5 Tips To Feed Your Fussy Eater

If you have a fussy eater, these kids tiffin recipes will help! 'How to get your child to eat' made easy.

If you have a fussy eater at home, these kids tiffin recipes will help! ‘How to get your child to eat’ made easy.

By Lavanya Donthamshetty

Hands up if you have a fussy eater at home – especially a pint-sized one. Chances are, every home contains at least one, who is well-versed in the art of driving mum to distraction with the incessant “I don’t like this!” or, as my three-year-old puts it, “I CAN’T like it, mummy!” Every mum I know has her own horror story of trying to get their fusspot to eat their greens or carrots or whatever.

So, how do you feed the fussy eater? Here are some healthy recipes for kids plus tips to get your child to eat better!

Fussy Eaters : Attack by stealth!

No amount of begging or pleading will bend their will to suit our purposes and this is where the mum’s best weapon comes into play – stealth. If your child will not eat the egg yolk under any circumstances, giving them a boiled egg for breakfast and then haranguing them for not obliging will not help your frayed nerves one bit.

My son fell into this category – one fine morning, he decided that he’ll have nothing to do with the egg, especially the ‘yucky, yellow bit’. So I made him eat the white with the spoon and mashed the yolk into his sandwich filling.

Children go off certain foods for the strangest of reasons. What they gulped down happily till the previous day might suddenly get labelled ‘YUCK!’. My son, when he was five, suddenly decided to stop eating tomatoes. Why? Because a friend of his told him eating tomatoes will cause him to turn red! Seriously! From where do children come up with such things?

From my personal experience and from asking other mums, here are the top five ways of fooling your fussy eater. Use these tips to make lunch or tiffin for kids healthy and interesting!

Healthy recipes for kids – well-disguised

Call it ‘vegetable dosa’ and your child may balk at it. Label it ‘pizza dosa’ and it just might go down easier. But make your claim good – scatter finely diced colourful veggies like deseeded tomatoes, onions, sweet corn or paneer and present it to them with some home-made ketchup, complete with a fork and a knife for them to cut up their ‘pizza’.

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Cartoons R Us

Noon, a blogger pal is famous in certain circles for her recipe of avocado paratha. My kids, who found the highly nutritious avocado inedible, fell in love with the ‘Shrek Chapati’. The mashed avocado mixed in with the chapati dough turned it a shade of green that was a major hit with them thanks to Dreamworks. This worked similarly well with spinach. Enterprising mums can mash and mix all kinds of forbidden veggies thus.

Healthy milkshake recipes work!

It surely does – when children are raring to go and shed their energy, tying them down to the chair and making them eat a meal off the plate may be well nigh impossible. Whizzing some fruits with whole milk is a much easier way to get some good stuff into them. Apples, strawberries, bananas, mangoes, oranges – anything that can be shaken with milk can be done so and fed to eager children. If your child hates milk but is okay with curd, then make smoothies with yogurt instead. Simple!

Even fussy eaters love fries!

Does your little one like burgers? Or cutlets? Well then your battle is half won. Make a patty with cooked potato and hide all the dreaded vegetables (diced and steamed) into it, shallow fry using ghee, shove it between two buns (or skip buns if the kid says so), serve with lashings of homemade ketchup. Make some baked sweet potato/carrot fries with that and round off a treat meal.

Cheesy does it!

My son is not very fussy and eats most things (and this includes bittergourd) but there is one thing that is guaranteed to make him open his mouth wider than normal. And that magic ingredient is cheese. Mozzarella, cheddar, ricotta or paneer he loves them all. Cheese triangles, grated cheeses, baked cheese; well, these are all ways to his heart. From what I’ve seen, most children are the same. So indulge them. Marinate paneer, bake it and serve for a yummy tea time treat. Dice into cubes and serve as cheese ‘kebabs’ by alternating with cubes of their favourite fruit and stringing them on a stick; grate a mix of cheeses and drizzle them on dishes to bump up the ‘oomph’ factor – cheese can lift any dish from being boring to yummy. Try it!

These are just a few ways of not letting your children get away with sidelining certain fruits and vegetables. I am sure you have more tricks up your sleeve. Why not share them in the comments section?

And finally, here is a fun recipe for pancake balls that kids will definitely love!

Pancake Balls

My children love pancakes – both the taste and the process of making it. The European pancakes are more like crepes, thin like dosas rather than the thick discs the Americans prefer. This is a fun variant of the dish that will bring a smile to your child’s face.

You’d need a kuzhi paniyaram chatti to make this.


Maida (plain flour) – 1 cup

Eggs – 2

Milk – 2 cups

Vanilla flavouring – 1 tsp

Salt – to taste

Sugar – 1 tsp

Ghee (clarified butter), as needed

A cup of diced soft fruits (banana / berries)


Beat the eggs well. Gently sieve the flour into this and keep mixing well with a fork, making sure no lumps are formed. Slowly add the milk, whilst stirring the mixture constantly. This is very important to get a smooth batter. Add a few drops of vanilla and stir it in.

Sprinkle salt and sugar, mix well and set aside for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, warm the kuzhi paniyaram pan. Once it heats up, add a dollop of ghee into each cup. Pour a ladleful of batter into each cup, taking care that it doesn’t overflow. Fill all the cups similarly. Cook for 3-4 minutes.

When the batter is not sloshing at the top of the cup, gently raise the edge of one ball to check if it is done. Tease the edge and slowly flip it over. Let it cook on the other side. Repeat for all the balls.

After two minutes, when everything is cooked, take off the pan and onto a plate. Scatter the diced fruits over the pancake balls and serve drizzled with maple syrup or honey.


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