Children will eat better if they are allowed or given choices. During the second or third year of their life, they are trying to establish their identity and dominance in their world. A good way to maintain your motherly control is to let them have choices. This gives them the feeling they are in control, such as, do you want to eat spaghetti or chicken? They make the choice and you get satisfaction of nourishment for them.
Another way of cooking for children is to let them help in the preparation of their food. They love to stir, mix and watch it bake but be careful of hot objects or ingredients. Some children just don't like the taste of some foods, the smell, color or the feel of the texture of the food in their mouths but probably will outgrow a lot of the things they don't like by the age of 3 or 4. Sometimes just serving their food on a plate that is colorful, like orange or red, will help them to eat better.
Maybe you have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what works and what just isn't worth the bother when you are trying to cook the foods they like the taste of and the nutrition they need to help them grow up healthy and strong but there are ways that can be so simple. For example, if your child likes mashed potatoes, try mixing a little broccoli or carrots that are over cooked a little in the potatoes. They will never know you just added more vitamins and minerals and they will be attracted to the color added by the broccoli or carrots.
Cooking stews and soups will provide a mixture of vegetables, meat, add a grilled cheese sandwich and you have served a balanced meal of protein, carbohydrates, dairy and breads. When they are hungry for snack foods, try giving peanut butter and cracker and fruit juice. There is not a lot of children that don't love this snack and it's good to take along with you when you are going to appointments, ballgames, or anywhere they may become hungry before you can arrive home. Try a mixture of dried fruits, nuts, if your child is old enough and has most of their jaw teeth for adequate chewing, and raisins is another great snack food. Children love to dip their food in something such as, catsup or dressing. Carrots and celery sticks make great dipping foods and are nutritious.
Most all children love pizza, and you can top this with so many different vegetables and meats. Try substituting the pepperoni for chicken, turkey or ham for variety and maybe you will find one they can't resist. If all else fails, try all children's favorite, macaroni and cheese.