Healthy Recipes for Kids that You'll Love, Too!
The best healthy recipes for kids are the ones kids can help make. Whenever you’re making anything for your kids, let them help as much as they can. Kids are more likely to eat what they've made!
Why Aren’t These Recipes……Recipes?
If you're looking for healthy recipes for kids, you have kids! Which means, you DON'T have a lot of time. I find that ingredient lists when there are lots of ingredient options and exact measurements when they aren’t necessary waste your time and hinder your ability to read-and-go-cook. My goal is not to instruct you like the Food Network. My goal is to spark ideas and get your healthy cooking juices flowing so that your family will soon have it's own favorite healthy recipes for kids. So, feel free to modify and adapt these ideas. Nothing here will be too complicated.
Sometimes the best healthy recipes for kids is all presentation and marketing. So, cut the cheese into fun shapes. Put the blueberries on in the shape of a smiley face. The world is selling your kids food that is not good for them (that barely qualifies as food in the first place!) Do not be "above" a little salesmanship for healthy alternatives.
Do-It-Myself Peanut Butter and Banana Roll Up
Put a ripe banana in a cup and mash it with a fork. Spread peanut butter on a tortilla. Spread smooshed banana on peanut butter. Roll tortilla up. You can eat this as a roll or cut it up for pinwheels. A very ripe pear can be also be used. I like to puree it so I don’t have to peel it. If you have an unsweetened fruit preserve, that can also be used sparingly and still qualify as healthy.
Be choosey about your ingredients. Find tortillas with no hydrogenated oils. Find peanut butter with no added sugar.
Do-It-Myself Cracker Stack
My son said he didn’t like cucumbers… until I tried this…
Cut off eight thin cucumber slices. Cut two Roma tomatoes into eight thin slices. (Roma tomatoes are about the same diameter as a cucumber) Cut a slice of mozzarella or your favorite cheese into eight little squares. Quarter an avocado, and then cut one quarter into eight thin slices. (A very ripe avocado cannot be cut thin, and you might need two quarters).
Present your child with the cucumber, tomato, cheese and avocado slices, and eight crackers. I have an old empty salt shaker into which I put a little salt and a lot of garlic powder, but only enough to cover today’s snack, so he cannot “overdo it”. My son likes to see how many different combinations he can make. He has decided that cucumber on top is better than tomato on top. And cheese tastes best against the cracker. I don’t understand preschooler logic, but I know that building towers of food is fun!
EAT YOUR VEGETABLES
They aren't healthy recipes for kids if they don't have veggies! Pureeing veggies and sneaking them into foods is my favorite way to eat vegetables. I add steamed cauliflower to mac and cheese. I puree broccoli and put it into pasta sauces… I even add spinach puree to muffin batter (the flavor cooks out… especially if you let the muffins cool before eating).
I am of the opinion that if the vegetable gets into the child, I do not care what I had to smother it in to get them to enjoy it. I am not against butter or cheese or ranch dressing. Hummus and peanut butter are also great veggie dips. I like those things on my vegetables, why are children any different? That being said, it is important that they EAT the vegetable, and not just use it as a spoon for the condiment. A good way to prevent that is to put a dollop of whatever you are using to the make the veggie more enticing on each bite of vegetable.
Here is a recipe that my kids devour. It's my favorite healthy recipe for kids. I’ll take “Yum! Broccoli!” over “Do I have to?” any day!
Cut up seven or eight cups of ingredients. Six cups of broccoli, then two cups of whatever you like. Almonds, raisins, celery, red onion… fresh chopped cilantro… a lean meat of some kind (I like chicken sausage cut into tiny pieces. Shredded chicken breast would also work.)
Then, create a sauce with 3/4 cup mayo, 1/4 cup honey and 1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice. Some people do not like mayonnaise. I have made this substituting all or part of the mayo with ranch dressing or sour cream. Use what you like! As always, be choosey about your ingredients. You want to make sure your ranch dressing does not have high fructose corn syrup in it.
Some may say, “Tarah! Mayonnaise should not be in “healthy” recipes!” I agree that oil and egg are high in fat, but you can find olive oil based mayo to make you feel better. If you eat a one cup serving of this salad, you will only be eating less than two tablespoons of the sauce. Honey is a great alternative to sugar. But if that is too sweet for you, substituting Agave syrup will reduce the sweetness.
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