What to do when your child won’t eat their dinner

What to do when your child won’t eat their dinner

Anyone who has children will know that dinner time can be a real battle.

Despite your best intentions there will be some meals where your child may just refuse to eat it, even if it was their favourite the day before.

So what should you do when your child is refusing to eat your shepherd’s pie or turning their nose up at the stir fry? After all, you don’t want your child to go hungry or for the food to go to waste.

Give the meal a make over. With a few extra ingredients you can transform the meal into something new, and your children will (probably) be none the wiser.


Toasted sandwich

If you think putting a curry or stew in a toastie sounds a bit strange, remember that spaghetti toasted sandwiches were a hit when you were a kid, so putting leftover stir fry in a sandwich may not sound so weird after all.



Kind of like a toastie! Spread the food on half of a tortilla, sprinkle some cheese over it, fold over the tortilla and toast it in a frying pan or toasted sandwich machine until the tortilla is crisp and the cheese is melted. Alternatively, use tortillas to turn the leftovers into a burrito or enchiladas.

Bread cases

Muffin Case Tarts

Continuing on the bread theme, bread cases are easy to make and perfect for housing all sorts of fillings. Here’s an easy to follow recipe.


Lattice top pies

Who doesn’t love a pie? No matter how little you have left, you have enough to make a pie. Remember that pies can take all sorts of forms – they may be made with filo pastry or potato topped. Check out our pie guide.

Put it on a pizza

Pizza broccoli

Whilst not everything will work on a pizza, you’d be surprised at what does. Keep a stash of pita pockets in the freezer as they make quick bases and are the perfect size for a child. Alternatively, if you have yoghurt in the fridge you can whip up this quick and easy base (it works with plain yoghurt as well as fruit yoghurt.)

Keep a ‘pizza box’ in the freezer where you can stash things that would make good toppings – half a sausage, a piece of capsicum, a chunk of cheese until you have enough to top a pizza.

Make scrolls

Savoury scrolls

Savoury scrolls can be made using pastry, wraps, or a scone or pizza dough. Simply roll out your base, top it with tomato sauce (if appropriate), spread over your leftovers, sprinkle with cheese, roll up, cut into slices and then bake in the oven until cooked. Try it with leftover mince.

For ideas on how to use up specific foods, check out the ultimate guide to using up your child’s leftover food.