5 clever ways to tempt fussy eaters  

By Karla Gilbert   

Karla Gilbert is a Nutrition and Health Coach, a mum of two girls and a certified Level III and IV Fitness Trainer. Enjoy her top tips below… 


The fussy eater. It’s a story as old as the hills and something that touches most of us during the early years of parenting. In fact, winning over fussy eaters is almost like a parenting rite of passage.  

It seems hard to swallow (pardon the pun) that something as simple as eating can be such a laborious, time-consuming, energy-draining event. We expect the art of putting food in their mouths to come easy to our little ones, but like any other life skill – whether it’s potty training, walking, reading and writing – eating the right foods is a learned behaviour that requires guidance, direction and perseverance.  

Here are my five top tips to tempt the fussy eaters in your family, especially during times where you might be spending more time at home, getting frustrated over meals.  


Make it familiar 

Have you ever heard your child say ‘I don’t like it’ when they haven’t even lifted a morsel to their mouth? This is usually in fear of something new.  

Begin to introduce your children to new food in a different way before you serve it on the dinner plate. So, for instance, use celery bases for dipping into the paint and making flower shapes, or beetroot to cut shapes into and use as a stamp. Let them get messy and personal with all their senses to increase familiarity.  


Watch the sugar 

Fussy eating can be mistaken for simply not having an appetite. The first thing to do is cut down on sugar between meals.  

How will this help, I hear you ask?  

Well, kids riding a sugar high is a rollercoaster we need to stop. When your kids eat something sugary, they end up hungry again after 30 minutes as glucose/insulin levels rise on eating and then quickly fall once the sugar has been digested, so they ask for more food. This continues up until dinnertime as parents give into the child’s repeated requests.  

Keeping up a running supply of food during the afternoon spoils the chance for them to be genuinely hungry enough to enjoy a nutrient-dense meal – a meal which would hold their satiety levels well until the next meal or scheduled snack.   


Plan your attack! 

Work with your kids and plan your attack. We know ourselves how our moods dictate what we feel like eating, so it’s no wonder some meals are met with a turned-up nose by our kids. It also helps to let them choose in the afternoon between two healthy meals for dinner or even just a choice between the carbohydrate component of the meal (e.g. chicken casserole served with brown rice or potatoes).   

This gives them a sense of control over their meal and hopefully enhances their interest in what is being served up. Try and pre-empt their preferences and reactions and this will save a lot of frustration come dinnertime!  


Invite the fairies /superheroes 

Take the focus off ‘you’ serving the meal and make it fun. You could tell your kids, “Spiderman gets his energy from red foods” (tomato, capsicum, apples, etc.) or “The fairies left a special vegetable to try from their own fairy garden!” (lots of greens).   

You can even make up a cute handwritten note and leave it on the fridge pretending to be fairies/Spiderman/Ben 10… whoever your kid most admires. Say something like, “I thought you would like to try my favourite veggie/fruit.” This will help build excitement and curiosity at dinner.  


Get moving 

How much does your own appetite go through the roof after you’ve been running around outside? For most of us, being hungry means a willingness to adapt to new foods or simply just eat any meal at all. Good old-fashioned hunger!   

So go outside and get huffy and puffy with your children – it’s great fun to spend active time together and will increase those feel-good endorphins as well. Get the meal prepped beforehand, then go race around like crazy for an hour or two and come home to a healthy meal.  


A final note  

Food shouldn’t be a bargaining game; constant negotiation doesn’t create healthy attitudes or ultimately change behaviour. Relax a little and your kids will relax too.   

You can’t replace good nutrition, so continue to be a role model and focus energy towards using your words differently. Taste buds need time to adapt or change, so action the two P’s – patience and perseverance!  


Check out some of our favourite recipes to make with children here [link to nutrition pillar

Three healthy baked treats to make with children

 There are no doubts about the benefits of getting children involved in the kitchen. It teaches them the basic language of mathematics, introduces them to science and allows them to participate in all kinds of movements, such as stirring, measuring, pouring and grating. 

