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healthy meals for kids

​5 Healthy Versions of Your Kids’ Favorite Foods

“I don’t like that.”

“That looks gross.”

“It tastes funny.”

Ah! The joys of having children. By nature, they can be picky eaters, even when it comes to some of their favorite foods! Then you wonder why parents always look so frustrated.

How can we be expected to make sure they stay fit and healthy if their diet consists of animal crackers, yogurt, and crayons? It is hardly a balanced meal.

The good news is that there are many ways to essentially trick our kids into eating a more balanced and healthy diet. It’s all about the ability to adapt the food you know your kids love into healthier versions of their meals.

Healthy Recipes Kids Would Most Likely Agree to Eat

Here are five must-add recipes for your regular rotation.

  1. Pizza

  2. This version of pizza uses whole wheat pizza dough, part-skim mozzarella and chopped up pepperoni slices for a less caloric, less fatty version of a classic. Adding in peppers (or your favorite veggies) bulks up the fiber and nutritional content, making it a balanced meal idea your kids will love.

    Making the Dough:

    • lukewarm (105-115°) water (¾ cup + 1 tbsp)
    • 1 package active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
    • sugar (1 tsp)
    • whole-wheat pastry flour (1 cup)
    • bread flour or all-purpose flour (1 cup)
    • salt (½ tsp)
    • extra-virgin olive oil (1 tbsp)
    • fine cornmeal (2 tbsp)
    • All-purpose flour for dusting

    Toppings:

    • prepared pizza (or marinara) sauce (½ cup)
    • mini pepperoni slices (⅓ cup)
    • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
    • shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (1 cup)

    Directions:

    1. Mix together yeast, sugar, and warm water.
    2. Leave for 5-10 minutes until the yeast has dissolved.
    3. Then add your whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and salt.
    4. Mix until ingredients are fully combined.
    5. Knead or mix in your stand mixer for 10 minutes to develop the gluten.
    6. Set dough aside for 45-60 minutes in a warm location to rise.
    7. After the dough has doubled in size, set your oven to 450°F.
    8. Punch down the dough and separate into equal sizes for your pizzas.
    9. Roll out onto a floured surface. Pre-bake your dough for 5 minutes.
    10. Then take out of the oven and add your toppings.
    11. Return the pizza to the oven and bake for another 8 minutes, or until cheese is fully melted and golden.
  3. Mac N Cheese

  4. Macaroni and cheese is a favorite of kids everywhere. Unfortunately, it is nothing but carbs and fat. But hope is not lost! You can always try to sneaky parenting trick to hide the veggies in the recipe! Cauliflower, zucchini, and onions are some examples of ways to get your kids eating vegetables without even knowing they are doing it.

    Ingredients:

    • uncooked pasta (1 1/2 Cup)
    • cauliflower (approx. half a small cauliflower)
    • 2 medium courgette
    • butter or your preferred oil (2 Tbsp)
    • plain flour (2 Tbsp)
    • 1 medium onion finely diced
    • 2 rashers of streaky bacon finely diced/li>
    • milk (1 cup)
    • grated cheese (1 cup)

    Directions:

    1. Chop cauliflower and steam until tender.
    2. Peel zucchini.
    3. Boil pasta until cooked to mostly tender.
      Make Sauce:

        While these things are cooking, begin making the sauce.

      1. In a large saucepan, heat butter/oil.
      2. Add onion and saute for 5-8 minutes (until translucent).
      3. Stir in flour while cooking. Add milk and whisk continually.
      4. Bring your sauce to a low boil and continue stirring.
      5. Remove from heat once the sauce reaches a boil.
    4. Add 3/4 C grated cheese and stir until the cheese melts.
    5. Puree your steamed cauliflower and zucchini.
    6. Add the puree to your cheese sauce.
    7. Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked pasta and fold the sauce into the bowl of pasta.
    8. Add cheesy pasta to an oven-proof dish, sprinkle with remaining grated cheese and bake at 180°F for 20 minutes.
  5. Pancakes

  6. Who doesn’t love pancakes? These are sure to be enjoyed by the entire family, whether for a weekend brunch or a breakfast food dinner situation. It replaces flour with buckwheat, a much healthier option that is full of fiber, making it more filling, as well. Add in blueberries or another fruit to give it more nutritional pizzazz.

    Ingredients:

    • Buckwheat Flour (1 cup)
    • 4 Eggs
    • Almond Milk (3/4 cups)
    • Fresh Ricotta (300 G)
    • Baking Powder (1 1/2 tsp)
    • Sea Salt (1/4 tsp)
    • Blueberries

    Directions:

    1. In a blender combine buckwheat flour, almond milk, eggs, ricotta cheese, sea salt, and baking powder.
    2. Blend for 30-45 seconds until ingredients are well combined.
    3. Pour directly onto your baking surface (griddle or pan) and cook until both sides are golden brown.
    4. Add blueberries and syrup, and serve!
  7. French Fries

  8. French fries are a guilty pleasure for many people and kids especially love them. But they have no nutritional content and the deep frying means they add a lot of fat to a meal without giving anything in return. A better option is sweet potato and these baked fries are a delicious alternative. Best of all, they come out nice and crispy!

    Ingredients:

    • 2 large sweet potatoes
    • starch (4 tsp)
    • grapeseed, peanut, sunflower, or canola oil (2 Tbsp)
    • chipotle powder (1/4 to 1/2 tsp)
    • non-stick cooking spray
    • salt

    Directions:

    1. Peel potatoes and cut into french fry sized slices.
    2. Place into a bowl and cover with cold water. Soak for 1-8 hours. Then drain, rinse with fresh water, and pat dry.
    3. Heat oven to 425°F and line baking pans with foil.
    4. Coat foil with non-stick spray.
    5. Place half the sweet potato fries into a bread bag or ziplock, add 2 tsp starch and close the bags while leaving them full of air.
    6. Gently shake the bags to coat the potatoes in starch.
    7. Repeat this with the second half of your fries.
    8. Then put all the fries into a bowl and coat with oil and chipotle powder.
    9. Place fries onto baking sheets and arrange them so they’re flat on the pan.
    10. Sprinkle with salt.
    11. Bake for 15 minutes.
    12. Then pull the fries out of the oven and flip them over in the pan.
    13. Bake again for another 15 minutes.
    14. Cool fries for 10 minutes before serving.
  9. Cookies

  10. No kid is going to refuse a cookie, right? With the recipe below, they don’t have to. Instead of cane sugar, these chocolate chip cookies use maple syrup and offset the sweetness with dark chocolate chips. They are moist, soft and delicious, with five grams of protein per cookie.

    Ingredients:

    • finely sifted almond flour (2 cups)
    • almond butter (1/2 cup)
    • maple syrup (1/2 cup)
    • dark chocolate chips (1/2 cup)

    Directions:

    1. Heat oven to 350°F.
    2. Combine flour, butter, and syrup in a bowl.
    3. Mix until well combined and add chocolate chips.
    4. Spoon cookies onto a greased baking sheet.
    5. Flatten the cookies with your spoon.
    6. Bake for 12 minutes.

With these five recipes your picky eater will be having more vegetables and loving every second of it!

Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones is a Writer. Blogger. Communicator. As a happily married father with two amazing kids, he is always learning helpful ways to keep a family active, healthy and happy. Kevin's areas of focus include: health and fitness for all ages, a love of researching family fitness, nutrition, and how to fit workouts into the busy lives we have. Kevin works with multiple fitness companies and organizations such as NordicTrack. Feel free to connect with Kevin on: LinkedIn | Twitter

8 comments

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  • My kids are really picky eaters and this is such a great ideas of recipes that I am sure they will definitely like it.

  • These are some really great recipes! Not just for kids, I think these would be great for me as a way to try and eat more healthily 🙂 Looking forward to trying some of these.

  • I’ve heard of sneaking cauliflower into things. Such a smart idea! Although I adore cauliflower and eat it on its own. Ha!

  • Kids are very picky eaters! You can prepare this and they turn it down saying they want that. But well, these recipes are what many kids cannot turn down. I mean…French fries? Pizza? Cookies? All my favorites as much as I’m not a kid. But for my young brothers, they would never think twice about eating such!

  • These are brilliant healthy recipes, thanks! I love sweet potato fries. I have made pancakes using a similar recipe but with no egg before too, yummy!

About Author

Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones is a Writer. Blogger. Communicator. As a happily married father with two amazing kids, he is always learning helpful ways to keep a family active, healthy and happy. Kevin's areas of focus include: health and fitness for all ages, a love of researching family fitness, nutrition, and how to fit workouts into the busy lives we have. Kevin works with multiple fitness companies and organizations such as NordicTrack. Feel free to connect with Kevin on: LinkedIn | Twitter