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).
Favorite Box of Mac and Cheese
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.
While the pasta is draining, I put in the amount of butter specified on the package and get it melting.
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.
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.
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!
I love it! I love sneaking veggies into the kids food, to! My pasta sauce is filled with veggies and when I make mashed potatoes, half of the batch is cauliflower.
We started out sneaking in veggies to pasta sauce…back when my kids would actually eat pasta sauce. Now they hate that too. ??
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
I know it seriously just sounds gross. LOL And alone it doesn’t taste crave worthy, but you put it in some cheese and BAM! Delish!
This is so smart and creative. Great way to get the little ones to eat healthier. Great post! xx felinebykatsairs.com
This is the second time today I have read about nutritional yeast in cooking. My kids are pretty good eaters thankfully but they haven’t always been that way.
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 🙂
Apparently it is popular with vegetarians for the B vitamins and protein. Who knew?
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. 🙂
I have to confess this is the first time that I am hearing about avacado mayo but it sounds delicious. I like the idea of an alternative mac and cheese.
Wow you rock I definitely needed this and will be doing iit tomorrow my kids are soooo picky !!
A friend of mine gave me a cook book by Jessica Seinfeld. She has some amazing ways to hide veggies.
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. 🙂
This is so awesome! My kids are so picky, especially my oldest. It drives me all sorts of crazy!
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.
The good news is he hasn’t starved yet. 😉 Gives me hope for my kids.
My kids were never picky when they were little. As teens they are very very picky eaters.
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.
I have had to really get creative. I have never seen such pickiness before! LOL My girls just know what they like.
Moms are the most creative people! When it comes to our kiddos, we have to be a little tricky sometimes and this is a fantastic reason to do so!
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.
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..
I’ll need to try adding a veggie puree to my kids mac and cheese. I’d be curious to see if they could taste it.
So far my super picky eaters haven’t even noticed. 😉 The trick is to make when they aren’t looking.
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.
I used to live on macaroni and cheese too. 🙂 I’m pretty sure no one added mayo into it, though!
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.
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!
Oh…that’s a good idea!
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
I sneak cauliflower into so many things these days…. not for the kids, but for my husband! LOL
This looks very creative and delicious! I guess hiding foods in sometimes is the only option!
Looks yummy and I love avocado. Never heard of avocado mayo. Hmm going to have to give it a try.
I love that this is mac n cheese, but with added nutrition! That’s so awesome!
This is so great! Somehow though I have a child who doesn’t like mac and cheese. She’s so weird.