Getting kids to eat anything can be a chore, let alone getting them to eat something that’s good for them. Transforming your kids’ favorite foods into nutrient-rich meals isn’t always easy. Parents often have to get creative when it comes to serving veggies and other healthy goodies your kids need.
The good news is you don’t have to be a magician or a culinary genius to create these masterful healthful bites your kids will gobble up. Take a look at some of our favorite, fun food ideas that are sure to become household favorites.
Healthy Piglets in a Blanket
Who doesn’t love a juicy sausage wrapped in flaky crescent dough? Make this family favorite a healthy choice by substituting regular sausage or Li’l Smokies with veggie sausages or low-fat turkey links. Next, wrap those slimmed-down sausages in reduced-fat crescent dough.
Top it all off with a flavorful fat-free dip like homemade honey mustard, ketchup or good, old-fashioned barbecue sauce. Let your kids get in on the fun by having them help wrap the piglets before popping them in the oven.
Peanut Butter Sushi Sandwiches
Turn up the volume on the traditional PB&J with this fun twist on a classic. Use a healthy sandwich wrap or whole-grain tortilla instead of bread to make these fanciful roll-ups. Spread low-sugar, natural peanut butter over the wrap, then add your kids’ favorite toppings.
Try sliced bananas, green apples or even whole-fruit jelly. Then roll it all up and slice into sushi-sized sections. Turn the sushi bites on their side and serve sushi-style. Add kid-friendly chopsticks to make the meal even more fun.
This is really more of a smoothie, but let them feel like they’re getting away with something by calling it a milkshake. Believe it or not, you can still make a creamy, delicious treat without ice cream—and your children will never know the difference. Use fresh strawberries and a banana. Add coconut, almond or soy milk, nonfat yogurt, a dash of honey and some ice cubes. Toss it all in the blender and mix to the perfect, frothy consistency.
Transform this kid favorite into a nutrition-packed meal that disguises the veggies in the sloppy joe mixture. Start with shredded carrots, summer squash and zucchini. Add the shredded veggies to a ground protein of your choice. You can use ground turkey or chicken, or even try soy crumbles for a completely vegetarian meal.
Cook up the protein and the veggies with diced onion and fresh tomatoes. Add ketchup, barbeque sauce or tomato sauce to make your concoction extra “sloppy.” Spice it up with garden herbs like oregano and basil and add a sweet element with molasses or honey. Let it all simmer on the stove until the smell has everyone begging for dinnertime. Serve on small potato rolls for a fun twist.
Garden Fresh Pancakes
Whether it’s first thing in the morning or you’re treating the family to breakfast for dinner, this healthy take on a breakfast staple will steal the show. Use a traditional pancake recipe, but add finely shredded carrots, zucchini or a mashed, ripe banana. Next throw in some spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.
This turns your pancakes into mini carrot cakes, or infuses them with the nutrient-rich goodness of a warm zucchini or banana bread. Keep the healthy trend going with natural toppings like fruit or sugar-free, all-natural syrups.
Green Bean Fries
Instead of serving up the same, boring fries surprise your family with these crunchy veggies. Parmesan cheese adds extra crunch and provides natural salt. All you need to do is coat the beans in flour, then dip in an egg wash. Next, dredge them in a mixture of breadcrumbs and finely grated parmesan cheese. You can add pepper, garlic or a dash of cayenne if your family likes it spicy.
Finally, pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes and enjoy. Since little fingers like to dip things, offer a yogurt-based, lemon aioli on the side.
Sour Patch Grapes
Kids love sweet treats they can eat by the handful. Instead of breaking out the candy, try this healthy alternative. Start with freshly-washed green grapes. Then throw them in a baggie with lime Jell-O powder and freeze. You can experiment with different types of flavoring to keep your kids’ taste buds craving more.
Imagine how nice it will be to hear them begging for a nutrition-filled snack instead of something full of sugar and preservatives. Hopefully these sneaky twists on traditional favorites will make your kids’ favorite meals healthy ones.