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5 Delicious and Healthy Meals for Kids

Updated on June 29, 2019

© Melovy. All rights reserved.

This hub will take you through the entire day with healthy meals for your family. It includes breakfast, a snack or light lunch, a packed lunch, and after-school snack and an evening meal.

Also included are guidelines on whether meals are suitable for young children or those with allergies, and suggestions on how to adapt the meals to suit babies.

Breakfast - Fruity porridge

In Scotland we like to start the day with porridge, known in the States as oatmeal. On its own, some children find porridge a little dull, so in this recipe I’ve pepped it up with fruit.

Here’s what you need to make enough for 2 adults and 2 children:

Peel and finely chop 2 - 3 apples (How much you use is up to you, there are no hard and fast rules.)

Place apples in a pan with a cup of water.

Add half a teaspoon of cinnamon

Bring to the boil and simmer till the apples are soft – this will only take about five minutes.

Mash the apples lightly with a fork. (See the top photo to the right to see how they will look.)

Add two cups of rolled oats and mix well with the apples. (See middle photo on the right.)

Bring back to the boil and then simmer for around 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add more water if it gets too thick.

You can serve the porridge on its own as in the photo, or with yogurt or milk. I prefer mine with yogurt, but my daughters like theirs without.

Alternatives:

Try different combinations of fruit, using fresh, dried or frozen, or a mixture.

Cook the following fruits first in the same way as the apple above:

Chopped pears.

A handful of dried cranberries, and two tablespoons of blueberries (fresh or frozen.) The blueberries will make the porridge go purple, which your kids might love!

The following fruits are best added after you have cooked the porridge on its own:

Raisins and cinnamon

Chopped banana.

Who can eat it?

Anyone can, although people with celiac disease need to exercise care as some oats may be contaminated with other cereals, and may not be suitable for those with extreme sensitivity. Babies from 6 months can eat oats, though you might want to puree theirs.

Why is it healthy?

Oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber, which reduces cholesterol, and some studies suggest they could have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body so helping conditions such as asthma.

Apples contain vitamin A and C and are also high in fiber, and some studies suggest they protect against some cancers, and could also protect against asthma.

Cook 3 apples and a cup of water for five minutes
Cook 3 apples and a cup of water for five minutes
Add 2 cups of rolled oats
Add 2 cups of rolled oats
Cook the mixture for about 3 minutes, then serve.
Cook the mixture for about 3 minutes, then serve.

A Light Lunch or Snack – Raw Vegetable Sticks with Dip

Here’s what you need:

A selection of vegetables.

Choose from:

Carrots, cucumber, celery, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes or other vegetables. Experiment with different veggies, you may even enjoy sweet potato or zucchini/courgette raw.

A dip: either home made (suggestions below) or purchased

For each person, allow enough vegetables to make at least 2 portions of vegetables. (For adults this is around 80 grams or half a cup, a child of one would eat about a quarter of the adult portion, with portion size gradually increasing until age 10, when adult quantities apply.)

Optional: mini pittas or other bread.

Here’s what you do:

Chop the vegetables into sticks.

Arrange the vegetable sticks on each person’s plate and with a dollop of dip in the centre. If your children have a face plate like the one in the photo opposite, then place the dip in the middle and they have fun uncovering the face as they eat!

Ideas for dips:

1. A cup (0.25 litre) of plain whole-milk yogurt, with a sprinkling of your favourite herbs. You can also add a tablespoon of olive oil.

2. One avocado mashed with juice of half a lemon and a little water to make a dipping consistency.

3. Hummus:

100 grams/8 oz/half a cup chick peas (garbanzo beans, soaked overnight)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

a garlic clove

juice of half a lemon

2 tablespoons of tahini (sesame seed paste)

water

Wash the chick peas/garbanzo beans and either boil for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or cook in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes.

Allow the beans to cool, and then drain, keeping the cooking liquid.

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender, with a little cooking liquid and blend until smooth, adding more liquid if needed to make a dipping consistency.

Who Can Eat It?

As soon as babies can eat finger food they can nibble peppers, zucchini (courgette) and cucumber, but celery is stringy and could cause them to choke, so leave it till you little one is older. Some sources also say raw carrots shouldn’t be given to very small children, so use your discretion. If you wish, you could include lightly cooked carrots and sweet potato sticks.

The first two dips are suitable for babies, so long as they are not lactose intolerant, but hummus is not suitable for very young children because of the sesame seeds.

If you use a purchased dip it may not be suitable for very young children, and be careful of salt levels.

Why is it healthy?

All those vegetables!

