Ensuring that your kids eat healthily can be a running battle daily, especially when junk foods and fast foods are so readily available at the touch of a button. Home cooking is touted as one of the best ways to help kids get proper nutrition; you basically know what they are eating under your watch. Why not go one better and let your kids join the fun by cooking together? Get started with some of our favorite child-approved dishes that are not only easy to make, but healthy to eat!
1. Make Your Own Tacos
Yes, taco night can also be an opportunity for a healthy dinnertime. You can easily achieve this by setting up a selection of taco fillings for your kids to pile into baked taco shells. Instead of very greasy picadillo, sour cream, and other heavy toppings, try out lightly seasoned chicken, fresh salsa, beans, and other healthier options. Not only is it a chance for kids to have fun and get creative, but it’s also a way to create great memories with the family!
2. Pizza Pockets
Just like tacos, pizzas need not be banned from a health-conscious household. Putting a healthy twist to homemade pizzas is one way to let your kids enjoy the fun of having pizza while making sure they are well nourished. Instead of frozen crust, try whole wheat pita bread to make pizza pockets. Your kids can fill these up with an endless variety of healthy fillings, and top it off with low fat or vegan cheeses that will surely entice even the pickiest eater.
3. Chicken Wraps/Roll Ups
Want to get the kids involved in prepping their lunches? Teach them to make roll ups! Chicken strips in particular lend themselves well to being main ingredients in wraps and sandwiches. You can pair the chicken meat with diced tomatoes and other savory vegetables, and use low fat sauces and dressings for extra flavour. Taking things up a notch? Try using a lettuce wrap to hold everything together! 3
4. Mac And Cheese Casserole
You really cannot go wrong with macaroni and cheese. It’s the ultimate comfort food for both kids and adults. Put a healthy spin on this favorite by turning mac & cheese into a casserole filled with nutritious ingredients. The great part about casseroles is that pretty much anything goes; you can toss in any combination of meats or fish, mix in vegetables for variety and flavour, and top everything off with light sauces. Need some added crunch? Try dusting cornflakes over the top of the casserole.
5. Yogurt Parfaits
Need a healthy alternative to ice cream? Try yogurt! Since yogurt can be an acquired taste for many kids, help them along by layering yogurt with other ingredients such as fruit, rice krispies, and even cereal. Kids can fill a jar or tall glass with alternating layers of yogurt and other fillings, dust the parfait with chocolate powder or sprinkles, and pop the entire parfait in the fridge to set. Simple and good.
6. Oatmeal Chocolate Snack Cakes
Budding bakers will appreciate the opportunity to make healthy goodies such as snack cakes. Oatmeal is easily mixed in with other dry ingredients for cake and provides body and extra fibre. Contrary to expectations, chocolate need not be banned also from your home; in moderation it is an excellent treat and incentive for kids. Limit the sugar added to the cake or use semi sweet chocolate chips to keep this treat healthy!
7. Trail Mix
Help abolish the urge to reach for a bag of chips or a pack of sweets by teaching kids to keep their own trail mix on hand. Trail mix can be made from any combination of nuts and dried fruit, adjusted for your kids’ appetites and preferences. Let kids mix up their personal trail mixes every few days, and offer them a variety of ingredients to keep their interest piqued.
These recipes all have variations available online, and can be easily adjusted for your family’s needs and tastes. With a little fun and participation, kids will quickly learn that eating healthy does not mean eating boring!