Kids can be notoriously picky eaters, loving a meal one day then wanting nothing to do with it the next day. After raising my kids past the terrible twos, I’ve learned a couple of food hacks to get picky eaters to eat healthily.
One of these is to play around with the ingredients of your kids’ favorite meals, giving them a healthier twist. This way, everyone gets what they want - your kids get to enjoy their favorite foods and you get the satisfaction watching them clean their plates and fill their bellies with nutritious meals.
If you want some ideas on how to mix up a healthy, child-friendly meal, here are 3 nutritious takes on foods almost every kid loves.
Upgrading Your Kids' Pizza
Pizza is a kid’s favorite for a reason. It’s yummy, has cheese and other delicious toppings and it’s finger food. Plus, it can make a great meal at any time of the day.
To make your pizza even healthier, forgo the traditional white-flour crust and make your own whole wheat pizza dough. Unlike the highly refined white flour commonly used for pizza crusts, whole wheat is chock full of nutrients including vitamins, protein and fiber. It even gives your pizza a tasty nutty flavor.
Best of all, making your own pizza at home gives you the freedom to add a variety of healthy toppings like eggs, low-fat cheese, turkey pepperoni or leftover chicken for protein. Throw in some tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers and/or spinach and your kids will be eating veggies without fighting it.
Sneak Extra Nutrition Into Mac And Cheese
Mac and cheese is comfort food for kids and parents love it because of its short prep time. I was delighted to come across a clever twist on this childhood staple. This healthy recipe uses sweet potato, almond milk, nutritional yeast, yellow mustard, coconut cream and other nutritious ingredients to make the “cheese sauce”.
Sweet potatoes are nutritional powerhouses, rich in vitamins A, C, B6 as well as fiber and some minerals. For this recipe, the sweet potatoes are peeled then either boiled or baked and run through a blender together with the other cheese sauce ingredients. The result is a smooth creamy sauce that has the consistency and taste of cheese, with a hint of sweetness that doesn’t overpower the flavor. Your kids will be so busy cleaning their plates they won’t notice the difference.
French Fries Can Be Made A Little Healthier
There’s no question about it - kids love fries. These skinny fried salt sticks quickly break down into glucose (sugar) and kids can hardly get enough of these addictive little snacks.
Instead of making your fries from ordinary potatoes, use sweet potatoes for more delicious and nutritious fries. Take it a step farther and try a new way and baking fries instead of frying them. This way, you won’t have to worry about fried foods ruining your kids’ health or predisposing them to obesity and other obesity-related diseases. By adding a healthy twist to French fries, you can give your children an extra treat by serving the fries with a variety of healthy dips and you don't even have to feel bad about the treat!
So, by using a little imagination, you can prepare healthier versions of your kids’ favorite foods, ensuring that they get all the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy.