Every parent can relate to the everlasting struggle of getting their little ones to keep up with a healthy diet.
Let’s be honest, junk food is tasty and comforting and it is not easy to compete with a Big Mac, Cheetos, or Oreo. It is easy to succumb to cheap and available highly processed food, so it can be quite tricky to find a way to interest your kids in good ol’ fruit, nuts, and veggies.
The Mayo Clinic offers a brief guideline for children’s healthy diet.
So, instead of grabbing packaged snacks which are usually full of added sugars, refined flour, salt, and artificial ingredients, how can you sneak healthy nutrients into recipes for a youngster?
Here is a list of easy, time-saving recipes.
Almond & Banana Oatmeal
This quick and nourishing healthy snack is best to let sit for a while. If it’s summertime, refrigerate it for an hour or so, as it’s quite refreshing when prepared like that. The ingredients include 120ml of water, 2 bananas, 4 tablespoons of oats, 1 tablespoon of ground almonds, 1 teaspoon of honey, and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon.
Wraps are a great way to smuggle quality ingredients into your kid’s diet. As a spread you can use hummus, sour cream, or cream cheese. Add some raw or grilled veggies such as zucchini, cucumber, corn, tomatoes, peppers or eggplant in the tortillas. Legumes are a superb choice, too. Sprinkle the veggies with a bit of olive oil and spices and your healthy snack is ready. The sky’s the limit when it comes to playing with different ingredients and enriching the original recipe.
Gather around some oats, nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds), chia seeds, oil, honey or maple syrup, cinnamon, salt and vanilla extract. Mix together dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients. Evenly blend them together. Spread this mixture on a baking sheet evenly and bake at 180°C for 20 minutes. After granola cools down, you can mix in dried fruit for some extra flavor and serve it.
Power-Packed Veggie Muffins
Muffins are a great choice when looking for healthy snack recipes for kids. Moreover, this option is a lifesaver when you plan a camping trip and when you need tasty, shelf-stable food that can be easily packed. The prep process takes just a few steps: beat 6 eggs with a whisk, sauté the veggies (onion, bell peppers, spinach, mushrooms) in an olive-oiled skillet until onions are translucent and the veggies are soft. Blend with the eggs and stir carefully. Add a pinch of salt. Pour the mixture into greased muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes at 180°C. This is an awesome way to incorporate more veggies into your kids’ diet.
Fruitilicious Ice Cream
This is the easiest and quickest way to make ice cream. All you need are three ingredients: a banana, some raspberries, and some honey which is optional. The fruits have to be frozen. After you let them sit a bit at room temperature to soften up, put them in a food processor and blend. And that’s about it. Add some honey – or don’t, it is sweet enough as it is. It is possible to have a healthy and guilt-free dessert that your kids will enjoy.
Pinwheels travel well and can be made in advance, which is definitely a plus. The creamy base to spread over tortillas is made with sour cream and cream cheese. They act as a glue for the veggies. Here are some veggie ideas: bell peppers, sliced zucchini, cucumber and carrot strips, and broccoli. You can also add some legumes, chicken, mushroom or ham, as a recommended protein sources. These nibbles are full-flavored and yummy. Refrigerate the pinwheels for at least two hours and make sure to use enough filling, wrap them up tightly, and they are good to go.
This one never gets old. Just slice and dice some of your children’s favorite fruits and you’re done. Bananas are often a must because it adds sweetness most kids prefer. You can add a bit of a twist with some tropical treats such as chunks of pineapple or mango.
Eggplant is an underrated veggie. It is high in fiber and packed with a lot of vitamins and minerals. Use a sliced eggplant instead of regular pizza dough, and top it with (almost) anything! Sprinkle eggplant slices with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper and place it in an oven for 10 minutes. When they are done, use spiced tomato sauce as a base and add some fresh tomatoes, ground meat, chicken breast, or mushrooms. Garnish with shredded mozzarella on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for about 5-10 minutes.
The Old Fashioned Way – Sandwiches
A sandwich is a great way to provide your children with energy and nutrients between meals. What you put in it is what counts. Cottage cheese or hummus, fresh salad, ham or hard-boiled eggs with pickles are a great, nutrient-dense choice. Whole grain bread is what you should opt for.
Make sure to choose as many whole foods as you can and try not to process them much so that all the good stuff is kept inside. A great tip to all parents trying to introduce a more balanced diet to their offspring is to experiment and find healthier versions of your kid’s favorite snacks.