Everyone loves a baked treat, but they’re not always the healthiest. Believe it or not, these recipes also incorporate some delicious fresh vegetables! 

All recipes are via the chefs from our centres, so you know they’re child-tested and approved.  


Banana Monkey Muffins  

Banana Monkey Muffins                     

This recipe makes muffins that even the cheekiest monkey would go bananas for! With no refined sugar and delicious elements such as Greek yogurt and cinnamon, they won’t last long out of the oven.  

Makes 12 muffins  


  • 1 and ¾ cups wholemeal self-raising flour
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup chopped banana  



  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper cases. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix them together with a whisk. 
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oil and honey and beat together with a whisk. Add the eggs and beat well, then add the yogurt and vanilla. Mix well. (If the coconut oil solidifies in contact with cold ingredients, gently warm the mixture in the microwave in 30 second bursts.) 
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a big spoon, just until combined (a few lumps are ok). 
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups  
  6. Bake the muffins for 16 to 19 minutes, or until the muffins are golden on top and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. 
  7. Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool – and enjoy! 


 carrot and oat cookies

Carrot and oat cookies 

Easy and delicious to make, why not whip up a batch of these cookies in the morning then enjoy them as part of a lunchtime picnic on the living room floor or outside, if weather permits. Just pack up your favourite teddies, some books to read and some delicious food – including these cookies, of course!   



  • 1 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 Tsp cinnamon 
  • 100gm unsalted butter 
  • 1 egg 
  • 2 grated carrots 
  • 2 ½ cups self-raising flour 
  • 1 cup rolled oats 



  1. Melt butter, add sugar and eggs. Mix well. 
  2. Add rest of ingredients and combine well. If mixture is wet add a little more flour; this should be a cookie dough consistency. Roll, make into your choice of shapes and bake 180 degrees for approx. 15 minutes.


 Muesli bars 

Muesli bars 

Homemade muesli bars are delicious and surprisingly easy to make. Perfect for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon pick-me-up for both adults and children!  



  • ½ cup honey
  • 125 gm butter
  • 1 ½ cup rolled oats 
  • 1 cup rice bubbles 
  • 1 cup sultanas 
  • ½ cup dried apricot – diced 
  • ¼ chia seeds 
  • ¼ cup pepitas 
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds 


  1. Melt the butter and honey in a pot until well combined.  
  2. Add rest of ingredients and bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 180 degrees. 
  3. Let cool completely or overnight, then cut into squares. 
  4. Optional: Top with blueberries or other berries of your choice! 


Dinner… again? Child-approved dinner recipes from our centres

You know the feeling. Six o’clock is rapidly approaching, and it’s time to make dinner yet again – but you’re just not sure where to begin.  

Our centres have come together to provide some recipe ideas to solve your dinner time woes. Taking inspiration from what the children love best, you can rest assured that these recipes will tempt even the fussiest of eaters!  


Porcupine meatballs 

There’s nothing spiky about these delicious meatballs, which make the perfect hot dinner, especially when the weather’s cooling down outside!   


  • 500g lean beef mince 
  • 1 small onion, chopped 
  • 1 zucchini, grated 
  • 1 carrot, grated 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire Sauce    
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic 
  • 500ml condensed tomato soup, salt reduced 
  • 150g white medium grain rice 
  • Frozen vegetables to serve on side  


  1. To make the meatballs, mix the beef mince, half of the onion, egg, garlic, grated carrot and zucchini and uncooked rice together. Roll into about 10 meatballs. 
  1. Place the meatballs into an oven-proof dish. 
  1. Mix together, in a big jug, the tomato soup, Worcestershire sauce and the other half of the onion. Fill the empty tomato soup can with water and add to the sauce mix. Once well mixed, pour over the meatballs. 
  1. Place dish in oven, cover and simmer for 40 mins or until the rice is tender and meatballs are cooked through. 
  1. Serve with cooked frozen veggies of your choice and fresh herbs on top.  