Arrange the vegetable sticks
Arrange the vegetable sticks
Add some dip
Add some dip

A Healthy and Unusual Packed Lunch

For each lunch box you will need:

One medium sized carrot, grated

A handful of grated cheese

2 teaspoons of plain yogurt

A small wholemeal pitta pocket

An apple

A carton of juice

A yogurt of your child’s choice

Here’s what to do:

Mix the grated carrot and cheese

Add the plain yogurt

Mix together

Choose a pitta pocket that is quite puffy

Cut pitta pocket in half

Gently open it with a eating knife (if the pitta pocket is stuck together it will tear when you try to open it)

Spoon carrot and cheese mixture into the pitta pockets

Place in a container

Put everything into lunchbox!

Who can eat it?

This recipe is not suitable for those with celiac disease or lactose intolerance, nor is it suitable for babies, although older babies could eat the grated carrot and cheese.

Why is it healthy?

The grated carrot provides a portion of vegetables for your child, and the apple a portion of fruit. Cheese and yogurt contain calcium for healthy bones, and wholemeal pitta bread contains lots of fiber.

Grate one carrot and a small amount of cheese
Grate one carrot and a small amount of cheese
And add a dollop of yogurt and mix together.
And add a dollop of yogurt and mix together.
Fill pitta bread with the mixture
Fill pitta bread with the mixture
Perfect for a lunch box
Perfect for a lunch box

An After-School Snack – Homemade Popcorn


You will need:

3 tablespoons of popping corn

1 tablespoon of sunflower oil

Mixed herbs (optional)

Here’s what you do:

Place oil and corn into a pot

Cook on the hob/stove top at a medium heat

Shake the pan occasionally to prevent sticking

Be sure to keep the lid on until all popping has stopped

Pour the corn into a bowl and add some herbs

Who can eat it?

Anyone aged from 4 up. Some experts consider popcorn to be a choking hazard for children under 4. While homemade popcorn is considerably softer than commercial popcorn, it would be sensible to save this for school aged children.

Why is it healthy?

Unlike packaged popcorn, which are usually laden with salt or sugar, this corn has no sugar or salt added. The corn is wholegrain, so giving a slower and more sustained release of energy than snacks such as candy bars.


Measure out 3 tablespoons of corn.
Measure out 3 tablespoons of corn.
Place on tablespoon of oil in a pot.
Place on tablespoon of oil in a pot.
While the corn is popping be sure to keep the pot lid on.
While the corn is popping be sure to keep the pot lid on.
Those few grains in the top picture become all this!
Those few grains in the top picture become all this!

Dinner – Butternut Squash and Green Bean Risotto

Serves 4 - 6 depending on size and hunger!

Here’s what you will need:

2 onions (or 1 leek)

1 – 2 cloves of garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil or 2 tablespoons of oil and one of butter

1 butternut squash

225 grams/8 oz/1 cup of Arborio rice

1 – 2 teaspoons of dried mixed herbs

225 grams/8 oz/2 cups green beans (please note I’m not sure of this conversion to cups, it may require more). The beans can be fresh or frozen

170 grams/6 oz/2 cups grated cheese

3 – 4 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds or flaked almonds

Boiled water

Here’s what you do:

First, put the butternut squash in a large casserole pot with a little boiling water, put the lid on firmly and leave it to boil for a few minutes while to you start preparing the rest. This will soften the skin and make it much easier to peel.

Peel and chop the onion or leek.

Peel and crush the garlic.

Wash the rice.

Now remove the squash from the pan, and leave it to cool enough to handle. Tip away the water.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in the pot and gently cook the onions until lightly colored. (See the second photo on the right.)

Meanwhile cut the squash in half lengthways and then into slices about 2 cm wide (as shown in the third photo on the right). This makes it very easy to remove the seeds and to peel the squash.

Chop the squash into small chunks, and add to the onion. Cook for a 2 – 3 minutes.

Add the extra oil or butter and the rice. Stir until all the rice is coated with oil or butter.

Add one liter of water and the herbs, stir, and then leave to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water if needed.

Add the green beans, stirring to mix them through, and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the beans are thoroughly warmed if using frozen beans.

Serve with a handful of grated cheese and sunflower seeds on top.

Alternately, you can mix the cheese into the risotto before serving.

Who can eat it?

Before adding cheese and seeds, this recipe is suitable for everyone, though you would need to puree it for younger babies (6 months +) and may want to omit the green beans.

Why is it healthy?

Butternut squash is low in fat, high in fiber, potassium, vitamin A and folate and contains magnesium, a mineral that helps calcium absorption. Onions and garlic both help protect against viruses and inflammation. Rice is a good source of vitamin B1.

Chop onions and crush gariic
Chop onions and crush gariic
Saute onions and garlic
Saute onions and garlic
Slice and peel squash
Slice and peel squash
Add Chopped squash and sauté
Add Chopped squash and sauté
Add rice and stir to coat with oil/butter.
Add rice and stir to coat with oil/butter.
Add a liter of water and some herbs.
Add a liter of water and some herbs.
Add green beans and more water.
Add green beans and more water.
Top with grated cheese and sunflower seeds.
Top with grated cheese and sunflower seeds.
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