Getting your kids to eat healthy foods may be a battle, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few easy tips, you can make both you and your kids happy at meal time. Yes, food can be both healthy and kid-friendly. Let’s take a look at a full day of fun and healthy eating:
Begin with Breakfast – Start the day right with a healthy breakfast by avoiding those prepackaged cereals, cereal bars, and pastries. Read the ingredients on any of these and you’ll find too much sugar and ingredients that are right out of science class. Even those supposedly healthy breakfast or protein bars.
Replace these sugary foods with healthy foods like a whole-wheat, sun-dried tomato, or spinach tortilla burrito. Fill a tortilla with fruit, or scrambled eggs, cheese, and turkey bacon for a delicious and nutritious breakfast that your kids will have fun eating. Create a grab-and-go breakfast by wrapping the filled tortillas in parchment paper. Another quick and fun breakfast is whole grain pancakes with naturally sweet fruit toppings. To make breakfast time a little easier, make the pancakes the night before and warm them in the microwave in the morning.
Got to Have a Snack – Most kids prefer sweets when they’re looking for a snack. Give them sweets like applesauce and homemade oatmeal cookies so you control the sugar. When you make your cookies, substitute honey for sugar. Fruit snacks and Fruit Roll Ups that are made from 100% fruit juice are great ways to give your kids healthy snacks.
Replace sugary fruit drinks with fresh fruit juice. Go ahead and cut the expense by adding water to the fruit juice. Serve it over ice and your kids won’t know the difference. Cut out sodas with flavored tonic water. Perk these drinks up with a fresh slice of fruit for garnish and your kids will think they were served a very fancy drink.
Lunch is Ready – Whether packing a lunch for school or feeding your kids at home, you want something filling, healthy, and quick. Their day is busy, and so is yours. With a few lunch box tricks, you can have your kids well fed quickly. Just take a look at some of your kids favorite foods and make the same dishes with healthier ingredients.
You can make macaroni and cheese healthier by mixing up your own batch at home using whole wheat pasta, skim milk, and low fat cheese. Make it nice and cheesy and your kids will fall in love with their new favorite mac and cheese with no boxes involved. Chicken nuggets are another favorite lunchtime meal that can be made simply. Just cut up chicken breasts into small pieces, dunk in an egg and milk mixture, then roll in either crushed cornflakes, cornmeal, or a flour and Parmesan cheese mixture, and bake in the oven on a cookie sheet until crispy.
Dinner Bell is Ringing – At the end of a busy day, your kids want a big meal. You can make a routine dinner of baked chicken, mashed potatoes, and beans, but that may not appeal to a youngster. Get your kids involved with the meal planning and see what they come up with. You want to look for kid-tested menus that you can make healthy.
Homemade pizza is a great place to start. You choose the healthy toppings, but your kids have fun by creating their own arrangement. Tacos are another fun food that kids can “build” themselves to encourage healthy eating habits. Again, you provide the healthy choices; they provide the fun. Combine the fun of pizza with the fun of tacos by laying small tortillas out on a cookie sheet. Top them each like you would a pizza, bake until crisp, and each child has their own individual taco-pizza.
Getting kids to eat healthy is all about having fun with the food. If you arrange healthy food in a fun way, your kids will eat it. Use a little extra thought and imagination and you’ll get your kids to eat the healthy foods you want them to eat. Put these simple tips to work for you today and watch your kids gobble up those nutritious foods…and like them!