Cooking with your children can be a great bonding experience and a way to help them eat healthy foods. That's because children who are involved in the cooking process are more likely to enjoy the meals that you prepare as a team. So if you’re unsure about how to help your child eat a better diet, look to building their culinary skills.
From a young age, my son has been fascinated by what’s happening in the kitchen. It could be because the super active little guy has a big appetite, but I think it also has to do with the fact that there are many sights and sounds that attract his attention. Cooking healthy meals with picky children might mean getting creative. We’ve included a variety of healthy recipes you can cook with your child to help them eat well and enjoy learning to spend time in the kitchen.
Turn meatloaf into muffins Did you know you can hide carrots in meatloaf to give it more fiber and help your kids get their vegetables without complaining? And, you can make those meatloaves even more attractive to young chefs by turning them into muffin-sized portions. When making meatloaf, use extra lean beef or even ground turkey to keep the calorie count and fats lower. Turning your meatloaf into muffins also makes them easy to wrap and freeze so that you can make them ahead for busy nights when you have to rush off to your child’s activities.
Try this muffin meatloaf recipe and start having fun in the kitchen with your little ones.
Tofu bites with toothpicks make the food fun Filled with protein, healthy fats, iron, and folic acid, tofu is a great food to feed your child. But at first glance, it might look strange and unappetizing to young eyes. To help your child eat tofu, cut it up into small pieces and serve it with a toothpick. You'll score bonus points with your child if you're able to find multicolored toothpicks to really make it a fun experience. The food will then look almost gourmet and can make your child feel sophisticated and grown-up. It also opens the door for you to cook using a different protein type or to satisfy your protein needs if you eat a vegetarian diet.
Head to the kitchen with this tofu bites recipe.
Kids will flip for carrot cake flapjacks Saturday morning pancakes don’t have to be unhealthy. Instead, opt for pancakes filled with carrots, walnuts and canola oil for some healthy fats. The ingredients in these pancakes include everything you love about carrot cake including nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. However, these pancakes have significantly less sugar and fats in them than traditional pancakes. And, your child will get some vegetables in their diet. If you get tired of grating the carrots, just put them in the food processor and they’ll be all set for this tasty dish that your kids will love. Make your morning pancake routine extra special and healthy using this carrot cake pancake recipe.
Healthy tacos piled high with veggies Tacos are a fantastic way to encourage your child to eat their vegetables. Invite them into the kitchen to help you assemble the most colorful tacos possible. Allow your children to load up their tacos with fun ingredients, like diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, cucumbers, avocado and lean protein. Foods that require assembly can help your child enjoy the process so that they find the food interesting and enjoyable. Plus, you’ve given them some independence to choose what they want and how they want the taco to look. Start your tacos with a healthy and tasty base using this soft chicken tacos recipe.
Creamy fruit salad makes for a delightful breakfast Incorporating additional fruits into your child's meals means getting creative at times. Making a creamy fruit salad can be a fun way to incorporate a variety of fruits, even some of your child might not favor. This is a great idea if you're looking to shop seasonal fruits but your child turns up their nose to them.The only dressing on this fruit salad is a mix of yogurt and cream of coconut. Use Greek yogurt to pack even more protein into your child’s diet. You’ll also find creamy fruit salad to be a hit with other kids for birthday parties and gatherings. Let’s be honest, the parents will love it too! Dish up a healthy serving of fruit using this creamy fruit salad recipe.
Make your own mac and cheese There’s no substitute for the ease of opening a box of mac and cheese and serving it. But there are ways to get more nutritional value out of your mac and cheese and still have your child enjoy it. Plus, parents will even feel good about partaking in this mac and cheese.Using light dairy products helps to lighten your mac and cheese without sacrificing protein content. Add in leafy greens such as spinach, basil or parsley to help adjust your child to eating vegetables. While it’s not quite as fast as making boxed mac and cheese, you’ll only need to set aside 35 minutes total for this delicious recipe.
Change up your mac and cheese routine with this lightened-up mac and cheese recipe.
Break your chip habits with BBQ kale Potato chips are such an easy snack to give your child after a busy day. But they certainly aren't the healthiest snack you can offer your little ones. Instead, prep some barbequed kale that satisfies your desire for a salty snack without packing the high-calorie count or fats that potato chips do. You’ll only spend 10 minutes prepping these tasty and healthy chips and 20 minutes of cook time in the oven. Plus, busy parents will love the fact that this recipe only takes one dish, a baking sheet, which makes cleanup a breeze. Make enough in advance for the week to keep you and your children snacking healthy all week long. Switch out your potato chip snacking for kale chip snacking to enjoy the health benefits of the superfood using this BBQ kale chips recipe.
As you prepare these recipes in the kitchen with your children, remember that cooking at home or in childcare recipes settings with little ones can be fun, quality time together. Make memories and instill healthy eating habits in your little ones with healthy recipes.