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Simple and Healthy Macaroni and Cheese For Picky Eaters

Is your child at the stage where they only want to eat mac and cheese? Are you looking for a simple and healthy recipe for macaroni and cheese for picky eaters? I got you mama!

Trust me, this is so easy and you won’t mind making this for dinner because you’re going to love it too. I have also included a few more tips in this post to share ways to ease a veggie or two more into your picky eater’s dinner routine.

hidden veggie macaroni and cheese for picky eaters
hidden veggie macaroni and cheese for picky eaters

Macaroni and Cheese for Picky Eaters

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Are you tired of the dinner time battle every time you sit down at the table as a family?

Your child refuses to even try it and makes a big scene every single night?

I’ve been there. I get it, it’s exhausting.

I too have cried at the table, begging my son to just eat the damn chicken. Just one bite!

I was worried about my son’s nutrition too, so I know where you’re at.

I have some tips coming out later on how I was able to get my son to go from not even having chicken to eating broccoli but I wanted to share a super simple tip I used to get started:

Sneaking vegetable in…one by one.

kid friendly mac and cheese

How to make mac and cheese healthy?

The key when it comes to easing the kids into a healthier way of eating is to go easy.

I always recommend taking your usual recipe (in this case, macaroni and cheese) and only swapping one ingredient at a time.

So instead of over overhauling macaroni and cheese and filling it with vegetables everywhere (that are noticeable) and going easy on the cheese, I recommend starting with one simple vegetable to sneak in:

Cauliflower.

How to make gluten free macaroni and cheese

This is super easy if someone in your home has a gluten or wheat intolerance/allergy try these tips:

  • Swap macaroni for a gluten free version. I love this GoGo Quinoa macaroni.
  • Instead of thickening with flour, try arrowroot powder or rice flour.
picky eater mac and cheese recipe

How to make mac and cheese without milk

There are some households where someone can have cheese but not milk (like my household). Food intolerances are weird guys, my husband can have certain cheeses but not milk or soft cheeses.

To make milk-free macaroni and cheese swap the milk for unsweetened coconut, cashew, or almond milk. Use what your family is used to.

I personally use cashew or almond for mac and cheese recipes.

Vegetable Add-Ins for Mac and Cheese

If your child has upgraded and is used to having just the cauliflower in the macaroni in cheese, here are a few other vegetables I recommend adding (again, try it one at a time):

  • Broccoli
  • Red bell pepper
  • Kale
  • Peas

In all honesty, whatever vegetable your kid likes is probably what will work best. Start with what they do like and then maybe add in a new vegetable next time.

Randa’s Tip: What I do with my son is whenever he tries a new friend and has his new “WHAT IS THIS?!” meltdown, I like to explain what the new food does for their body. Ie: parsley cleans your blood, chicken gives you muscles, fish is good for your brain, etc.

How to make mac and cheese for picky eaters

Creamy cauliflower macaroni and cheese in a handled bowl.

Adding cauliflower to this recipe is the perfect vegetable to sneak in because you cannot taste it.

The key is to cook the cauliflower until it’s very soft, this took about 7 minutes but it also depends on the size of the cauliflower you use.

Hot tip: If your child LOVES this, make a big batch and freeze it. Let your kid have it a night or two a week. Just accept the fact that at least they’re getting some cauliflower in their diet and let yourself off the hook. You’re doing an amazing job, mama!

If your kids are not picky eaters (or you’re just cooking this for yourself) you can also swap half the macaroni for cooked cauliflower florets making this an even healthier dish. 

More picky eater recipes:

hidden veggie macaroni and cheese for picky eaters
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Macaroni and Cheese for Picky Eaters

Creamy, cheesy and velvety. This healthy and simple macaroni and cheese is good tasting and good for you. Perfect for picky eaters.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword cheese, comfort food, macaroni, pasta, picky eater
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 478kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 ½ Cups milk whole or nut milk of choice are my top picks
  • 3 Tbsp flour arrowroot or rice flour if gluten-free
  • 2 Cups cheddar cheese shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Cups cooked elbow macaroni

Instructions

  • Boil water. Add cauliflower florets and cook for 7 minutes. Drain and place in a food processor. Add milk and pulse until creamy.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, add the butter. Mix in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower milk mixture and cook until creamy and thick. Add salt and pepper.
  • Mix in the cheese and elbow macaroni and coat well.

Notes

If your kids are not picky eaters (or you’re just cooking this for yourself) you can also swap half the macaroni for cooked cauliflower florets making this an even healthier dish. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 478kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 457mg | Potassium: 356mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 892IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 527mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe and love it? Share a photo on IGTag me at @RandaDerkson
picky eater mac and cheese with hidden vegetables

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Client Love

Randa's meal plan was great and so easy to follow! Having all of this on hand made my week easier...

Katie

5.0
2018-12-18T23:31:44-07:00

Katie

Randa's meal plan was great and so easy to follow! Having all of this on hand made my week easier and less stressful plus I know that what my family and I are eating is healthy so it's a win-win!
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