 chicken biryani

Better-than-ever biryani  

Let’s go around the world. Grab a globe or google the world map, help your child find India, and then cook up this delicious biryani together 


  • Olive oil spray 
  • 500 gm diced lamb 
  • 1 large red onion, diced 
  • 1 tablespoon crushed ginger  
  • 1 tablespoon garlic 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mild curry powder 
  • 1 ½ tablespoons gara masala 
  • 400gm crushed tomatoes 
  • 450g cauliflower, trimmed, cut into florets 
  • 400g sweet potato diced 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 2 bunch English spinach, trimmed, leaves shredded 
  • Steamed basmati rice, to serve 



  1. Heat a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Spray with oil.  
  1. Brown lamb, stirring often until golden.  
  1. Add onion, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Add the spices. Cook stirring, for 1-2 minutes.  
  1. Add the tomato, cauliflower, sweet potato and water.  
  1. Bring to the boil, cook till lamb is tender and add spinach. Serve over rice and enjoy.  

 pasta bake

The perfect pasta bake 

A truly delicious pasta bake needs no real explanation. This one incorporates tuna and vegetables to make a nutritious yet child-friendly and family-loving menu option. 


  • 500g tuna in springwater, canned, drained 
  • 300g macaroni 
  • 600g frozen peas 
  • 200g frozen corn kernels 
  • 1 small onion 
  • 250g chopped cauliflower or broccoli 
  • 2 cups milk 
  • 1 cup grated cheese 
  • 50g margarine 
  • ¼ cup plain flour  


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Grease a baking dish. 
  1. Cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling water, following packet directions, until just tender. Drain. Transfer to a bowl. 
  1. Melt margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture bubbles. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until thickened, add half the cheese. Cook for 2 minutes or until combined and cheese melted. 
  1. Stir in tuna, onion, frozen vegetables, cauliflower/broccoli and pasta and stir until heated through. Spoon into prepared dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Stand for 5 minutes. Serve with fresh herbs on top should you wish.  


The best quick and easy lunch ideas for children


In this unprecedented time, we understand that circumstances are quickly changing for families across Australia. With many spending so much time at home, we also understand that this comes with added pressures – including the endless question of what to feed your little ones every day!  

We’re lucky enough to have a team of experts across every one of our brands. Thanks to the nutritional experts, chefs and cooks who spend every day with children, they know what works to tempt those little taste buds! 

Check out our favourite ideas for quick and easy lunch  options below…  



Teddy bear’s antipasto 

Sometimes, you just don’t want a full, cooked meal. Sometimes a plate of delicious, child-friendly antipasto is enough! All of the below ingredients can be switched out, added or subtracted depending on what you’ve got in the fridge or the pantry. Just invite your favourite teddy bears to the picnic.  


  • Sliced ham 
  • Sliced chicken breast 
  • Sliced tomatoes 
  • Sliced cucumbers 
  • Sliced or cubed cheese
  • Grated carrots 
  • Baby bocconcini  
  • Selection of breads (buttered optional) 


  1. Gather whatever you have for your antipasto picnic and arrange on a board or plate. 
  2. Enjoy! 



Spinach and feta scones  

Is there anything better than a fresh scone, straight out of the oven? There certainly is – when the scones are full of yummy spinach and feta! Serve with a side of chopped vegetables or salad to make for a delicious, light lunch.  

Serves 18 (mini scones) 


  • 1 cup frozen spinach, strained 
  • 2 tbsp. butter 
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup milk 
  • 2 ½ cups wholemeal self-raising flour 
  • 1 cup white self-raising flour 
  • 1 cup crumbled feta 


  1. Mash spinach with butter. Stir through egg, milk and cheese.  
  2. Sift flour into mixture and stir through. 
  3. Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly.  Pat dough out into a square tin.  
  4. With a floured knife, score dough, almost through, into 18 squares.  Brush with a little extra milk.
  5. Bake in a very hot oven, 220°C, for 15 minutes or until risen and golden. 



