Feeding fussy little eaters can be stressful but summer is the perfect time to get out and about and enjoy some al-fresco eating in the garden or at the park. Children are more likely to respond well to food in a fun and relaxed environment, so make the most of this good weather by taking your food outside!
Here’s my four favourite picnic recipes to make for my fussy eaters this summer.
Sandwich Skewers are the easiest way to inject a little bit of fun into a picnic by turning the humble sandwich into a cute kebab! Wooden skewers are great for older children but for younger kids you can buy plastic skewers which are a little safer for small hands.
You can use pretty much any sandwich ingredients on your skewers and I have used french bread, ham, cheese, lettuce, cucumber and cherry tomatoes.
This is also a great way to introduce some simple salad ingredients onto your picky eater’s plate in a really fun way!
Veggie Pasta Salad
A big batch of pasta salad is a really easy and affordable way of feeding a crowd of people for a picnic and the best thing is, it’s totally customisable depending on what you and your fussy little eaters like. I love using chopped frozen vegetables in my pasta salad, along with some tinned sweetcorn and red pepper and I find that it’s a great way to get kids to try some new vegetables when they are served alongside their favourite pasta shapes!
The dressing for this pasta salad is very kid-friendly too, made with just some oil and honey with herbs and a little french mustard to taste. Super sweet and perfect for little appetites!
Here’s my recipe for a basic Veggie Pasta Salad:
250g pasta (any shape)
150g chopped frozen vegetables
50g tinned corn
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs (or oregano)
1/4 tsp french mustard
Add the pasta shapes to a pan of boiling water and cook according to the package instructions.
Four minutes before the end of cooking time add the frozen vegetables to the pan.
Drain the pasta and vegetables and run under cold water for 30 seconds and then add to a large bowl.
Mix in the corn and red pepper.
In a small jar add the olive oil, honey, dried herbs and french mustard. Put the lid on a give it a good shake. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and mix well.
Serve immediately or keep in the fridge for up to 48 hours.
One of the easiest ways I can get my picky eaters to eat fresh raw veggies is if I serve them with a tasty dip. Presentation is key when it comes to enticing children to try new foods and serving the hummus and all those colourful crudites may just spark their imagination enough to at least taste one or two.
Hummus is ideal for children as it’s packed with protein and fibre from the chickpeas and is so quick, easy and cheap to make yourself at home. But a lot of homemade hummus recipes contain quite a bit of tahini and garlic which can be a bit over-powering for children. My recipe uses just a small amount of these ingredients and I also add a teaspoon of red pesto at the end to give it a dash of colour and taste.
1 can (400g) cooked chickpeas [retain the liquid from the can]
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp tahini
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp red pesto
Put all the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender and blitz until smooth. Drizzle in the oil a little at a time until and continue to blend until it has all combined.
If the hummus seems to be too thick add a little of the retained chickpea liquid from the can.
Mix in the pesto with a spoon and serve with crudites such as carrots, cucumber, peppers, celery and sugar snap peas.
No picnic would be complete without a sweet treat at the end and I can’t think of a better dessert to enjoy this summer than Eton Mess. Usually made with lots of cream, my recipe is a little healthier using just a small amount of double cream and lots of greek yogurt. It is also sweetened with some honey rather than the traditional caster sugar.
This dessert is not only super delicious but also contains a portion of fruit per serving, perfect for getting some added nutrition into your little ones!
150ml double cream
250g greek yogurt
1 tbsp honey
200g strawberries, hulled and chopped
50g ready-made meringue, broken into small pieces
Whip the cream in a large bowl until thick and then stir in the greek yogurt and honey.
Add the chopped strawberries and broken meringues and fold gently.
Transfer the mixture into four jars or one large container and refrigerate until you are ready to take it out and eat or bring out on your picnic.