato. This dish is sure to please when combined with your fragrant, well-seasoned fish. Plus, it takes only 30 minutes to make. This meal is a great example of how a well-seasoned meal doesn’t need extra dressings or fats to be delicious.  

Eating Well

4. Curried Pork Chops with Roasted Apples & Leeks

Suppose you’re looking for a flavorful way to cook up pork chops; look no further than these curried chops with roasted apples and leeks. The sweet-tart flavor of the apple and leek mixture perfectly complements the spiced pork chops, and the whole meal comes together easily in the oven. And if you’ve never had roasted leeks before, you’re in for a treat; roast the whole leek to enjoy mouthwateringly tender dark green tops. You’ll get fruits, veggies, and lean protein in this dish, making it a great healthy option filled with flavors that most people will love. 

Damn Delicious

3. Baked Popcorn Chicken

Traditional deep-fried popcorn chicken is delicious but isn’t the healthiest choice when looking for a quick and tasty meal option. This baked popcorn chicken elevates the classic recipe with a crispy potato chip crust. You can pick your favorite potato chip flavor to customize your popcorn chicken truly. Even a picky eater will love being able to personalize their popcorn chicken to their exact taste. Eat these alone for a quick lunch or snack, or pair them with a side salad or roasted veggies for a light, flavorful dinner option.

Jar of Lemons

2. Spinach Pesto Goat Cheese Individual Pizzas

No one can turn down a delicious pizza, not even a picky eater! Furthermore, these spinach pesto goat cheese pizzas, packed with flavor and quick to make, are a great way to get some healthy veggies in. You can use naan bread to simplify this recipe, and all you have to do is load the bread with toppings and pop it in the oven. If you’ve got time, make a big batch and freeze them – these pizzas will last up to 3 months and are a delicious quick lunch or dinner.

Delish

1. Bacon Avocado Fries

We hear what you’re saying: bacon? Really? On a healthy meals list? Sure, it’s not the leanest meat, but these low-carb bacon avocado fries are an excellent substitute for regular French fries. Since they’re baked or made in the air fryer, they have less fat and fewer calories than a standard fry, and the avocado is full of essential nutrients and fiber. These fries can be enjoyed on their own as a snack or paired with a healthy main dish, like the parmesan-crusted baked chicken above.

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