Fill them up with these tasty meals that aren’t chicken nuggets
Protein-packed meals and picky eaters don’t always go hand-in-hand. If your little one gags at anything but buttered noodles and you’re wondering where they’ll get their high-protein foods from, we have recipes and high-protein foods for picky eaters that kids will actually eat (especially if you adjust these ideas to their taste). From yummy breakfast shakes to easy dinner ideas, keep reading to find your new secret weapon.
High-Protein Breakfast Foods for Picky Eaters
Peanut Butter Cup Protein Shake
What kiddo says no to a peanut butter cup shake? None that we've met. This is a high-protein packed shake that's perfect for busy mornings, and especially for tweens who have a hard time eating breakfast. Get the recipe from Chelsea's Messy Apron.
Soft Boiled Eggs and Soldiers
Soft-boiled eggs are ready in five minutes, and when paired with buttered sticks of toast (soldiers) which the kids can dunk in the runny yolk, they're as fun as they are convenient. Head to Eat Live Run for tips and tricks on how to boil the perfect egg.
Peanut Butter Waffles with Peanut Butter Syrup
Having waffles for breakfast? Skip the regular syrup and whip up this delicious peanut butter syrup for a perfect high-protein food for picky eaters. Plus add a double dose of protein with this scrumptious peanut butter waffle recipe written out at Creations by Kara.
Chocolate Chip Banana Protein Muffins
Picky eaters will be so excited about the chocolate chip muffin aspect that they won’t even notice the protein powder you add to the mix. These are a great on-the-go breakfast option!
High-Protein Foods for Picky Eaters Perfect for Lunch
Simple, easy-to-make, and pleasing to pint-sized taste buds—pizzadillas. It's the perfect combo pizza, and quesadilla all wrapped up. Blair over at The Seasoned Mom serves this savory dish with dipping sauce.
Skewered food often works for picky eaters, perhaps because there’s something of the lollipop about it. With this chicken satay dish from Eat Yourself Skinny, you get double the dose of protein from the chicken and the peanut sauce.
Power Protein Bowls
Choose-your-own-adventure meets the dinner table with this build-your-own-bowl idea from Liz's Healthy Table. All the choices are healthy with a choice of ready-to-eat teriyaki tofu, egg, edamame, bell pepper, and sugar snap peas. When kids get control over what goes on their plates, they might even be a little braver when tasting new foods.
High-Protein Meals for Picky Eaters to Add to Your Dinner Recipe Rotation
Healthy Chicken Meatballs
Yummy Toddler Food knows the challenges of getting little ones to eat something that'll fill their bellies! This four-ingredient recipe for chicken meatballs will be a crowd-pleaser, and they're super easy to whip up. Get the recipe from Yummy Toddler Food.
A classic carbonara has no cream and no heavy sauce because the eggs do all the work, making it both light and decadent at the same time. This recipe from Scrummy Lane gives lots of tips on how to make the perfect carbonara.
Teriyaki Pineapple Salmon
Aloha! Little eaters love sweet foods. So serve up salmon with teriyaki sauce and grilled pineapple. Even more, the meaty salmon texture tastes good in little mouths. Unicorns in the Kitchen gives us this easy 30-minute recipe that your half-pints will eat up (keep the pineapple for yourself!).
Homemade Hamburger Helper
If your picky eater is hankering for something savory then this 30-minute instant pot hamburger helper packs in the protein. Stir in cheese when this delicious dish is ready to get your little one to eat up. If you don't have an instant pot, go here for the stove-top version.
Sweet and Savory Chicken Stir Fry
Putting veg on the side of a simple rice dish allows kids to know exactly what they're eating and sometimes a suspicious ingredient is all it takes for a point-blank refusal to eat. This stir-fry recipe from our archives is a mix of sweet and savory flavors that's easy to prepare—just mince the onion small or omit it altogether.
Chili Con Carne for Kids
Warm up your household with this mild chile con carne made just for kids. The best part besides the 18 grams of protein per serving is the four veggies in this delightful dish. Find the recipe at My Fussy Eater.
Sweet and savory is always a good combo, and this orange chicken recipe from Kitchen Sanctuary fits the description. This is a high protein-packed meal we’re sure will make picky eaters will rejoice.
Simple Homemade Fish Sticks
Little diners will get hooked on these crunchy fish sticks from Super Healthy Kids. You'll be glad to know the breading has a secret ingredient—flax seeds—so these fish sticks are not only high in protein, but the crunchy outside and mild softer inside make them easy to gobble up.
Homemade Spaghettios and Meatballs
A childhood favorite that's made up fresh? Sign us up! With 34 grams of protein per serving, this spaghetti and meatballs recipe from Shugary Sweets is perfect for picky eaters. She uses turkey meatballs to lighten up the dish. Add in a veggie, like carrots, with dipping sauce as a side dish.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
When kids can get creative with their food at the table, they start seeing it as something other than "yucky." This chicken taco filling is the starting point for dinnertime creativity—add in other taco toppings like cheese, fresh tomato, avocado and lettuce, and those picky eaters might just surprise you! Head to Dinner At The Zoo for the recipe.
Deconstructed Soba Noodle Soup
Don't let the picture put you off—plenty of picky eaters wouldn't go near a soup with the ingredients all mushed in together but Meredith at Feed Them Wisely says this delicious ginger coconut chicken soup can be deconstructed and all the ingredients served separately. While the soup option works for adults, kids get to taste the same flavors (and protein-packed soba noodles), just with a tweaked presentation—genius!
Butternut Squash Mac 'N' Cheese
Sneaking veggies into a mac and cheese is super tempting as a parent and this recipe from A Sweet Pea Chef contains butternut squash and extra protein from Greek yogurt and parmesan cheese. This take on an old favorite can be prepped ahead of time and either stored in the refrigerator or frozen until ready to bake.