Getting kids to eat healthy foods today is much harder than it once was. With busy schedules, a hard economy and an increase in two-parent working households the idea of a balanced family meal seems to be a thing of the past. But with the lack of physical activity both at home and at school, teaching kids to eat a healthier diet is more important than ever in an effort to prevent future health-related problems.
Healthy kid friendly meals don’t have to be complicated, time-consuming or expensive. In fact, here are a few ideas that are quick, easy, fun and inexpensive that can be used anytime:
Pass the Pasta
Kids love spaghetti, especially with meatballs. Parents may worry about the high carbohydrate amounts and the higher fat content a traditional recipe offers. To turn spaghetti in one of the family’s favorite, healthy kid friendly meals try swapping regular pasta with a whole-wheat version. Also, it’s easy to make those meatballs healthier but still pleasing to everyone by simply using ground turkey in place of ground beef. This can be done with other pasta courses such as lasagna. Also, don’t forget the classic macaroni and cheese. Using whole-wheat pasta and reduced-fat cheese can create a much healthier version of that meal children usually just love.
It’s very difficult to please all members of the family all the time, especially kids and especially at meal time. But what if it was possible? What if everyone could have exactly what they wanted? When dinner is personalized pizza, offering healthy kid friendly meals seems simple. Begin by making whole-wheat or whole grain pizza dough or use pita bread if desired. Spread with pizza sauce; a low-sodium version can be used. This is where the fun begins. Allow family members to “dress” their pizza with an assortment offtoppings in whatever combination they want or like. Offer options such as fresh mushrooms, reduced-fat cheeses, olives, peppers (reserve the hot versions for Mom and Dad!), reduced-fat pepperoni, ham, tomatoes or any other options that may offer interest.
Make Meals Fun
Kids like to have fun. Why should meal time be any different? One of the easiest ways to get and keep a child’s interest in healthy meals is to let them have fun. For example, using a round cookie cutter or a similar clean, round object cut a hole in the center of piece of bread. Then butter the bread or dip it in an egg mixture as you would for making French toast. Place the bread in a pan or on a griddle. Crack a fresh egg into the hole in the center of the bread. Allow to egg to cook slightly and the bread to brown then flip, cooking thoroughly on the opposite side. The egg can be beaten before placing in the center of the bread if scrambled eggs are preferred and low-fat cheese can be added once bread has been flipped.
Use What They Like
Unfortunately, kids may not do well when new ingredients are introduced. A tip for creating healthy kid friendly meals is to use ingredients they are familiar with or know. If frozen waffles are a favorite try using the whole grain version, topping with a little natural peanut butter and some fresh strawberries. If chicken fingers are a must have, cut boneless skinless chicken breasts into strips, dip in an egg white and water mixture to moisten and coat with crushed corn flakes. Bake the chicken in the oven, turning several times to evenly crisp the meat, and serve with honey or barbeque sauce.
Offering kids what they know and already like but in healthier versions can often increase the possibility of success with getting them to eat healthy kid friendly meals.
Parenting - https://www.parenting.com/recipes