Children’s Food Expert Dishes Her Top 5 Ways To Get Kids Excited About Healthy Eating

Health & Lifestyle, Lifestyle

Annabel Karmel is the leading children’s cookery author and food expert when it comes to feeding fussy kids! Today she shares her top five tips to encourage little ones to eat healthier and a recipe for some delicious, kid-friendly muffins!  


Mealtimes can often be a battleground between parents and toddlers. As a parent you want your child to have a healthy, nutritious and tasty diet, but persuading them it’s a good idea is a different matter!


We try to do our best, but often hectic schedules get in the way of us being able to serve-up healthy home cooked meals for the whole family every night of the week. But busy days still deserve the best mealtimes, and that’s’ why I’ve created a special range of snap-frozen meals for babies and toddlers in Australia.


Babies will love my nutritiously balanced Peel & Pop Purees made with 100% real fruit and veggies which are snap-frozen to lock in the taste and goodness. I have also put my 25 years of expertise into developing 15 delicious meals for children aged 1-4.  A tasty way towards their 5-a-day, they make for the perfect freezer filler.  Plus, they are low in sodium and sugar and free from preservatives, artificial colours and flavours.


I know how frustrating it can get when your child refuses to eat something, especially if you‘ve spent so much time preparing the food for them. If your child refuses to eat vegetables, why not hide those good bits! For example, you can blend together a tomato and vegetable sauce for pasta or create mashed potato with carrot. What children can’t see, they can’t pick out!


It’s also sometimes about preparing foods in different ways.  For example, most kids I know wouldn’t eat boiled cauliflower, but roasting it is a whole different ball game. Children also often like to eat with their fingers so serve vegetables like whole corn on the cob with a little melted butter, baked potato wedges or carrot and cucumber sticks. For dessert it’s easy to make fresh fruit ice lollies from fruit juice and pureed fruits or thread bite sized pieces of fruit onto a straw.


It’s often easier to give in to a child’s demands than battle a whopper of a toddler tantrum. It can be a tricky one but it’s important to introduce as many veggies as possible at an early age. I think the best thing is to be up front about fruit and vegetables, tell them where they come from and why they are so good for you. Giving them facts could make them more interested about what they are eating.


My top 5 tips to help get little ones to start eating healthier this year


  • Sticker rewards just for trying new things and tasting them can be really effective. If they even attempt to try something rather than ignore it, they should be rewarded.


  • Offer children a taster of something new in the form of a ‘grown-up’ starter – a little teacup or saucer of vegetables that they could try that would be in addition to their main meal.


  • If you can sit down to eat together, do it.Kids are so impressionable – they’ll want what you are eating, so don’t forget to load your own plate with healthy foods!


  • A good trick I found is to prepare my children’s dinner with them. They like to be involved in the process. Children like to assemble their own food, so you could lay out ingredient bowls and let your child fill and fold their own wraps or choose toppings for their home made pizzas – it’s a proven tactic to get them to try new foods that they would usually shun.


  • My kid’s used to get so excited growing cress in egg cups. Growing your own doesn’t require a huge garden or equipment, get your kids growing their own herbs or sprouting seeds in little pots on window shelves. Doing this can get them really excited about food.



Carrot, Apple & Sultana Muffins



This is my favourite muffin recipe. They’re incredibly soft and are packed full of grated carrots, apples and sultanas so you can trick kids into eating their fruit and veggies. Shhh, the secret stays between us!



Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 20-22 minutes

Makes: 12 muffins



175g self-raising flour

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

100g light brown sugar

2 eggs

3 tbsp golden syrup

150ml sunflower oil

150g carrots, peeled and grated

50g apple, peeled, cored and grated

75g sultanas



  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
  2. Sift the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl, then add the sugar. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, syrup and oil, then pour them into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Whisk until smooth. Stir in the carrot, apple and sultanas.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases. Bake for 20–22 minutes, until the muffins are well risen and golden brown. Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.


For lots more food ideas, visit And for quick and nutritious mealtimes, stock-up on Annabel’s delicious snap-frozen meals for babies and toddlers. Discover brand new toddler meals such as Six Veggie Ravioli and Macaroni Cheese with Broccoli, now only $4 available at Coles and Woolworths Victoria.




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Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My  copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time.  My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.

With kindest regards Samantha

I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.

When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.

I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.


Hey Jessica!
I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again

- Jacinta

I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!


Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.

– Sophie

Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!


I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).

– Helene

I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud

Michelle Curtis

My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.