Hello mamas! I have shared before how difficult it is to find foods for my super picky eaters. These girls of mine simply will NOT take even one bite if they don’t want to. So, I end up wasting a lot of food. I try not to make food a struggle at our house, but I think sometimes it just is. Other times I find myself doctoring up their most favorite food on the planet: Mac and Cheese. But, hell hath no fury like a child who does not get the right shaped pasta in her mac and cheese. It MUST be shells NOT elbows. Lesson learned.

Here is how I sneak in a little extra nutrition into their favorite boxed mac and cheese. (Yes, boxed because they won’t eat my super amazing from scratch recipe).

Picky mac and cheese


Favorite Box of Mac and Cheese

Nutritional Yeast

Winter squash, pureed (can also use sweet potato, cauliflower to go unnoticed)

Avocado mayo (optional)

Why avocado mayo? Well, it’s adding in some extra healthy fats which little developing brains need.

Why nutritional yeast? The nutritional yeast is rich with B-vitamins which my kids may not get enough of because of their limited food choices. Helps sneak in a little extra fiber and minerals too.

Why veggie puree? The hidden veggies gives an extra boost of fiber and vitamins.

Here’s how I make it.

Boil macaroni according to package directions.

picky mac and cheese 2

While the pasta is draining, I put in the amount of butter specified on the package and get it melting.

picky mac and cheese 3

Once it is melted I add in the veggie puree and mayo. Once it is all mixed I add in the cheese packet and the nutritional yeast (which I have been able to convince my kids it is a “cheese booster”) and milk. Once all of that is mixed well I add the pasta back into the pot and stir.

picky mac and cheese 4

My kids will eat the entire box together. Some nights this is all they will eat despite me serving their favorite veggies and fish sticks, or chicken nuggets along side of it. Having all that extra stuff mixed inside the mac and cheese is like a little nutritional insurance policy. I don’t worry about what they aren’t eating because I know what little they are eating is still packed with good stuff.

picky mac and cheese 5

I have to admit, some of these ingredients do not seem appetizing on their own. I thought nutritional yeast just sounded so gross until I actually tried it for myself. Also, who puts mayo in their mac and cheese, right? But, none of these ingredients are even detectable when masked behind the cheese. It also helps to NEVER let your kids see what you add into the sauce! Afterall, the secret is in the sauce. 😉

If you have a picky eater making you jump through a lot of hoops to get them to eat, hang in there! Despite my kids desire to subsist on macaroni and cheese alone, they are thriving and hovering in that 80th percentile.

Got a sure fire, tried and true way to get your picky eater to eat their veggies? Please share in the comments below!

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

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37 Comments on Picky Eaters Party of Two – My Hidden Nutrition Mac and Cheese

  1. haha – I was also laughing at the nutritional yeast! You are smart to recreate their fave meals with healthy perks included. Its a win-win for all involved!
    Karen | GlamKaren.com

  2. I’m not a picky eater and I would gobble this right up! I have never heard of nutritional yeast before, but I definitely want to look into it. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. I had a VERY picky eater. I read once before a child will even willingly try a new food he has to be introduced to it 3-5 times. So, I would put a small portion on his plate at dinner when we had it. EVENTUALLY he tried it on his own! We have tried this with many hings, mostly vegetables. Works like a charm even now and he is 9!

    • I have done the same. My girls just are reluctant to even try new foods. Like tantrums for even suggesting it. So, I just work with what they will eat so neither of us has to stress. 🙂

  4. I can’t tell you how much I was looking for a post like this. My youngest LOVES mac and cheese, but I don’t like the processed way it comes. THIS is going in my recipe book.

    • Awesome! I know the avocado mayo is a little less traditional, but sneaking in the veggies and adding in “cheesey booster” doesn’t take away from the deliciousness factor. 🙂

  5. oh I think I have you topped with my son . The worst – he would never eat mac and cheese – still to this day – at 14 he won’t. We are going on a class trip for 4 days and I keep asking him what is he going to eat – he’s so picky.

  6. I feel like so many parents write about their children being picky eaters. It seems you have really figured this and can help so many parents.

  7. That sure is an interesting way of making it. I usually sometimes add mixed vegetables to mine to give them that extra boost of veggies. With the cheese covering it, it tastes so much better.

  8. I should definitely try to hide some veggies in the mac n cheese. My daughter wants it every day, and I just tell her she cannot eat it every day of her life! It’s a fight, but..

  9. This looks delicious! I love nutritional yeast and put it on my salads everyday (and popcorn too!), I never thought to put it with mac and cheese though, I bet my kids would love this.

  10. Where do you find veggie puree? I have tried blending spinach leaves and putting in lasagne. My daughter loved it and didn’t know the difference! She also like smoothies and I can get away with all kinds of fruit.

  11. LOVE THIS!
    Reminds me that I saw recently on youtube someone put shredded zuchinni in oatmeal and I was hesitant to try it but really you CANNOT taste it at all!

  12. Hahaha I love this!!!! I so do the same thing with my daughters food. She decides all the time she now “hates” things so hiding the healthy stuff it is

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