Lazy vegetarian tacos 

Sometimes it’s nice to lighten things up a bit – and these vegetarian tacos are quick, healthy and easy to serve up deconstructed. Simply put each ingredient in its own bowl and let the little ones build their own tacos to their tastes. 

Makes 10 tacos  


  • 250g diced tomatoes 
  • 200ml water 
  • 2.5 tsp minced garlic 
  • 250g grated carrot 
  • 250g grated zuchinni  
  • 400g red lentils 
  • 1 tsp taco seasoning 
  • 150g shredded cheese 
  • ½ head shredded lettuce 
  • 10 wholegrain wraps or taco shells 


  1. Heat tomatoes in a pot, add the water and garlic.  
  2. Bring to the boil and add grated carrot and zucchini. When boiling, add the lentils and seasoning. 
  3. Turn to low, stirring frequently until the mixture thickens, add more water if needed 
  4. Keep on a low simmer until mixture thickens and lentils are no longer visible.  
  5. Serve with salad, cheese and tacos for children to build! 


Top expert tips for stocking the pantry at home

Top expert tips for stocking the pantry at home 

By Karla Gilbert 

As an accredited Nutrition and Health Coach, Karla Gilbert knows how to keep families healthy – even in the most challenging, unprecedented times. A mum of two girls, Karla also shares her tips on stocking the pantry and stretching out time between supermarket trips.  


These are unprecedented times. With no blueprint to follow concerning what the future holds, now is the perfect time to focus on the health of our families through nutrition, managing stress, regular exercise and mindset.  

Here are my top tips for keeping the family healthy, happy and well-fed!  

 1. Less stress in the supermarket 

When shopping, look for canned and frozen vegetables, tinned and frozen fish, legumes and beans. Where possible, pick up wholegrains such as bread, rice, quinoa and whole-wheat pasta. These are all ingredients that will enable you to mix and match to easily create healthy meals. 

Having pizza bases, tortillas and taco kits on hand will also ensure that variety is maintained with meal planning, keeping children content!  

Frozen fruits also make for great smoothies that children will love. Click here for my strawberry oats smoothie recipe that they can’t get enough of.


 2. Cook batches & freeze for another meal 

If you have been after a reason to brush up on your cooking skills, now is the perfect timeMeal ideas such as chilli con carne, pasta sauce, meatballs, Indian dahls and casseroles are ideal recipes to batch cook and freeze for another meal when you may  

Utilize canned beans and halve the amount of meat used in a dish to extend the time between supermarket visits. Try a spaghetti bolognese sauce with veggies and lentils, tacos made from mince and black beans, chickpea falafel balls or meatballs simmered in tinned tomatoes and butter beans – all excellent ideas to use the canned pantry supplies.

 3. Get the children involved in the kitchen 

 Children take a lot of pride in what they’ve created in the kitchen, and it’s an incredible learning opportunity!  

Ask little ones with certain steps, such as counting ingredients out together or trying different methods such as stirring, tossing, grating and mashing. If children are too young to help, pop them on a highchair and ask them to name the ingredients going into the food.  

Some great ideas are to help blend a smoothie with a cool name or make homemade pizzas with an array of colours. 

Incorporate immune-boosting foods 

 Immune-boosting foods such as onions and garlic add lovely flavours to otherwise bland meals and have antibacterial properties. You can stock up on herbs and spices to jazz up meals.  

The upcoming cooler months means citrus fruits will be plentiful with oranges and mandarins, offering immune support through vitamin C.  


5. Be patient with fussy eaters 

The times we are facing are certainly not ideal, so finding alternatives with a flexible mindset is going to help offload unnecessary stress while displaying resilience to our children.  

If your child is showing signs of fussy eating, it may be a process of exposing the new food a certain amount of times. Offer new foods alongside a food they are already accustomed to; or try and reduce new food anxiety by allowing your child to experiment with vegetables in craft activities. Click here for more tips about fussy eaters. 

As children interact with foods, they begin to form lifelong food associations that will affect their eating habits later. Our goal is to help children form positive associations with healthy foods regardless of what the outside world brings!