Yogamint

in depth

13-Feb-2011

Kid-Proof Meals

Healthy and Fun Foods

Feeding children healthy meals can be overwhelming at times. After all, what you place in front of them now is what will help their bodies and brains grow and develop into healthy adults. Nutritious and nourishing foods can ward off illness, provide energy, increase mental focus, and grow strong bodies. The trick can be in getting our little ones to eat what we provide.

I am not completely comfortable with the popular idea of sneaking veggies into our kids’ food. I believe that we should feed our children how we want them to feed themselves later in life. If they know what they are eating, it will be far easier for them to choose to eat that again. I have found that with just a few changes it is possible to get more nutrition onto their plates while they are young and learning.

When building a meal or snack for my kids, I start with a “vehicle” that I know they will recognize. Some favorites in our house include pancakes, muffins, smoothies, pizza, and cookies. From there, I can be creative with healthy ingredients. Pancakes, muffins, and cookies are portable and freeze well. I make large batches of those so that we have “grab-and-go” meals on hand.

Here are a few healthy ideas for add-ons to your meals:

  • Add grated or pureed veggies such as carrots, zucchini, or yams to muffins, pancakes, and cookies. 
  • Reduce the sugar by 50% in baked goods and replace half of the oil or fat with mashed bananas or unsweetened applesauce. 
  • Bake with whole-wheat flour instead of white and replace up to 1/3 with protein powder. 
  • Use whole grain pita bread as pizza crust and top it with tomato sauce, very finely chopped spinach or other veggies (or puree the veggies and add them to the sauce), and your choice of toppings and cheese. 
  • Add a small handful of spinach to fruit smoothies. You won’t taste it, I promise!
  • When the pre-dinner munchies set in, set out a plate of kid-size carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, etc. with some dip (like hummus). 

  • By shopping for healthy alternatives to processed foods and creating recipes that kids will recognize and enjoy, you are helping your family to start a lifetime habit of good eating and health!

    Allison Brewer
    Mother of two, writer, vegetarian, and aspiring triathlete
    GetNatured.com
    Recommended Read: Better Than Peanut Butter & Jelly: Quick Vegetarian Meals Your Kids Will Love! Revised Edition by Marty Mattare and Wendy Muldawer

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    Lilly commented on 18-Feb-2011 10:13 AM5 out of 5 stars

    I love these substitutes. Very helpful for my teens. We are going through our vegan trials so the recommended book is just what I was looking for. Thank you

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