Mealtimes with the family needn’t be stressful and healthy meals to suit everyone can easily be adjusted with small measures. Such as choosing different carbohydrates then the children as they shouldn’t have as much fibre as adults – but perhaps they require more sauce and fat, such as butter, oil or mayonnaise. Serve up mini buffets and let your child choose – we all like different things – and that includes mum.

It’s a good idea to offer the children vegetables before the main meal. They tend to like cutting tomatoes and other vegetables, and often taste them at the same time. Letting the children stir the pots or help with the mixing is clever, as they might try something they wouldn’t otherwise.

Serve the food in separate bowls. Lots of children don’t like their food all mixed together.

How to make healthy food child friendly

✅ Are you making mashed potatoes? Mix in boiled cauliflower or parsnip.

✅ Try swapping lasagne for moussaka (a Greek version made with potatoes and aubergine).

✅ Children might find horseradish a bit strong. If you are serving it with the meal (such as minute steak with root vegetables), you can mix some goat’s cheese with sour cream for them, or just give them some mayonnaise.

✅ When you’re making yourself a cauliflower crust pizza, you can make the children a tortilla pizza! Use a tortilla bread as a base and then the same topping on their pizza as you put on yours.

✅ Fried or smoked salmon tends to be more popular among children than gravlax or cold smoked salmon.

✅ Brown rice can be swapped for normal rice or pasta.

✅ If you’ve made chicken with lemon and garlic, or some other spicy seasoning – like chili – buy them ready seasoned chicken drumsticks instead.

✅ If you’re making Bolognese – grate some carrot or cabbage into the ragu, or swap half of the meat for red lentils.

✅ Smoothies are an excellent opportunity to sneak in lots of healthy stuff. Make a smoothie from spinach, blueberries, banana and yoghurt. The green colour, which sometimes seems a bit scary, will be masked by the blue colour of the blueberries! Another combination could be raspberries, banana, haricot beans, yoghurt and milk. Beans in a smoothie might sound really weird, but they give a nice texture, and the flavour is so mild that it is masked by the raspberries, vanilla and banana, and will go unnoticed even by the fiercest sceptics!

✅ Make the most of children’s penchant for pancakes and take it a step further and make rainbow pancakes! Mix in spinach or beetroot for a nice green or pink colour. If your child is suspicious of the colourful food – mix some haricot beans, or grated carrot into the batter – these will be less noticeable.