Serving meals to kids can be challenging at times. Kids are one of the pickiest eaters in the world, and getting them to eat one full meal can make parents feel like they’re in a game show, trying to persuade, using every technique possible just to feed their kids. What’s even harder is trying to get them to eat vegetables. So if you’re wondering what food kids love to eat and how you can squeeze some healthy stuff in it, here’s the list:
Pizza is one of the food favorites among kids. Most kids love anything with cheese. When making pizza at home, ask your kids to help you out. This can turn into the perfect bonding time for the family, and an opportunity to get your kids to work in the kitchen. Let them choose the toppings they want for their pizza, and this will get them really excited to eat the pizza they made on their own. You can buy fresh or frozen pizza crust from your local grocery, or make it even more fun by making your own dough from scratch.
You can make pizza with vegetables on it, and kids will hardly notice the taste of vegetables in pizza. An example of this is the Spinach and Artichoke Pizza from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Artichoke and spinach are party favorites, and this pizza gets these veggies into your kid’s stomach with ease.
Finger food is one of the easiest, foolproof food choices especially for toddlers and kids who are active most of the day. These are bite-sized pieces of food that kids can bring with them and eat even while they’re playing. Remember that your little ones don’t really eat much in one sitting;, this is what makes finger food a good alternative to full meals. They offer nutrition and replenish the energy of your hyper and active kids. With a little creativity, you can even serve them in many unique ways. Check out Lil’ Luna for a list of 10 Kid Approved Finger Food served in fun, colourful, and creative shapes and ways.
Chicken nuggets also ranked on top of the list of favorites for kids. They are easy to eat, and they are a great source of protein that growing kids need in their diet. Opt for baked chicken nuggets rather than the fried ones. If you’re feeling like a chef today, try making your own nuggets from scratch, and choose the white meat part of the chicken instead.
Every kid likes a good sandwich. They can have it as a snack, or as a part of their meal. Peanut Butter and Jelly is a classic lunchbox staple. It is loaded with protein and whole grains, and can be a perfect snack for kids. According to Sarah Krieger, a dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, “It’s more important for kids to eat a snack that keeps their blood sugar regulated. That’s one way to prevent diabetes.” To make this sandwich healthier, opt for natural peanut butter or the ones made with reduced-fat, and use whole-wheat bread to get that daily fibre in your kid’s body.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich is another favorite among kids (and even kids at heart). Most kids like, if not love, cheese. Most parents may think that cheese is a good substitute for milk. While it’s true that cheese is a good source of calcium, cheese also contains high amounts of fat and cholesterol. When making grilled cheese sandwiches for your kids, choose cheese made with reduced or low-fat milk.
Hamburgers are a classic favourite for almost everyone. Most fast food chains serve hamburgers, and although burgers are packed with protein, and served with vegetables, burgers are also loaded with calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Try making your own burger patty at home, that way, you can control the amount of salt that goes into the patty, and even choose the kind of meat to use. Make your patty even healthier while adding flavour by using condiments and fresh herbs such as arugula and spinach, and using whole-wheat bun as much as possible.
Hotdogs are another classic favorite and a common snack choice for most people. Hotdogs are easy and quick to cook, making them one of the go-to food when kids are hungry. Unfortunately, hotdogs aren’t the healthiest of snacks to eat. According to Michelle Coyle, a Registered Dietitian, “An ordinary two-ounce hot dog usually has around 200 calories, 16 grams of fat, and 600 mg of sodium! Not only is the fat and sodium a concern, but nitrate, an ingredient found in many hot dogs, has been linked to serious, life-threatening diseases.” So how can your child still have his or her favorite hotdog without all these unhealthy and potentially dangerous ingredients? Read the label. Check if the total fat is over 5 grams, and then look at the sodium content. Any amount of sodium over 600 mg is too much. Finally, check if nitrate is included in the ingredients. Nitrate can be labelled as sodium nitrate, nitrite, or sodium nitrite. Itis an ingredient used to increase shelf life, and any hotdog which has this in their ingredients should be tossed out – for good! Best choice would be to buy organic brand hotdogs because these brands don’t have nitrates.
MAC and CHEESE
Macaroni and cheese is another favorite food for kids whether dining out or eating at home. Although it’s considered as comfort food, each plate is a fest of carbs and fat. Every small serving of macaroni and cheese has 290 calories with 1,760 mg of sodium. That’s more than half of the recommended daily amount of sodium! But don’t fret! If you want to make macaroni and cheese for dinner, without having to serve your family this much fat, sodium, and calories; try making them with whole-wheat pasta, and sneak in some veggies into the sauce. Check out this Healthy Macaroni and Cheese Recipe from Jessica Goldman Foung, author of Sodium Girl’s Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook. This recipe uses pureed cauliflower as a substitute for cheese and coconut milk as a substitute for full cream milk in pasta dishes.
Do you have any kid-friendly recipes? Share with us in the comments!